Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hope Will Not Be Televised

Great speeches don't matter if no one hears them. Barack Obama delivered a riveting speech about America's moral crisis this weekend, calling for a united movement to overcome the nation's moral deficit and mounting economic inequality. Political observers praised the address and reporters covered it -- 53 mentions in major papers -- yet it's been largely overshadowed by the escalating fight between Obama and The Clintons, which still dominates this week's media narrative. The candidates and reporters are focused on the fight, a defensible choice given both its impact and the undeniable news of a former U.S. President "spreading demonstrably false information," according to ABC News. But it turns out the public found Obama's speech anyway.

While cable news shows gorge on campaign sparring, Obama's uplifting speech is absolutely dominating YouTube. The 34-minute address from Ebenezer Baptist Church is currently the fourth most viewed video in the world on YouTube, trailing two Britney Spears clips. Not only is that unusual traffic for a long political address – people also like it. On Tuesday, viewers voted it the second most "favorited" video in the world. It also drew the second highest number of incoming links, a key indicator of web interest that drives Google page rankings. About 43 percent of viewers have come from links on Obama's social networking page, MyBO, which encourages supporters to share videos and information with their friends. Other viewers came from apolitical networks, both within YouTube and on other sites. At SomethingAwful, a popular general interest site that proclaims the "Internet makes you stupid," one user wrote that the speech was so good it was worth posting in a non-political forum, attaching the video and text. The single post drew more than 3,000 new viewers in a day.

Here's the speech. It's long, but worth the listen. Seriously.

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