Assessing The Obama Online Town Hall Meeting

I've been critical of the White House New Media office before, but I think they deserve kudos today for instigating and executing the President's first online town hall meeting.  (Macon Phillips, the new media director, and Jesse Lee, the online programs director, spent a long time putting this together.)    One -- the White House says that Obama wasn't briefed about the questions in advance.  Two -- several questions weren't softballs. Three -- the White House web servers had enough bandwith to accomodate the demand. (To test them, I pulled it up simultaneously on several computers without a program.)  To the extent that the new media operation got off to a slow start -- not really their fault, for a variety of legal, structural and economic reasons, this event will go a long away toward building that team some institutional credibility within the White House.  An administration offficial said that approximately 64,000 people tuned in -- not a huge amount, to be sure, but the multiplier effect of news coverage will expand the audience.  MSNBC and Fox News broadcast part of it; CNN is sticking through the whole thing.