Over the weekend Rep. Todd Akin, the GOP Senate nominee from Missouri, explained his stance on abortion in the case of rape in a TV interview saying, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” This week he’s eating his words, as Democrats and Republicans alike are attacking him on all social fronts from Twitter to Facebook and YouTube. Today, an apology video hit Akin’s YouTube channel…but comments have been disabled.
The video, Forgiveness, a broadcast commercial in which Akin says, “Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words in the wrong way, and for that I apologize.” He explains that, “The mistake was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness.”
‘Forgiveness’ is the only one of the twenty videos on Akin’s YouTube channel that has comments disabled. It’s also the only video on his channel that has stirred up or been the result of major controversy. I imagine that Akin’s campaign managers thought negativity down below might take away from the sincerity of his apology, which is the likely reason that commenting has been disabled. And Akin isn’t the first politician to disable comments to avoid the onslaught of comments from the opposition (i.e. Rick Perry’s infamous ‘Strong’ ad).
That being said, I can’t help but believe that disabling comments somehow makes the apology a little less credible and a little less…”legitimate.” The apology may be designed as a one-way broadcast commercial, but YouTube goes two ways and Akin is ignoring that fact.
In a ReelSEO post on Rick Perry’s Viral Video Disaster, Grant Crowell writes, “Too many politicians treat YouTube and social media channels as a one-way broadcasting venue. It’s understood that you may receive a good amount of people who are politically opposed to you and may choose to express themselves with vulgar language or even false statements, but it makes much more sense to moderate those comments with a social community manager than to just attempt to silence everyone.”
YouTube is more than just a place to post videos—it’s a place for conversation about those videos. People are still going to discuss ‘Forgiveness’ on Twitter, Facebook, and beyond, so why censor the discussion on YouTube? What do you think about Akin’s ad, and the fact that he’s disabled commenting? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.