Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Smarmy End For The YouTube Debate Format

YouTube debate outing continues unabated this morning at Free Republic and Michelle Malkin.

First was the gay general who supports Hillary. Then the "abortion girl in blue" who is an Edwards supporter. (Picture courtesy of The Log Cabin Republican questioner is an Obama supporter. The lead toy questioner is a union activist and Edwards supporter.

Is this an outrage or simply the end of the YouTube debate format?

Most definitely an outrage is the chatter going on at Free Republic where the outting of the "abortion girl in blue" is getting quite creepy, with her Internet guts getting spread all over the blogosphere with info like this:
Blue Girl's Profile:

she listens like spring and she talks like june View all userpics
Name: cold as fire, baby, hot as ice
Message: Send likespring a text message
on his/her cellphone/pager.
Website: website
Location: Arlington, Texas, United States
Birthdate: 1988-09-21
E-mail: ******* @ [all addresses censored by C-SM]

AOL IM: ***** (Add Buddy, Send Message)
MSN Username: ******* @

******* @ l i v e j o u r n a l . c o m
journey. yes, that's her real name. female. 19. arlington, texas. liberal. vegetarian. feminist. lesbian. has an inexplicable teeny crush on joey
fatone. attending the university of texas in arlington. hoping to transfer to ut-austin in 2008. political science. aims for law school. enjoys good food. finding a great new book. watching glbt movies. and lots of shopping. was a princess in another life. future president of the united states of america.

Yes, of course Likespring opened the door to this exposure by becoming a public figure with her question, and she should know her cyber-fingerprints are easily lifted, but digging into her personal info like this seems a bit like cyber-stalking -- and with her various cyber-contact addresses now posted for all to see, she's probably in for a long bout of ugly inbox.

That's unfortunate because she probably had every right to ask the question. Nothing in the rules of the YouTube-CNN debate says questioners must be of the party that's debating that night, so there may well have been GOP questioners in the Dem debate.

"Abortion girl in blue" did not misidentify herself; she merely failed to identify her candidate of choice -- and being a GBLT supporter of the most feminine of all the Dem Prez wannabes isn't a crime. If, however, Likespring works for the Edwards campaign or cooperated with the Edwards campaign in designing and submitting the question, then it's another story. And it's a story that may turn out to be difficult to document one way or the other,

Also another story is the Log Cabin Republican questioner because he created the sense that he was a gay Republican by the way he asked his question. He is a political trickster, scum, persona non grata.

As is Gen. Keith Kerr, who, if he were an honorable man, would have stated his position in the Clinton campaign.

CNN has no excuse for not ID-ing Kerr. I traced his background in a couple clicks last night, and even this morning after his exposure, the Clinton news release listing him as a member of her GLBT task force is fifth from the top on Google: - Media Release
It includes people like former US Assistant Attorney General Eldie Acheson, ... Keith Kerr, retired Colonel., US Army; retired Brigadier General, ... - Similar pages - Note this
The most cursory review by CNN staff would have turned up this news release, so either they were entirely too cavalier in their screening of questioners, or someone at CNN knew full well who Kerr was and to whom he was affiliated.

This should, I hope, spell the end of YouTube debates. As refreshing as it has been to have real people ask real questions, the system is simply too easily corrupted by unreal people asking unreal questions. Winnowing out the Kerrs is as easy enough job, but tracking down the political affiliations and sexual orientations of people like Likespring infringes on their rights and chills the political process.

With YouTube so problematic, the format simply must be dropped. We then are back to the awful format of pundits asking preened-up questions of wooden, overly trained candidates, all to the detriment of the American people, who deserve a better way to evaluate their candidates.

I propose as an alternative a round-robin kind of debate, where two candidates are selected at random, then given five minutes in proper debate format to pound back and forth on a question from a list prepared by a neutered (not neutral) body, i.e., questions worked out by the party that's debating in concert with the media outlet that's sponsoring the debate.

Then another two candidates would get the opportunity, until every candidates has had at least two opportunities to give detailed responses under the pressure imposed by the responses of the other candidate.

It's compact, challenging and intelligent. It'll never happen.

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