Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Your Questions for President Obama

Yesterday, President Obama had his first exclusive interview after his State of the Union speech with you, the YouTube community. The President engaged in a direct conversation about a broad range of issues, from generating jobs to opening up the health care process to investments in nuclear energy.

The best part of the process was that it was driven by you. ​Five days ago, as the President began his State of the Union address, we opened up our Moderator platform on CitizenTube, and over 55,000 of you submitted and voted on both video and text questions. Some of them were hard-hitting, others were emotional, and some were even funny.

You can watch the full interview now:



Only able to ask less than 0.2% of the 11,696 questions submitted, it was hard to choose the final handful. Here's how the selection process worked: we tried to cover a range of issues, minimize duplicate questions, and include both video and text submissions. First, we looked at which topics had the highest participation -- like jobs, foreign policy, health care and government reform -- to determine how many questions to ask in each category. We then took the top 5% of video and text questions and picked questions that reflected what you cared about. None of them were chosen by the White House or seen by the President before the interview.

In some cases, we combined questions, grouping similar ones from different categories like health care and government reform:

"Why are the health care meetings, procedures, etc not on CSPAN as promised?" - Mr. Anderson, Texas

"How do you expect the people of this country to trust you when you have repeatedly broken promises that were made on the campaign trail. Most recently, the promise to have a transparent healthcare debate..." - Warren Hunter, Brooklyn
Sometimes the top overall question in the category was a video question:



To try to get as many question in as possible, we had a section called "Good idea/Bad idea" in which we tried to solicit short responses from the President on ideas you sent in that might not be presented to him in traditional interviews. And in all cases, we tried to select the top questions that would solicit conversation, lead to substantive answers, and hadn't been asked in previous programs we've had with the President.

We had many more questions on hand than we had time to deliver, so we're pleased that the White House has agreed to respond to more of the top-voted questions in their blog soon, at whitehouse.gov.

We hope this interview brings us one step closer to creating better access to your government through YouTube -- and we'd love to hear your feedback and any other ideas you have on YouTube's political programming.

39 comments:

Joshua said...

About the censorship on weed legalization questions:

So did I do all that voting for nothing? They weren't joke questions; they were very serious. It's sad that when the American people really want answers, you go ahead and decide to not get it to them because it's too "controversial".

StudentsTakingAction said...

I applaude Citizentube for using their time with the President wisely. They addressed issues that are important to all people, not just a few well paid marijuana bloging organizations.

By staying on topic regarding relevant issues the President was able to answer questions everyone wanted to hear. Not make a mockery of the interview by discussing pot.

Anonymous said...

TYC: The questions about cannabis prohibition were asked by citizens, not from a few well paid marijuana blogging organizations. It is clear to anyone that cares to even casually look at cannabis prohibition that it isn't working. The drug war is a failure by any matrix. How is taking a questions from citizens concerning a fail policy making a mockery of anything? Is it not a citizens duty to question actions by the government that do not work? A burgeoning prison population and the budget increases that accompany it should be considered a 'relevant issue'. Not everyone agrees that cannabis users should be imprisoned. Why do you? Who are their victims? Sumptuary laws have no place in modern society. If that's what society wants then why don't we still have Blue Laws?

Anonymous said...

"The best part of the process was that it was driven by you."

This is a lie.

The marijuana-legalization questions that were submitted, voted for, and ultimately eliminated were driven by us. The questions that were asked were driven by you.

Marijuana has many very important medical benefits and the short-sightedness of your choice to exclude them from the presidents ears saddens and disappoints me greatly.

This isn't Citizentube, its Censorshiptube.

Anonymous said...

Ah the Mary-Jo controversy.
When there are much more important battles to wage.
Like money.

see the trailer at www.youtube.com/ownersofamerica
www.ownersofamerica.com

LedZep1111 said...

I want to know how the president thinks of marijuana legalization. Cannabis is a billion dollar crop medically & industrially. We could tax & regulate the commercialism of it. Whats wrong with wanting to know, the most popular question. I think the people at citizentube should research this issue, before they so biasly refuse to even bring the most popular question to the president.

Anonymous said...

Brown socks? Sneakers? Seriously man, you're interviewing the president.

Anonymous said...

I think the good folks of CitizenTube and the President himself (see his first online town hall meeting) understand that the internet is awash with pro-drug people who swamp any blog anywhere with their ludicrous arguments. Thanks for seeing through the murk and focusing on the important issues.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, ludicrous arguments for legitimate medication, how unimportant. Lets just stop research on pharmaceuticals altogether.

Anonymous said...

The sheep here that claim that ending marijuana prohibition is not a relevant issue are the same ones who clearly don't question the world around them and make their decisions based on fear or they allow others to make their decisions for them because they are too lazy or ignorant to come to a logical conclusion.

