MySpace to host online ‘town hall’ US presidential forums

MySpace announced on Thursday that it will host online “town hall” forums at which US presidential candidates will field questions from people watching on the Internet.

MySpace Presidential Town Hall meetings will be held on US college campuses from September through December and broadcast live on the popular social networking website so viewers can instantly message questions.

"This won’t be the stale debate format with one moderator getting canned answers to the same old questions," said MySpace chief executive Chris DeWolfe.

"Our users will have the chance to get direct answers to the questions they want to ask, unfiltered."

The roster of candidates taking part in forums includes Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and Tommy Thompson.

"MySpace is remaking the mold for political interaction online," said MySpace president Tom Anderson.

The announcement comes as MySpace, which is owned by News Corporation in New York City, works to establish itself as a new-age platform for democracy.

MySpace and Mark Burnett plan to ask the US Internet community to pick "the nation’s next great politician" from contenders featured in a television program dubbed "Independent."

Candidates will be culled from those that nominate themselves in videos uploaded to MySpace.

"Independent" candidates will promote their views and cultivate support on MySpace profile pages. Television and Internet viewers will get to vote online or by telephone. One candidate will be eliminated from "Independent" each week.

The television program is tentatively slated to be air from January to May of 2008.

US presidential candidates already have profile pages on MySpace’s politically-themed Impact Channel.

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MySpace to host online ‘town hall’ US presidential forums