This may seem like deja vu to the more regular readers among you but I did want to write it up for the main event, the Star. Today's treeware column is basically a follow to my post of August 8, in which I show how Stephen Taylor used YouTube to eviscerate CBC-TV News' Christina Lawand over her coverage of the Conservative caucus meeting in Cornwall. I'll cut to the newer stuff, since the Lawand stuff is available via the links above:
Queen's University biochemistry student Stephen Taylor, who in 2004 ran for the Conservative nomination for Kingston and the Islands, deconstructed Lawand's report for the National on his political blog.
As he argued, the packaging of the piece took Harper's words out of context, made it seem as if he did not care for the Lebanese-Canadian perspective, and closely tied him to the pro-Israel constituency.
To be honest, once you see the raw footage of what Harper actually said in response to a question by a Star reporter, it is hard to refute Taylor.
And that's the key.
Because, instead of providing a written critique of Lawand's report, he eviscerated it using YouTube.com, the video hosting service founded last year by three former PayPal employees and which has gone from zero to maybe a billion in worth since.
Some 100 million viewings of clips occur daily on YouTube.
But in the days after Taylor employed it to attack CBC, one of his favourite targets, his seven-minute Lawand video was one of "the most linked-to" clips on YouTube.
As CBC producer and web guru Tod Maffin pointed out on the public broadcaster's official blog Inside the CBC, YouTube, and similar sites such as Google Video, are "effective means for getting the message out."
Which advertisers — as well as propagandists — have already discovered.
They can pose as ordinary citizens doing their own thing with their mobile phone cams, downloaded music, graphic text generators and some archival clips to make mini-movies and send them shooting to computers all over the world.
For example, last week, one video making waves on the triple-w was a spoof of former U.S. vice president Al Gore's well-received feature documentary on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth. It depicts a bloated Gore bloviating about temperature spikes and the like, while putting even penguins to sleep.
The parody was presented as having been made by a 29-year-old geek nicknamed "Toutsmith" in a Beverly Hills basement. But, when the Wall Street Journal tried to track him down, it discovered it actually originated from the computer of a slick Republican public relations firm called DCI, whose clients include oil behemoth Exxon.
"A DCI Group spokesman declines to say whether or not DCI made the anti-Gore penguin video, or to explain why Toutsmith appeared to be sending email from DCI's computers," reported the Journal.
As for Exxon, it denied any connection to the video.
As PR Watch reports:
What is certain is that "political operatives, public relations experts and ad agencies" are increasingly using video-sharing websites like YouTube to shape public opinion. Ogilvy & Mather "plans to post amateur-looking videos on Web sites to spare word-of-mouth buzz about Foster's beer," and AT&T has used YouTube to post videos against net neutrality.
You just can't get around these guys.