The YouTube Election

Free Times – Columbia’s Free Alternative Weekly:

In this week’s Free Times, Dan Cook commented on the ways in which YouTube may become an interesting media battle ground in the 2008 US Presidential election. Noting that unauthorised clips of several candidates had made it to the site, he went on:

“It’s looking more and more like a YouTube election season after John McCain made his way to the site in a big way last week with comments he made about Iran. Speaking on April 18 at a VFW hall in Murrells Inlet, S.C., McCain was asked about whether the United States might launch air strikes against Iran. McCain responded making a reference to the song “Barbara Ann” by The Beach Boys, saying, “That old, uh, that old Beach Boys song, ‘Bomb Iran.’” He then sang a mock version of the chorus, “Bomb, bomb, bomb … .” Though the comment was clearly made as a joke — McCain’s position is that bombing should only be used as a last resort — the episode highlighted once again how the democratization of media is throwing scripted presidential campaigns off balance. Previous videos that have made waves this election season include an amateur Barack Obama ad that lampooned Hillary Clinton and a video of Sen. Clinton singing the national anthem off-key.”

This is interesting from a media theory point of view and very useful to me. I’m just beginning to write a book about this, hopefully to be published next year in Australia.
It would be even better if Cook were right that this is the “democratization” of the media. My worry is that the YouTube generation don’t vote, many of them are perhaps still underage.
If they did mobilise, perhaps McCain would go down, but Hilary and Obama wouldn’t be far behind.

There’s similar stuff posted on YouTube about Australian Prime Minister John Howard, but the lampooning of the PM hasn’t made the news yet “down under”.
My favourite SATIRICAL YouTube clip of the PM is this little ditty: “John Howard is an ar$&l1cker” [RATED PG, occasional use of obscene humour]

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