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AskObama: did Steve Grove choose an unpopular immigration question because of Voto Latino?

Yesterday, Steve Grove of Youtube interviewed Barack Obama with a series of questions that users had submitted through the "Ask Obama" event. The Youtube interview was a scam; see that link for the details and the backstory.

To further drive home just how much of a scam it was, Grove appears to have undercut the implied rules of the competition by choosing an unpopular video as the only question about immigration. However, that video just happens to have been uploaded by an organization that's partnered with Youtube.

According to the implied rules of the competition, Youtube visitors would vote on the most popular questions, and then Youtube would select from those top-voted questions the ones they were going to ask.

Yet, the video they selected only has 17 up votes and 10 down votes, and not only is it very difficult to find, but its popularity is swamped by dozens of other questions [1]. One wonders how Grove picked that particular video out of such a crowded field.

Perhaps a clue comes from the fact that the uploader [2] was Voto Latino, a Washington DC-based organization started by the actress Rosario Dawson. On their Youtube home page (youtube.com/user/votolatino) they include this:

Volunteers called thousands of voters and documented their experiences at the polls through our YouTube partnership Video Your Vote.

And, Grove today references this odd coincidence, retweeting this from VotoLatino:

RT @votolatino We helped get this video up & the President watched it. Thx Mario Lopez & Steve Li: http://fb.me/T7i8fqtj & @grove!
twitter dot com/grove/status/30945241347391488

The link in that tweet leads to this Facebook page containing a screengrab of the video as shown during the AskObama event and a repeat of their claim.

A screengrab of the video in a search for "ice" is attached, as is the video in question. See the first post for the full video.

Please contact @Grove and ask him to explain this odd coincidental discovery of his.

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[1] For instance, I clicked "Next" countless times trying to find it at youtube.com/worldview after choosing "Video questions" and "Sorted by popularity". I gave up, and then searched for phrases I thought would be in the description. The only way I found it was through a search for "ice" (as in Immigrations and Customs Enforcement), and even then I had to click several times. In fact, it's only the 35th video shown for a search for "ice". There are 929 questions in a search for "dream act", and it's not in the first 100. And, there are dozens upon dozens of more popular questions - a few with videos - in the immigration category. The top five questions in the immigration category have between 1723 and 1899 up votes.

[2] Currently, the video is in the "SteveProd" account, but in Google Moderator (see the screengrab), the video is clearly marked as coming from "votolatino, Washington, D.C." and the small icon with the check mark is votolatino's logo. The "SteveProd" account just has that one video; it probably had other videos since the channel has lists total upload views of 44,574 and the only video in the account just has 386 views.

Fri, 01/28/2011 - 15:34 · Importance: 4