September 26, 2006

Clinton v. Wallace is an Online Smash

Clinton vs. Wallace Phone Kiss Pet Update How Could You? Wrestler Kurt Angle
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Bill Clinton’s angry counterattack when “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace asked about his failure to put Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda “out of business” quickly became a major media story. When a former president accuses a journalist of having “that little smirk on your face,” it’s bound to generate attention, and a Google News search of the period from Sept. 22–when word of the taped confrontation began to circulate–to the 25th–the day after it aired–found more than 300 stories with the words “Bill Clinton” and “Chris Wallace.”

But proving that one video clip is worth at least a thousand newspaper clippings, the Wallace-Clinton explosion played out even bigger on one hot Internet site. It was an overwhelming favorite of visitors to YouTube, the wildly popular video-sharing destination. By the afternoon of Sept. 25, two versions of the day-old video dominated the top two spots on You Tube’s most watched list that day. A 10-minute clip generated almost 422,000 views, and a 77-second version attracted about 387,000 views.

Judging by some of YouTube’s other favored fare—which can be accurately described as an eclectic mix—political shouting matches aren’t typical content. Aside from the Clinton contretemps, the most popular videos Sept. 25 featured an actress planting a kiss on a camera phone (241,000 views), scenes of puppies frolicking (85,000), a teenage boy trying to convince an unseen individual to join him in some unspecified activity (this one called “How Could You?” got almost 72,000 views), and a clip promoting pro wrestler Kurt Angle (51,000 views). Still, it isn’t everyday that a finger pointing president can outdo a kissing actress. Whether calculated or not, Clinton’s angry defense of his policies turned Sunday morning’s talk show into Monday morning’s buzz.