Rabbit Hole Jamie T
23 January 2015, 11:50
YouTube invaded the White House yesterday, traditional news channels are unimpressed, and it's kinda great.
Yesterday the White House saw an interesting new approach to conducting interviews with the President - Bringing in YouTubers.
Three of the site's most influential content creators were brought to Washington DC to conduct three live one-one-one interviews with President Barack Obama, discussing a host of questions pitched to them by their followers.
While many of the questions were informative, educated and undoubtedly hard-hitting, it seems as though a lot of traditional news reporters, such as Fox News and CNN, are feeling incredibly salty about these non-journalist internet types getting personal time with the President that most of them could only dream of.
Here's a breakdown of everybody who got to speak with Obama yesterday, what they do, and how they managed to cheese off the old media types:
The self-proclaimed "Mother of the Internet", GloZell Green is a comedian and vlogger from Hollywood with over 3 million subscribers.
Famous for viral challenge videos involving cinnamon, cereal and peppers, GloZell's comedy channel has racked up over half a billion views. She also performs stand-up and tours with other LA-based YouTubers frequently.
If all YouTubers have big "personalities", then GloZell's personality is the size of the Moon. She is hilarious, loud, and completely unapologetic to a point that would make any stuffed shirt from the White House press room both uncomfortable and furious that she was even allowed in the building.
Most news outlets keep trying to negate her hard-hitting questions on racial profiling and Cuban relations by referencing her video where she eats cereal from a bathtub. Because apparently people can't be both intelligent and entertaining.
Also she said "dick" in a formal interview with the President and everyone is losing it.
19 year-old vlogger Bethany is a California-based beauty guru with a following of well over 8 million subscribers.
Bethany's product hauls and style guides have amassed her an impressive viewer base, with over 640 million views on her main channel alone. She has partnered with a lot of major brands and has her own clothing and accessory line with Aéropostale. She's even been a contestant on Dancing With the Stars.
"Because how dare this teenage girl come in with her fans and land an interview with the President? I've been sitting in this press conference room waiting to get an answer for twenty years! Rah-rah get off my lawn"
There's no denying Bethany is a less conventional Presidential interviewer. But her age and her following make her a formidable force when it comes to attracting a younger audience to politics; not to mention she had some relevant questions about the cost of college and Boko Haram.
Missoula-based Hank is an entrepeneur, musician and vlogger; notably one half of the long-distance vlogging project "VlogBrothers" with his brother, The Fault In Our Stars author John Green.
Self described as an "internetainerpreneur", Hank has his fingers in many different internet pies: On top of VlogBrothers, Hank runs another online educational series called SciShow, as well as producing at least 10 other webseries including Emmy Award-winning Pride And Prejudice adaptation The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. He also creates his own music (which he releases on his own record label and merch store "DFTBA Records") directs an annual non-profit event called the "Project For Awesome" and runs an enormous annual YouTube conference called "VidCon" in California.
Unsurprisingly, it seems as though Hank has actually got most traditional news outlets stumped. His accomplishments are pretty hard to target and his questions on drone strikes, corporate in politics and the Affordable Care Act were pretty on point. The best CNN could muster was to brush him off by calling him an "EcoGeek", in reference to the environmental technology blog he founded and edits; while Fox News elected not to mention him at all, in favour of bashing GloZell and Bethany. Stay classy, old media.
Overall, it seems that the biggest reason why most of these outlets are doing their bit to make the whole event seem like a pointless gimmick is because to them, it's still a scary new world. It's terrifying to realise that half of your job can be done by independent young people with a video camera and a sense of humour, with a built-in audience and less political bias. And when you're calling this "fake journalism" then cutting away to a story about Tom Brady and a deflated football (looking at you, Fox), then that out-of-touch disparity becomes plain to see.