Congress Spamming YouTube

Members of Congress are flooding YouTube with scads of amateurish, unwatchable videos, The Telegraph‘s Mark Coleman reports.

Two months ago, the website added an official Congress channel, inviting Democrats and Republicans to share quirky political messages with voters.  But analysts say the move has been hampered by politicians’ inability to adapt to an online audience.

Andrew Rasiej, founder of the political technology site Personal Democracy Forum, said too many messages consist of warbling monologues that miss the point.

Other postings, including one by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, were said to be too eccentric or random to resonate.  In a minute-long video, Mrs Pelosi showed footage of her life behind the scenes in the Capitol Building through the eyes of two pet cats. Making matters more bizarre, the minute-long film was captured to the strains of Rick Astley’s disco hit, Never Going To Give You Up.

Mr Rasiej said: “The problem for Nancy Pelosi, or anyone who tries to do this, is that you can’t fake authenticity. “The more you try to make the video authentic, the more inauthentic it becomes. And Nancy Pelosi’s cat video is the perfect example of overdoing it, and watching one’s head disappear in a pool of quicksand.”

In another video, Democrat Tim Ryan promoted the virtues of driving an environmental car by referring to the vehicle as a “chick magnet”.

This is amusing on a lot of levels.  But, um, wasn’t this the whole idea behind YouTube?

Any idiot can upload any video that they own and anyone can search the site to watch whichever of said videos catches their fancy.  Almost by definition, virtually every video will be amateurish dreck that few people want to watch except in a “Mystery Science Theater 3000” sort of way.

With few exceptions, the truly good videos on YouTube and similar services are either 1) professional videos posted in violation of someone else’s copyrights, 2) professional videos purporting to be amateur videos until the actual source is ultimately revealed, or 3) pornographic.

via Stephen Green

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Brett says:

    Aren’t there some members of Congress who are in their late twenties/early thirties? There is no excuse for this.

  2. Hoodlumman says:

    Entertain me, dammit!!

  3. The Rock says:

    The author of this missed the point of Nancy’s video. She was showing she is aware of all internet traditions. Rick Roll and LOLCatz.

  4. Grewgills says:

    I think rock got it right. Pelosi Rick rolled her constituents and given who her constituents are I doubt it was a mistake.

  5. sam says:

    Mr Rasiej said: “The problem for Nancy Pelosi, or anyone who tries to do this, is that you can’t fake authenticity.

    Wasn’t it Spencer Tracy who said that the secret to good acting was to fake sincerity? If you can do that, you’ve got it made.

    With few exceptions, the truly good videos on YouTube and similar services are …3) pornographic.

    I’m waiting for the first congressional porno and it’s defence as falling under the franking privilege.

    (Heh, and then the inevitable typo in the press release as having it fall under the frakking privilege.)

  6. John Burgess says:

    Given that YouTube was designed to be usable by idiots, I foresee a flood of Congressional submissions.

    For the Congressional pron, though, we’ll have to wait for a quick-minded tourist with a videophone stalking the steps of the Capitol….