This issue directly relates to your freedom, which you so easily brush off with arguments like, the economy is more important, etc, etc..

Actually, your freedom is more important. Your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are more important. Use your brains, fearful sheep. If the economy is your number one priority, decriminalizing/legalizing marijuana should be at the top of your list. If you think it is that dangerous for society, then you have not looked in the mirror lately...that danger is YOU!

Anonymous said...

The war on drugs is infinitely more destructive to innocent lives than terrorism ever has been. If you don't think that's a serious issue then you simply don't understand what a serious issue is.

Peter said...

I'd like to hear how those of you who are actively opposted to marijuana legalization see a net negative scenario develop from it. Then I'd like to have we, the supporters, publically dress down your arguments for citizentube and the rest of the voting public to see. There is no positive reason to have any drugs remain illegal.

The decision to ignore the most popular question was flagrantly rejecting progressive ideals that enjoys support from both ends of the political spectrum. That we are debating the topic of censorship shows the ineffectiveness of citizentube as a medium to communicate with the President. Technological advances since the telephone have increased our ability to communicate with one another immediately. We should not be restricted to participating in government only by annual voting.

Anonymous said...

Wrong sheepie..."the war" is a much misused term. It is labeled as a "war on drugs" when in reality it should be labeled a "war on people". Drugs are not and have never been the problem. They are inanimate but I guess you didn't realize that?

People are and always will be the problem. People that abuse their rights, people that are not responsible individuals to begin with. People make their choices, not drugs or alcohol. Calling it anything else is failure to understand what a REAL serious issue looks like.

Call it like it is. Now that is transparency! Only a fool would accept less. (And for the attempt, I give Obama credit where it's due)

bart said...

It is really a scandal that "citizentube" chose to ignore the #1 question.

Anonymous said...

Each staff member at Citizentube that supported the decision to cut the #1 question should be deeply ASHAMED of themselves. You offered the American people a direct voice to the president of our great (FREE) country, then blatantly censored that voice because you didn't like what we had to say.

Look around. We are not an organized lobby. We are just a bunch of frustrated Americans that keep getting the shaft from close minded people like you!

Anonymous said...

Dear Citizentube,
Your "selection process" is a sham. You knew what the most popular question was. It was completely acceptable to ask the president about cannabis. What you did not know was the consequences for ignoring such a popular issue.

Anonymous said...

Dear Citizentube,

What happened to the Feb 1 blog entry that was very similar to this one from Feb2? Last night there were about 40 comments following up on the Grove/Obama interview.

Unfortunately, there were some comments that were disrespectful/inappropriate (and may have understandably been deleted due forum guidelines), but many of the comments were constructively criticizing Citizentube, and challenged Citizentube to be a stronger forum and news service--similar to how Citizentube publicly strives to challenge our elected officials to be more transparent and accountable.

Will you repost the comments that were here yesterday? Can you describe the challenges that CitizenTube may have faced in posing certain questions to the President, that other news agencies explore in their stories? (Separate from painting it as the "10 most amusing questions".)

Thank you for you efforts to open up civic engagement. Wanting Citizentube to continue grow an be around for a while.

Anonymous said...

When are we going to realize that sitting behind our computer tapping out questions that get flooded by 11,000 other questions is not the way to get things done? Obviously the president is not going to acknowledge Q#1 until we make him acknowledge it. I call for an organized march on washington, we need to bring this serious subject to light. No more innocents imprisoned, cast out and killed. No more social stigmatas, no more war! This was our chance to speak, and we did, and we were ignored. Obviously we need to be more direct and not give close minded censors the chance to ignore our questions! We must act if we are ever to be free!

Beto said...

You and your government are a Joke Mr. Obama :(
Keep ignoring the people you're supposed to work for... see where that leads you.

samg said...

Olivia,

Just a comment, but DON'T simply settle for the most popular questions - go through them all with a fine-tooth comb and pick out the ones that have the most MERIT BASED ON THE FACTS.

I saw a lot of questions there that were EXTREMELY interesting but weren't rated very high because they weren't hot-button topics that had lots of popular support! And lots of people rated the most controversial questions down (because they disagreed with the sentiment behind the question)

Do us all a favor: look at ALL the questions and distill all the interesting points and questions down to a 50 page document that the president's office can then give to the president - and of course post that list of questions to us, the people who participated in them.

They need not be asked, but I beg you to at least present them to be considered..

Thanks much,

(ps - do you guys ever comment in these response sections? I've seen a lot of provocative comments here, but not much sense of a reply from you guys..
)

Anonymous said...

This needs to have a Streisand effect people. MSM needs to know!

This censorship is bullshit

Anonymous said...

citezentube.com = fail

Anonymous said...

If you voted for weed.

You all just got pwnd.

By citzentube.com

Now we know where you live!

shilpaworld said...

It's interesting thoughts

youtube friend adder

Anonymous said...

