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Best Political Web Videos of the Week

BY Editors | Friday, September 21 2007

It's that time again, when we present our favorite videos of the week. Some have gone or will go viral, and some will fall by the wayside. But all of them hit some kind of political or cultural note that proves the ever-increasing influence of online video. Sometimes videos come from the ground up and grab the mainstream media’s attention, like the video of University of Florida student Andrew Meyer getting tasered. But sometimes a video comes from big media first, like Sally Field getting cut off by Fox as she gave an anti-war speech at the Emmys.

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani and his critics continue to fight via video, a Ron Paul supporter goes over top with a video in support of the Texan candidate, and there’s much love for the intertubes.

Have a favorite video? Send it to us at techpres AT personaldemocracy DOT com.

10. Student Andrew Meyer Tasered

This isn’t the first, most popular video of the taser incident at the University of Florida. Instead, YouTube user “xELRx” edited it down to make the incident seem much more threatening. This one has 118,710 views on YouTube; the original has been viewed over 1,400,000 times. Whether or not it was a stunt, the dramatic footage has sucked most of the oxygen away from other politically-inclined videos this week.

9. Way!

Slate's Bruce Reed produced his own video for Mitt Romney's create-your-own-ad contest, though it wasn't actually in support of the candidate, and the contest is actually over. It's really funny, but it didn't make the cut, proving that the campaign didn't approve every entry.

8. The Jena Six

The case of six students in Jena, Louisiana, who are awaiting trial for attempted murder in a case of schoolyard racism gone crazy flared into the mainstream headlines yesterday, when more than 10,000 people marched in solidarity with the students. But if you were watching the intertubes, you already knew something of their story and the passions it has unleashed. This video, which summarizes the story very effectively, was made by an independent alternative media outfit in Philadelphia. It has been watched
more than 1.1 million times.

7. Ron Paul: Our Power, Our Responsibility

This completely over-the-top Ron Paul video is set to a song by the goth-rock band Evanescence. As the band’s heavy music blares, melodramatic lyrics like “All our lives, we’ve been waiting for someone to call our leader” are mixed in with Supreme Leader-ish quotes like, “The true patriot is motivated by a sense of responsibility and out of self interest for himself, his family, and the future of his country to resist government abuse of power.” Meanwhile, the images of a skinny obstetrician from Texas keep flashing on the screen. Viewed over 54,000 times on YouTube.

6. Running with Rudy at NASCAR

This semi-bizarre campaign video starts out with a faux-Van Halen guitar solo and quickly descends into boring weirdness. Staffer Dan Meyer follows Rudy Giuliani as he makes an appearance at a NASCAR race in New Hampshire. While it’s funny to see the opera-loving, ultra-urbane New Yorker trying to fit in at a racetrack, the odd thing is that we’re always a couple of times removed from Giuliani; Meyer reports on who is interviewing Giuliani (not the most interesting news), but never talks to him himself. Viewed only about 940 times on YouTube.

5. Rudy Giuliani: A Betrayal of Trust

MoveOn continues the fight, responding to last week’s attack from the Giuliani campaign with its own hard-hitting ad. The gist of the ad: despite support for the war in Iraq, Rudy skipped “important meetings” at the Iraq Study Group and then quit, preferring to make money doing speaking engagements. Ouch! More than 187,000 views on YouTube.

4. Chickenhawks for Clinton

A new video from the creator of “Gays for Giuliani” takes the same paradoxical approach to attacking a targe: actors claim that they love Hillary for doing things — supporting the war in Iraq — that are anathema to liberals. Get it? Although it’s similar in form as the anti-Giuliani video, it’s nowhere near as effective. Getting 20-something actors to play would-be defense contractors thrilled about Clinton's vote for the Iraq War just isn't as compelling as getting them to play young gay men thrilled about Giuliani's support for gay rights. Just launched; about 270 views so far on YouTube.

3. Sunlight Foundation: OneWebDay 2007

“Do you suffer from taxpayer cynicism, political ennui, constituent apathy? These might be symptoms of congresssional data frustration.” The cure for this malady? Sunlightalinazinosec! Also, celebrate One Web Day (or Yom Kippur) tomorrow!

[techPresident’s Micah Sifry and Andrew Rasiej are adivisors to the Sunlight Foundation.]

2. McCain tells Moveon to Move Out

Continuing with his “straight talk” (what’s the difference between “straight” and “grumpy”?), John McCain is outraged at MoveOn’s “General Betray Us” ad, and tells an audience that the liberal advocacy group “oughta be thrown out of this country.” This fight is obviously lighting up switchboards and filling warchests on both sides, but we are wondering how exactly one throws a virtual organization of 3.2 million people out of the country. Over 3,000 views from multiple sources on YouTube.

1. Can Your Film Change the World?

Tired of all the sniping, tasering and negativity in online video? A group called the Sapling Foundation, which also runs the yearly TED conference, is organizing Pangea Day, a day when people will gather all around the world to celebrate the power of film. Uplifted yet? The advisory board includes names like Goldie Hawn, Cameron Diaz, director Alexander Payne, Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas, and even Ami Dar, executive director of Idealist.org. Convinced now? If not, watch the promo video; it’s hard not to be moved by their vision of international goodwill fostered by the power of film. More than 330,000 views on YouTube.