A Watershed Moment

There has been a lot of talk about the impact of YouTube on the 2008 election. We saw a preview of things to come, I think, in this video, which has now been viewed around 1 1/2 million times:

The Associated Press talks about the video:

While the video’s final image reads “BarackObama.com,” the campaign of the Illinois senator has denied being behind it.
Its creator remained anonymous.
But for political strategists, ad experts, even journalists, the ad presents a series of other fundamental unknowns.
-How will Web content outside the control of campaigns affect voters?
-How should campaigns react to anonymous but highly viewed attacks?
-When is Web content, no matter how provocative, newsworthy?

Hillary Clinton laughed the video off, saying that she was glad it distracted attention from the one of her singing the National Anthem. Barack Obama said his campaign had nothing to do with it, and noted that they wouldn’t have had the technical capacity to do make the video.
Which raises an interesting point: someone obviously devoted some time, money and expertise to creating the video. Who? It’s hard to believe that the source won’t eventually leak out.
The video illustrates the ever-increasing degree to which the candidates and the parties are losing control over the electoral process. Independent actors like 527s, citizen journalists, creators of YouTube videos, etc., will undoubtedly play a bigger role in 2008 than ever before. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen.
Via Power Line News.
UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take long. The video was made by Philip de Vellis, an employee of a firm that does technical work for the Obama campaign. de Vellis has been fired.
To comment on this post, or on the video, go here.


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