Published by Jeff Jarvis July 11th, 2007 Tags: attacks, giuliani, youtube.
We've been concentrating on who will be smart enough to benefit most from the internet and YouTube in this presidential election. But we should also ask who will be hurt most. And that could be Rudy Giuliani -- but only because he's not trying to use the internet smartly. Our sister blogs at WashingtonPost.com do a great job today covering the effort by some New York firefighters to take out their longstanding grudge against Giuliani -- and Giuliani's prebuttal against them. Peter Hauck posted the video below. As a New Yorker and a survivor of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, I have sadly seen too much of this sort of angry revenge, blaming the rage and hurt of 9/11 on one scapegoat or another. These firefighters pin all the blame on Giuliani for (1) their bad radios and (2) their dissatisfaction over the recovery of remains. That's all this video is about. Not unlike the Swiftboat commercials, it focuses on one strong grievance. It tries to use this as evidence of a fatal flaw in the candidate's character. But, really, this is more of an opportunity to vent than it is a campaign statement. This video has even less to do with the presidential election than the Swift Boaters' did. It's about the ongoing war between Giuliani and some of the firefighters. And though, as WashingtonPost.com reported, Giuliani countered the firefighters' video before it was released on YouTube and on an anti-Giuliani attack site, I say that he is not using the internet wisely. Even before this video, if you went to YouTube and searched for the latest videos on Giuliani you'd find no end of Ron Paul videos (because he's everywhere) and then no end of videos from 9/11 conspiracy theorists and deniers and Giuliani haters. Fringe though they may be, these people own "Giuliani" on YouTube. Giuliani doesn't. If he wanted to use YouTube wisely, Giuliani should be flooding the zone with his own videos and his own messages, his own stories of 9/11 and his own campaign messages that move past that. But, instead, his YouTube page is peppered with occasional snippets of speeches and local news reports, none very compelling. He lets himself be outnumbered online. This is the same candidate who still has a private MySpace page! He has no Facebook page. His web site doesn't even have a blog. Giuliani may not be scared of terrorists but it sure seems he's scared of the internet. Whether anyone pays attention to the firefighters' attack on Giuliani will depend on whether the video is picked up in media coverage and whether it strikes any chord that makes it go viral. This one video will not do him in; the tone of the video is so strident and so focused on this specific grudge that it may have no impact on the campaign at all. But still, Giuliani may be the candidate who is doing the worst job using the internet and specifically YouTube video. He has conceded online -- the digital primary state -- to his enemies.