The Tostitos Fiesta Debate?

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I was reading all about the unprecedented presidential CNN/YouTube debate today.

CNN was billing it as "CNN, the most trusted news source, and YouTube, the leading online video community that allows people to discover, watch and share originally created videos."

It made me wonder what the difference is between YouTube sponsoring the debate and, say, John Deere sponsoring a golf tournament. You know, when they let the CEO on air for a few seconds to tie the tournament into the sponsor’s product. The sportscaster sets up the plug by talking about how great the tournament is and how smoothly it went, then the CEO chimes in with "runs like a Deere," which is the company’s slogan.

I am used to debates being sponsored by news organizations and Leagues of voters, but is this the first debate co-sponsored by a commercial enterprise whose business isn’t journalism. Like the Preparation H Cotton Bowl of debates?

Is having the questions submitted via YouTube in anyway analagous to a Lexus-sponsored debate where questions are submitted in writing at your local Lexus dealer? I don’t have the answer; I’m just asking the questions.

YouTube has become a force in the campaign with candidates recognizing that viral videos are this generation’s…well, I don’t know what was analagous in our generation, maybe nothing.

So, it’s not exactly like any consumer products company helping run a debate to pick the next president, but it is something new.

What do you think?

By John Eggerton

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