ABC News "Twitterview" of John McCain simply shows how stupid Twitter hysteria has become
One of the biggest things critics like me complain about in news coverage is the way sound bites have shriveled the public discourse -- pushing the 24-hour cable news channels and morning news shows into offering increasingly simple-minded coverage.
It's one problem Jon Stewart exposed in his well-publicized takedown of Jim Cramer and CNBC last week; when you focus on live interviews packaged into neat bursts of dialogue, then there's little opportunity for depth, research or analysis.
Which is why I wasn't really thrilled to hear that This Week host George Stephanopoulos was planning his first "Twitterview" -- interviewing Sen. John McCain by Twitter.
That's because an interview on the micro-blogging site Twitter would limit both questions and answers to 140 characters. Which, in practice, means questions can't be that detailed, answers less so. And you can dodge an uncomfortable question by simply writing an answer to something else.
It's also ironic that McCain, who as a presidential candidate admitted he didn't use e-mail, is now the most popular legislator on Twitter, with more than 220,000 followers, according to the Arizona Republic. His staff admits he doesn't always post his own tweets, but says he controls the content "100 percent."
Here's the transcript below. You can judge for yourself: bold advance in technology or highly hyped waste of time?
SenJohnMcCain hi george im a little slow
SenJohnMcCainHappy St. Patricks day
GStephanopoulos@SenJohnMcCain Happy St Patrick's Day! First things first: How do u tweet -- dictate or type? Blackberry or pc?
SenJohnMcCain@GStephanopoulos Happy St. Patrick's day - slow, sometimes pc somtimes bb
GStephanopoulos@SenJohnMcCain AIG: Would a President McCain break bonus contracts? Obama teams says that would cause more harm than good
SenJohnMcCain@GStephanopoulos i would have never bailed out AIG, the real scandal is billions to foreign banks.
GStephanopoulos@SenJohnMcCain ok, but today: should bonus contracts be broken? Dodd wants a targeted tax on bonuses OK with that?
SenJohnMcCain@GStephanopoulos i haven't seen it but i would explore every option. i repeat, we wouldn't have this problem if we hadn't bailed them out
GStephanopoulos@SenJohnMcCain RIght, but didn't you vote for first TARP, which went to AIG?
SenJohnMcCain@GStephanopoulos i voted for first tarp but that doesn't mean i voted to bail out AIG.
GStephanopoulos@SenJohnMcCain Obama says GOP can't "just say no" on budget Will you offer a full alternative to Obama budget?
SenJohnMcCain@GStephanopoulos I'm working with others on alternatives - cong paul ryan has some great ideas.
SenJohnMcCain@GStephanopoulos to follow up - first AIG bailout was pre-tarp.
GStephanopoulos@SenJohnMcCain Take point on 1st AIG bailout How about budget? Will you offer alternative?
GStephanopoulos@SenJohnMcCain What worries you more: Pakistan or Iran?
SenJohnMcCain@GStephanopoulos both. the challenges are different but both significant.
GStephanopoulos@SenJohMcCain Cheney said on CNN that Obama putting US at risk of new terror attack Agree?
SenJohnMcCain@GStephanopoulos too early to draw that conclusion.
GStephanopoulos@SenJohnMcCain Lots of twitterers want to know: what do you think of Meghans's feud with Coulter and Ingraham?
SenJohnMcCain@GStephanopoulos I'm proud of my daughter and she has a right to her opinions.
GStephanopoulos@SenJohnMcCain Thanks for your time Senator.You're a good sport I know I'm not getting anymore on Coulter and Ingraham Happy St Pat's again
SenJohnMcCain@GStephanopoulos Thanks a lot george, let's do it again soon. now i look forward to reading our followers comments and insults.