Fear the Snowman?!
Romney himself derided the first Democratic CNN-YouTube Debate, chiding the quality of questions while pointing to the now famous snowman concerned about global warming. The reluctance of Romney and fellow frontrunner Rudy Giuliani forced CNN to reschedule the Republican round of interactive questioning. Both cited scheduling conflicts, and the network has since agreed to move the event to November 28th in St. Petersburg, FL.
One creative cyber filmmaker crafted a satirical spoof of the Democratic debate and the feeble attempts of Romney and Rudy to undermine the new media format. (Warning: this video probably warrants a PG-13 rating).
Last week, MTV and MySpace announced an ongoing dialogue between voters and individual candidates (11 in all) to be webcast live on both sites beginning on Sept. 27th. John Edwards will kick off the process, responding to questions from an online audience submitted via email, instant message, or text. The web sites will enable viewers to rate candidate responses to individual inquiries through interactive polling.
These conversations, and the aforementioned CNN-YouTube Debates, are signs of the times and candidates on both sides of the aisle are wise to embrace new media alternatives as a way of reaching and mobilizing younger audiences. The obituary of the losing contender on November 4, 2008, may well be written in HTML code, casting aside network news, print journalism, and direct mail as so 2004.