In an unlikely union, News Corp.’s MySpace and Viacom’s MTV have teamed up to enter the online political fray. The two are producing a series of one-on-one dialogues between a handful of the top 2008 presidential candidates and American college students that will stream live on MySpaceTV and MTV.com, and air on MTV and MTVU.
According to Carly Mayberry, the one-hour discussions will take place on college campuses around the country and will feature a smattering of interactive components. Interested and inclined parties will be able to submit questions through MySpaceIM, e-mail, and mobile devices, while online viewers will be offered various polls to participate in to gauge viewer reaction.
Former North Carolina senator John Edwards is slated to go first on September 27 in New Hampshire, with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain, Rudy Guiliani and Mitt Romney to follow.
Hopefully, in a one-on-one setting, the candidates will be more candid and upfront with their electorate than they were during the inaugural CNN-YouTube Debate in late July. The debate was supposed to be a groundbreaking milestone in the American political system – with its innovative format and user-submitted questions – but it simply didn’t live up to the hype. Candidates regurgitated the same platitudes that you hear at all the other town hall meetings, debates, and public appearances.
It will be interesting to see if MySpace and MTV can fare better. While MySpace hasn’t invested too much in political intrigue aside from its Impact Channel, MTV’s Choose or Lose campaign has a proven track record of at least attempting to get candidates engaged with voters on a more sincere, personal level (even if that does include asking presidential hopefuls whether they wear boxers or briefs).
Either way, whatever gets more people active and involved in the political process definitely gets my vote.