Thursday, November 09, 2006

The First YouTube Election, and Not the Last


You gotta love the New York Post.

Thus today’s headline reports Rummy's demise, encapsulating in two words the entire changing of the guard now under way in Washington after Tuesday’s game-changer elections.

And we owe it all not to the mainstream press, which, as far as I can recall did not break a single investigative piece of news that mattered to the voters on Tuesday.

It was, rather, thanks to YouTube.

For it was on YouTube that Virginia Senator George Allen was shown to the world, his shirtsleeves rolled up, microphone in hand, clearly unnerved by the presence of an observer with a video camera recording his off-the-cuff remarks, attempting to turn the tables by pointing to the cameraman and saying,

“Let’s give a welcome to macaca here, welcome to America…”

And it was on YouTube that Montana Senator Conrad Burns was shown to the world, eyelids flickering, elbows slipping, as he tried to stop himself from dozing off in the middle of an agricultural hearing.

His campaign slogan? "Delivering for Montana."

Democrats complained last time around when bloggers discredited pieces of John Kerry’s self-styled Vietnam heroics and flat-out dismantled the forged document Dan Rather somberly presented as fact on National Television.

So too Republicans will complain this time around that their precious Senate majority was lost thanks to wise-guy video-tapers looking for “gotcha” moments.

But if the mainstream press isn’t going to keep things honest—and they have proven they can’t, or won’t—then why not give that power to individuals?

Which is exactly what the internet has done.

Pretty cool, I think.

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

© 2006 Jeff Matthews

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews' recommendations. This commentary in no way constitutes a solicitation of business or investment advice. It is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.


Jaime the ordinary said...

Megaditto's Jeff...hahaha

whydibuy said...

Further thoughts on the subject, I don't believe for a second that the pictures the media shows are randomly presented. They are carefully chosen to support the opinion of the media representative. For ex. here in Mi. an article about propsal 2 banning affirmative action was accompanied by a picture of the originators of the proposal oddly enough all looking down (as if they are embarrassed by what they were doing). You don't think that particular frame was just randomly shown with the article in a liberal newspaper do you? Why didn't they use the image of them with their heads held high? Yes, it was carefully chosen to go with the slant of the piece. I notice that kind of image editing all the time. Only with utube, its now in the hands of independants and not pundants.

Christopher said...

I totally agree...

Now where's the commentary on Overstock's quarter? I came here needing a laugh!

Sam E. Antar said...

Provided as a courtesy to Christopher about the CEO of Overstock from a fellow reader of this Jeff Matthew's great blog:

Rules of spinning from a former criminal and ex-felon:

1) Always make excuses as long as you can.

2) When you cannot defend your actions attack the messenger (such as financial analysts and short sellers)

3) Distract inquiry from your issues by pointing to tangential issues (attack the naked short sellers rather than discuss your business issues)

4) Show your credibility by pointing to good things you have done or ideas you have in unrelated areas (such as solutions for public schools in Colorado)

5) When you can no longer spin and are exhausted you shut up and offer no guidance to investors.

As an ex-felon I have “been there, done that” too and I warn everyone reading my comment to learn from my brutal actions as a criminal.


Sam E. Antar (former Crazy Eddie CFO and ex-felon)

pondering said...

We are at a rich point in history. The internet leveled the playing field for the small commodity manufacturing company I worked at and now it is leveling the political playing field as well. The duplicitous nature of politicians will be showcased for the world via the web with the media giants powerless to blunt it’s message. This by far is the most fascinating time to be alive.

Matt said...

It's possible. But I think that the youtube age demo (20's)doesn't show up very much at the polls.

dkman said...


I love your posts, I think they make a great addition to an already great blog.

Quick Question: Why do you feel the need to repeat 3 (three) times in every post that you were a criminal/felon?

I am thinking this is either some sort of a weird legal settlement clause or just a self-imposed act of penance on your part...

Gordogekko100 said...

Jeff, I did see a congressman (who lost) run on the grounds that he would vote however his constituency asked him to vote a la American Idol. What a great concept. Let the lobbyists try to bribe the whole district.

ichapelle said...

