An interesting article from the New York Times (via the Denver Post so no registration required) -
GOP squirms over YouTube debate as Dems thrive online
The hesitance of some Republicans to join the CNN/YouTube debate reinforces the idea that the GOP doesn’t “get” the Web.
When the two leading Republican presidential candidates started to squirm last week about attending a Sept. 17 YouTube debate in which the public would ask them questions via video, they faced a surprising backlash from their ideological allies in the blogosphere.
At the same time, Bill O’Reilly has tried to make an issue of the fact that all of the Democratic Presidential contenders are attending a leftist bloggers convention this weekend.
At issue seems to be “control of content”. Conservative Michelle Malkin agrees:
*Michelle Malkin, another conservative blogger who wants all the Republicans to join the YouTube debate, said that “if they put a premium on getting their message across online, they wouldn’t have hesitated” to join the debate.
“But they want to use the medium only if they can control it,” Malkin said. *
The internet is unscripted, a free-for-all, where all voices are heard, and it means that sometimes there will be stupid people, rascists, conspiracy theorists, etc. speaking their piece. Democrats are embracing it, or at worst accepting it, while Republicans seem at best uncomfortable with it.
"In an interview Wednesday with the Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader, Romney said he’s not a fan of the CNN/YouTube format. Referring to the video of a snowman asking the Democratic candidates about global warming, Romney quipped, “I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman.” (washingtonpost.com)
Republicans have mastered and own talk radio, which follows an opposite pattern - Hosts control the microphone and can speak at length about a subject without interruption. Callers are screened, and guests are chosen with an agenda in mind. You can spend a whole day listening to talk radio and never hear a dissenting opinion.
Is this going to be a problem for Republicans or does it not matter? Is it a generational thing? If this seeming divide turns out to play a big role in the 2008 elections, will that mean that the right will start to allow more internal debate (a good thing, IMO)?