Obama addresses nation through YouTube
Issue date: 2/5/10 Section: News
Between Jan. 27 and Feb. 1, people could vote for their favorite questions, and those with the highest approval ratings were selected to be discussed by Obama.
Forgoing the tradition press conference, , the Web site YouTube released a 45-minute-long, one-on-one interview with Obama after his State of the Union Address, fielding questions from the site's viewers. With a little over 253,000 views, Obama was interviewed by YouTube's Steve Grove, head of news and politics and was asked a wide array of questions.
Obama, who is no stranger to YouTube, has used the site many times during his campaign to connect to voters and spread his message, both as a candidate and as president with his virtual town hall meeting in March.
Though the goal was to connect to citizens, there are those who say that YouTube was not the correct route.
"YouTube is used by a younger audience, and its impact is limited because of that," Drexel professor of political science William Rosenberg said. "The audience may not be large. Many people who are watching are watching because they are following the candidate."
Rosenberg said the video has less of an impact and that democracy is "best served" by letting journalists ask questions.
According to Politico, a Web site noted for its political reporting, more than 11,000 questions were submitted with more than 640,000 votes on the questions. One top-rated question of interest concerned the legalization of marijuana, but the topic was not broached during the interview with Obama.
Drexel student Ed McKee stated that he knew of the State of the Union Address, but did not know about the YouTube interview
"It's a gimmick to appeal to the younger voters, while distracting from [Obama's] floundering administration," McKee said.
McKee stated that he did not think the video was a successful mode of communication.
Obama closed his interview by saying, "I hope we get a chance to do this on a more regular basis because it gives me great access to all the people out there with wonderful ideas."
The video interview is available online through the White House Web site, www.whitehouse.gov.