Presidential Hopefuls in Cyberspace


A combination of Yahoo, Slate, and the Huffington Post will
present joint online-only primary presidential debates this fall for candidates
from both parties. There will be one debate for Republican hopefuls and one debate
for Democrats. The candidates will participate remotely from any location they
choose and attendees to the online debate will be able to ask questions of the


The real story here is the online community’s attempt to
more fully inject itself into the political process. While bloggers and other
independent sources of opinion are far from being obsolete in the political
world, they are limited in their scope and power to those who choose to read
such sources. To this point in time, online publishers have been further
limited by the lack of collective strength that could be used to mandate that
candidates pay more attention to their blogs, podcasts, and other alternative


Attracting candidates to an online event is the online
political world’s attempt at a coming out party. It provides a newsworthy
event, attracts the actual newsmaker (as opposed to commentators) and provides
a platform for the online community to expose itself to a “traditional media” community
that is not otherwise paying attention.


Bottom Line: This is the online world’s obvious first step
towards apparent parity with other media outlets in coverage of major political
events. A successful implementation of the event will create substantial
credibility for future events, including an eventual debate between each
party’s nominees in the heart of the election calendar. A failed event will be
equally detrimental to the online world’s influence on the general public.

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