First, who are these presumed “everyday people?” Are they people who are likely to vote in the respective primary elections? Or are they individuals who are sufficiently tech-suave and creative that they know how to record themselves and upload their video on a website, and are otherwise just eager to see if they “get to be on tv?” This latter category does not necessarily consist of the individuals who are likely to vote in the primary elections, and therefore determine the eventual nominees.
And most of the candidates from both major parties are holding plenty of town hall-style events in the primary states, and fielding lots of questions from prospective voters. It seems reasonable that the people who care enough to attend these campaign events are the “everyday people” who are likely to vote in the primary elections, much more so than those who flock to YouTube.
Secondly, the notion that the CNN/YouTube combination has created greater access to candidates is flawed from the get-go. Sure, anybody can upload a video to YouTube’s website, but only a small fraction of them get used in the telecast, and, thus, a small percentage of the questions actually get through to the candidates.
There is, however, one thing that the CNN/YouTube programming has impressed upon me that is valuable, if not troubling. The nature of the questions selected for the telecasts is something I can’t relate to at all, regardless of the apparent age of the person asking.
Based on the questions I’ve observed, it would seem that there are plenty of my fellow Americans who view the presidency quite differently than I do - - the president is apparently supposed to fulfill a parental, or even theological role in our lives, for some. And for others, the president is apparently supposed to be a great Santa Claus-type figure, who brings gifts aplenty and takes care of us and provides for our respective futures.
I’d like to ask all the candidates what they intend to do so as to protect human liberty, but I haven’t even heard the word “liberty” uttered from any of the YouTube videos. I may be way out of step with my generation on this point, but I don’t think so. My generation grew up listening to the rhetoric of Reagan, and unfortunately this campaign cycle seems devoid of Reagan-esque rhetoric, and ideas.
And unfortunately, an idea that is as simple, and yet as profound as liberty, doesn’t fit the format - - not at CNN, nor at YouTube.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.