This post on the Official Google Blog makes me pretty upset with Google. All this talk about breaking down barriers and not one mention of including third party candidates in future YouTube debates. Let’s get something straight: Google isn’t improving the political process. They’re just reinforcing the status quo, and claiming otherwise. So much for
“don’t be evil” “You can make money without doing evil“. If Google really wants to improve the political process, then they need to turn the election into a real competition and actually make it interesting. Imagine a debate where the debaters are judged on what they say and not on how they answer (or not answer) questions or how they behave or other minutia. Such a debate would actually be useful to voters. A sure way to bring this about is to invite third party candidates to debate. Doing so will call into question the legitimacy and earnest of the candidates who currently aren’t working hard enough or making enough of a case to deserve the position they seek. I agree that YouTube is powerful, but Google needs to use it to affect the sort of change that the USA needs. Something is wrong when elections are won by very slim margins. Blaming the problem on the red-state/blue-state division of the country is incorrect. Rather, the presidential candidates we’ve seen in the last few elections have been too similar. Modifying the debate format to help voters discern the difference between candidates isn’t the way to go about solving that problem. Rather, YouTube should use it’s muscle to force candidates to adopt diverse positions and give voters a real choice.
One might argue that YouTube couldn’t hope to hold a debate with third party candidates because Democrat and Republican candidates would refuse to participate for fear of the sea change that I’ve described. I argue that YouTube is too powerful for any candidate to ignore simply because they want the exposure. Google has no excuse.
Google, don’t be evil. Make things right.