First off, I think that it is a little bit of a stretch to say that Republicans can blame Youtube for losing the elections. Sure, having carefully selcted bits of video of your party members dozing off in Congress, doesn't help your case. But consider these things: Judging from the advertising that is on youtube (spongebob, Borat, cheap horror movies), the demographic is clearly 12-25 year olds. A third of that group can't vote, the other two-thirds aren't exactly voting a pwoerhouse.
maybe in the future, when that same group of 12-25 year olds have matured and become more politically aware, maybe then, youtube will become a viable source of information.

Sam E. Antar said...


Thank you for your question.

On September 3, 2005 Joe Nocera of the New York Times wrote a column entitled “Led into Temptation? Who Wasn’t?

Henry Blodget had written an op-ed piece for the New York Times and the Times was criticized for allowing him to publish his ideas. Joe Nocera defended his right to be heard in his column.

I decided soon after that to self impose upon myself a “truth in labeling act.” Prior to that article, I would usually not volunteer facts about my past to others unless necessary or asked. Today, I want every one who comes into contact with me to know who I am and what I was.

We are all the sum of our life’s experiences. We all make mistakes and unlike many others mine were egregious. I do not embrace my past but hope to learn from it and hope others can too.

No one can be expected to live a flawless life but we should expect people to live a moral one (something I did not do).

I have learned that I cannot erase the past and we as people cannot avoid mistakes. We can only hope to learn from the mistakes of our past.

I believe that how we as people handle our mistakes, proceed forward in life from what we have learned from them is what defines us as human beings.

Therefore, I label myself for what I am (an ex-felon) and what I was (a criminal) and I accept the humiliation and consequences that come with that label.

My hope is that others can see what I have done after such a criminal past to teach others from my mistakes and as I try to make amends.

With great respect,

Sam E. Antar (former Crazy Eddie CFO & Ex-felon)

BelowTheCrowd said...

I think that while the typical age demo of YouTube is young, the impact is felt far outside that demo. Clips get forwarded around and linked to people of all ages. Just because us 40-somethings don't spend much time on YouTube doesn't mean that we don't pay attention when something on YouTube is forwarded our way.

And of course, if larger media outlets pick up on such things (as they have in both of the past two elections), it gets magnified well beyond the scope that it might achieve just from being passed around from one individual to the next.

I believe that ultimately this will mean the unraveling of our corrupt two-party system as more people become aware of how corrupt and indidious it is.

I'm no great fan of Joe Lieberman or Jim Jeffords, but suspect they will be seen as the vanguards in years to come: guys who decided that sticking with their voters was more important than sticking with their party.

And, regardless of my opinions about those two individuals, I believe we'll be far better for the fact that individuals will have real power, and politicians will have to either submit to it or disappear. Their futures will hinge on their ability to deliver to their voters, not to a bunch of useless party hacks.

As a columnist said in the LA Times recently, the new equation in the business world is P2 + AT = C2: Power to the People, plus Access to Tools = Consumer is in Control. Equally true in politics going forward.

I commented on this in my blog.


AltaJoe said...

ichappele, the one thing you don't take into consideration is the annonimity that the I-net provides. In the olden days someone stood on a crate and spewed his beliefs to anyone within earshot. The listeners saw who was speaking and made a determination as to the weight behind their rants.

Todays blogger writes whatever he/she wants and the reader is at a loss to know if its someone with even the slightest iota of a clue or just someone parroting a phrase they thought was cool. As an example, when you read "Bush is an idiot because he supports spending money on a missle defense system even though it doesn't work", you don't know if the writer is a scientist that actually works on the system or a kid who thinks that Bill Maher is "snap".

Jeff Matthews said...

I'm with BelowTheCrowd. George Allen was outed via YouTube precisely as BTC describes it.

Metroplexual said...

I agree, it was cool. I watch you tube to catch up on Colbert, who is also behind the reason so many young adults showed to the polls.

krroban said...

I wouldn't read time magazine if it were free