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Iowa Gov to Host Weekly YouTube Address

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, April 28 2011

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, is starting his own weekly video address, according to an AP item in the Chicago Tribune today.

Branstad will be soliciting questions via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, then responding to them every Friday in a weekly segment caled "Ask the Gov." He joins Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in taking time out for a weekly YouTube letters session.

This kind of exposure can be an opportunity for these politicians to address controversy or disagreement head-on, which is probably healthy. But taking to YouTube to answer a smattering of self-selected questions can't be called transparency. Like former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' discontinued First Question project, the House Republican's YouCut initiative, and the recent Facebook "town hall" by President Barack Obama, the YouTube-as-answer-platform method leaves control of the entire interaction, and all the information available about that interaction, in the hands of the politician. There's no telling which questions were left out or avoided (although some of Obama's appearances with YouTube's Steve Grove made the list available). In the past, interactions like that have been called "transparency theater".