Remember last week when Barack Obama's race speech racked up millions of views on YouTube? Well, history is repeating itself this week for Hillary Clinton — though not for anything she'd want voters to see. YouTubed videos showing the debunking of her Bosnia claim have been viewed at least two million times over the past two days — at least — showing her claims of running across the tarmac to avoid gunfire to footage of her and her then-teenaged daughter, Chelsea, being greeted by a sweet little girl. The most-viewed of the videos, a pull of a CBS News segment that has currently clocked 1,373,104 views, is also the #1 most-viewed video today and # 4 this week (Obama's race speech is #5); other versions of the video have gotten 388,057, 31,555, 25,786, 4,190 and 2,149 views respectively (ironically, CBS' own video on their YouTube channel only has 4,205 views so far).
This, incidentally, does not include Hillary-in-Bosnia related videos, like the CBS News 1996 report on the trip itself, with 95,996 views; a clip from the report on it from "NBC Nightly News" (26,997 views) and from CNN's Jack Cafferty (1,028 views); and "Hillary in Tuzla: The Tale of Bosnian Sniper Fire (TRAILER)" at 295,823 views.
It's hard to fully canvass the entire world of online video, but as far as YouTube goes, these numbers are on par with what Obama's race speech had pulled in in roughly two days (and that video may have had some "video view optimizing" help, according to Peter Kafka at the Silicon Alley Insider). Presumably the Clinton campaign isn't pushing this video (it's not on her official YouTube page, unlike Obama's speech on his). Still, there's no dispute that it's getting watched, a lot. Even from the time I started this post, the views on several of those clips have jumped noticeably.
This is not good news for Clinton. A trip that she could have legitimately held out as evidence of her engagement in foreign affairs while First Lady has instead become an example of exaggeration and resume-padding that undermines her claims of both experience and integrity. As Ron Fournier wrote today in the AP: "Polls show that voters wonder about Clinton's honesty and authenticity. The Bosnia story plays to that character issue. As former Vice President Al Gore could tell her, once the media and voters start doubting a candidate's integrity, every episode that fits that narrative gets blown out of proportion." In the YouTube era, that gets magnified a millionfold.
I wrote yesterday of the treatment of campaign gaffes by the media, and whether or not all gaffes were treated equal. Fair enough — but this isn't just about airtime or pundit-fodder. Just as people sought out the video of Obama's speech — and made the text version the most-emailed New York Times story of the week — so, too, are they seeking out the video showing the former First Lady and candidate for the Democratic nomination for president in a complete and total falsehood. Whether it was the product of sleep-deprived confusion or ill-intent is now beside the point: It looks terrible. And at least 2 million people on YouTube know it.
How Obama Became President Of YouTube [Silicon Alley Insider]
Ari Melber: Obama's YouTube Speech Tops TV Ratings [HuffPo]