If you're as pissed about the censorship as I am, please contact Steve @ http://www.facebook.com/stevegrove

Anonymous said...

Olivia and citizentube, how much longer are you just going to straight up ignore the concerns people have with your system? This is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Tired of being ignored about the marijuana legalization question? Contact press@youtube.com with your complaints.

seriesoftubes said...

That's almost what CitizenTube said when they asked for our votes, but the first part, the "we will ask the President the top voted questions" appears to have been forgotten. When was it decided that this important point would be changed?

You citizentube people are slimeballs of the Fox News variety.

Anonymous said...

hey you fascist fucking pigs why don't you censor my DICK!!!!!! 8==============D~~~

Anonymous said...

This is a joke. It should be called 'riggedtube'.

Vocal Citizen said...

No, we should all post ANTI Citizentube vids on YouTube and tell what they did!
Besides, asking the president to legalize marijuana is not how to do it...
He can order the Senate and House to repeal the federal laws against cannabis and its derivatives and that will enable individual states (and the citizens within them) to vote on a legitimate cannabis program in each state. THAT'S how you get it legalized. Start calling the White House daily, people... If they think Obama won't get re-elected unless he acts, we might see results.

Anonymous said...

You-all are taking a lot of heat on this marijuana question. This is most unfair. The frustrated letter writers are foolishly criticizing you for not having any courage. This is unfair because you are not required by your job to have any courage, nor are you paid any money for having courage, so what is the point of having courage? Of course you are weasels. That is what you get paid to be, not lions. Even though I too am frustrated, I recognize the stupidity of criticizing a gutless weasel for being a gutless weasel, because that is his nature. He will never be a lion, because that is against his nature. To expect him to do anything un-weaselly or courageous is inappropriate. Accept his weaselliness and lack of courage for what it is; another example of someone put on the planet for the sole purpose of making the rest of us, especially the lions, look good. Keep on being gutless weasels, because that is what we expect of you. What was that other video server? Oh yes, there are many. So it should not be a problem to view any videos I want on them? OK.

Anonymous said...

There are too many commercials on Youtube anyway.

Anonymous said...

How the hell are we supposed to get anything done in this country if WE THE PEOPLE are censored !!? We are not and organized paid group...we are real people looking for the ear of the President of the United States Of American...not the ear of You Tube. If you dont think prohibition affects your freedom and your wallet just cause you dont use drugs ..Think again and do some research. Start here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CyuBuT_7I4&feature=related

Yes its on YOUTUBE ! And if you think its bunk,do some research.

Im sick of our leaders ignoring the people. Im sick of people like youtube deciding what is important to the people.

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Censorshiptube.

Do you have anything to say for yourself?

Anonymous said...

what's the point of pointing fingers at china for censoring when they are doing the same thing? President Obama needs to consider a fallback plan if/when things take a turn for the worse.With the estimate of his new plan, if this one fails, the country is financially screwed. He tells us to tell him the issues, "straight from the horses mouth" if you will, but how were we suppose to know that google would be our voice for discussing OUR issues with the President. Can you say Boycott? it has to be on the horizon...

Anonymous said...

legalize marijuana why was this not asked it was the number 1 question this could be a new taxibal product so this makes citizen tube look like bullshit if the question yhe magorty wants answerd that should be the 1st one asked regardless of what you corprate sponsers think maby you should call it what ppl are seeing corpratetube.com and say the truth we ask you for questions to pick and chose what we want to use

Anonymous said...

lmao .. hey citizentube.. i hope you see all these people mad at you about the marijuana question.. im guessing this is what you were thinking "so, lets not ask questions people want to know.. lets ask what WE want to ask.. lets ask questions that have been asked 373403512345723473459239058q4904835 times with 7843308795731238679678658756 videos of obama answering them already .. yea, thats what people want" well i have news for you citizentube .. of which you are aware.. it was voted #1 over and over and over and over and over and over not just here.. change.org.. and any other bs thing people come up with.. it will always be #1.. you cant stop it and never will .. its here to stay .. just like the government trying to stop pot altogether .. its here forever. sure they can get alot of it .. but never all .. never.. since you never listen . ill tell you again .. NEVER NEVER NEVER..you will never be able to stop us.. even if you ask the question and the answer is no. just ask yourself why it was and always will be voted #1.. well its simple .. its what WE(not you) want.. if only we had a place people can vote on question to ask the president .. this is sure not the place to do that. huh? one last thought for you .. since it was number 1.. who do you think are the people that watch this crappy channel. if potheads unsub from your channel.. you might have about 3 people left. this channel belongs in the youtube trash with all the other people that post worthless crap online

Paul said...

Why didn't Obama, the Presidential candidate who acknowledged we need to "rethink and decriminalize" marijuana answer the most popular question, about why we are still arresting millions of Americans every year for liking flowers.

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