Learning English - Words in the News
23 July, 2007 - Published 16:19 GMT
US presidential candidates questioned via YouTube
In the United States, a political debate with a difference; next year's presidential candidates will be questioned by voters via YouTube, the public access video website. Keith Adams reports on this growing role of the internet in American politics:
Some of the 3000 questions submitted to YouTube for Monday's debate come from unlikely sources: a melting snowman asks about global warming, a tube of toothpaste asks about traffic congestion and a guinea pig asks if politicians are treating the voters like, yes, guinea pigs. But aside from the gimmicks, the vast majority of questions are short video clips, captured on computer-mounted cameras, from ordinary Americans:
(Montage of YouTube political questions)
Do you believe that the 2nd amendment gives all Americans the right to keep and carry firearms for defence…
We have 15,000 troops on the ground in Afghanistan, yet they're still the leading producer of opium…
Out of the 80,000 chemicals we use in this country, only 12 have been specifically…
Everyday, thousands of jobs are lost to low-wage workers in countries like China and India. If elected, what would you do to stop this?
In 1960, when a nervous, sweating Richard Nixon faced a well-groomed, confident John F Kennedy in a televised debate, it was said the medium had arrived as the most powerful political tool. The same cannot perhaps be said yet for the internet - but it is now playing a significant role in campaigning. Candidates are posting their own blogs and video clips, and Hilary Clinton has even appeared in the virtual world, "Second Life". And how else would this cat from the West Coast get to collar the candidates directly?
"My name is Catsa and I have a question about the safety of cat food coming from China...Mioaowwww....."
Keith Adams, BBC News
a guinea pig