YouTube

| Tue Aug. 26, 2008 10:52 AM PDT

YOUTUBE....Jason Zengerle on John McCain's recent spate of attack ads:

Eve asks whether the McCain campaign will release a new Hillary ad every day this week. Of course it will — so long as we in the media keep linking to the ads and doing news segments about them on TV. I'd love to know from our readers in these "key battleground states" where the ads are supposed to air whether they've actually seen any of them on TV, other than the times they've seen reports about them on CNN and Fox and MSNBC.

I'll go a little further. The majority of these "YouTube ads" are designed solely to get media attention, not to be seriously used as part of the campaign. If they were podcasts, or blog posts, or flyers, or email blasts, the media would ignore them if their purpose were so transparent. I mean, who cares about a flyer produced in small quantities and handed out only to the media?

But if it's video, it's news! I couldn't really say why, aside from the fact that the media is convinced that YouTube is a transformative election medium even though there's precious little evidence to back this up. So I'd say this: cable news stations need to stop being played for suckers. Unless a campaign says it's committed to a serious ad buy for the video in question, it's time to quit playing the game. Wise up and treat 'em the same way you treat attack email blasts.

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