Boob 'Tube

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There’s no hotter media entity right now than YouTube. Yesterday, ESPN.com offered up a “YouTube Hall of Fame” on its home page, and today’s Wall Street Journal has a page 1 story about the Web video startup partnering with NBC Universal to promote NBC programs. As one might expect from a small office located above a pizza restaurant (as the WSJ noted), the staff is maxed out.

Still, there’s no excuse for the lameness of the following quote, offered up by a YouTube flack when I inquired about the popularity of World Cup clips on the site. She attributed it to Julie Supan, YouTube’s senior director of marketing.

“YouTube is an incredible platform for sharing people’s experiences with the world and capturing news events as they happen. Users of YouTube have been documenting their firsthand accounts of world events ever since we started the service. We've seen these videos become popular, so it's no surprise that user videos would help spread visibility for the World Cup."

There you have it, folks. Our Useless Quote of the Day.

But there’s more. I started wondering if any of our media brethren had, in fact, used this canned quote about nothing as something other than a Useless Quote of the Day. A quick Google later, something interesting emerged. Back in January, on the PBS blog Mediashift that’s overseen by Mark Glaser, much of the same quote was attributed to YouTube CEO Chad Hurley in an item about soldiers in Iraq sending video to YouTube. Which got me wondering: can one plagiarize a co-worker?

What Supan said: "Users of YouTube have been documenting their firsthand accounts of world events ever since we started the service."

What Hurley said: "Users of YouTube have been documenting their first-hand accounts of world events ever since we started the service."

What Supan said: "We've seen these videos become popular, so it's no surprise that user videos would help spread visibility for the World Cup.”

What Hurley said: "We’ve seen videos of hurricanes and dangerous airplane landings become popular on the service, so it’s no surprise that soldiers in Iraq would actively document their lives and provide their perspective on one of the most important world events today.”

Be it the World Cup or the war in Iraq, simply plug in your global event, and presto!—you’ve got a YouTube quote.

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