Yes. Right. Real-time. Conversations. If, by conversation, we mean thousands of people submit questions and a moderator picks them and we get the same pat answers. I admitted I was wrong with the CNN/YouTube debate. And I half hope I'm wrong here. But I don't see how this is a conversation. A conversation doesn't consist of a person asking a question, another person answering and then moving onto a question from another person.
Jeff Berman of MySpaceTV said, "It's much more akin to the conversation that happens around the dining-room table in Nashua (N.H.) or at the state fair in Iowa rather than on a stage with a dozen candidates all trying to squeeze in their consultant-crafted sound bites."
Really? Is that right? People have such conversations around dining-room tables in Nashua? And he can't possibly believe that candidates aren't going to try to squeeze in their soundbites.
The fact is, it's much easier to bullshit someone (or call names or go off on tangents) when that someone is on the other side of a computer connection. Of course, this will all depend on the moderator and the audience on hand. What saved the CNN/YouTube debate was Anderson Cooper's valiant efforts to keep the candidates on topic and the surprise of having a few of the video-questioners in the audience. We'll see what happens here.
And I guess it would only be piling on that for all the fetishizing of the MTV vote, the kids have yet to move an election (unless you want to blame them for voting for Nader in 2000).