Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, November 13, 2006

"YouTube serves its purpose well"

An editorial in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Reason not to bully people around No. 572: You might appear on YouTube. The Internet darling of 2006 made its way back into the headlines last week when a 20-second video clip showed Los Angeles police officers beating a suspect accused of receiving stolen property.

YouTube has become the modern-day version of “Candid Camera,” but the video it airs isn’t always affable.

The Web destination became a frequent haunt for many during the recent campaign season. It was used to showcase highlights — or lowlights — of speeches and appearances to boost the popularity of some and tarnish the reputations of others.

It’s even making waves on a local level. Footage of a Washington State University “professor” using his alleged position of power to browbeat College Republicans during an on-campus demonstration about immigration issues is available on www.youtube.com.

Not surprisingly, people are tuning in. As of this morning, the video filmed at WSU’s Glenn Terrell Mall had been viewed more than 900 times.

A second snippet from the Nov. 2 U.S./Mexico border-fence demonstration on the Pullman campus was posted Saturday, and it has already been downloaded more than 150 times.

YouTube was recently named Invention of the Year by Time magazine, for obvious reasons.

It gives Average Joes the ability to post their video online, whether it’s a clip of them dropping Mentos into Coke bottles or documented evidence of criminal abuse by police officers.

The rules are simple. Anyone can be filmed in a public place, and as long as the video isn’t used for commercial purposes, written permission isn’t necessary.

In essence, those who throw their weight around — literally or figuratively — can be held accountable by anybody with a digital camera or video recorder.

Keeping that in mind, perhaps someone will think twice the next time they want to pull the “I’m a professor” card.
Way to go WSUCollegeRepublican!

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