May 4, 2007 -- In the new digital media age, damning political videos can have an immediate impact on campaign 2.0, thanks largely to the availability and immediacy of YouTube.
The popular video-sharing Web site first debuted "Hillary 1984," which compared Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. to a Orwellian dictator, then-Sen. George Allen's career-altering "macaca" moment and the "I Feel Pretty" video that chided former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards' good looks.
But YouTube, which is owned by Google, has also been a favorite target of conservatives, who accuse the site of a liberal bias.
Banned from YouTube?
"The 2008 campaign will be dominated by video and in particular by user-generated video," says QubeTV founder Charlie Gerow, a former aide in the Ronald Reagan White House.
"There are a vast array of young conservative activists and operatives out there armed with cell phones or hand-helds that are going to capture the next 'macaca' moment or John Kerry bad joke and put them on Qube TV," says Gerow, whose Pennsylvania strategic media firm, Quantum Communications, created the Web site.
Gerow insists YouTube banned a video by conservative blogger Michelle Malkin about radical Islamists.
Responding to that incident, a statement on the Web site reads: "We fly the conservative flag here at QubeTV, and we will not be about banning or deleting conservatives."
YouTube takes issue with Gerow's assertion that the site is banning conservative content.
"That's flat out incorrect," says a spokesman for YouTube, who asked not to be identified by name.
A statement provided to ABC News by YouTube elaborated: "Our site provides an equal opportunity for both sides of the political spectrum and embraces voter interaction with the candidates with no regard to party affiliation."
YouTube says its users, not YouTube employees, police the site. However, if users flag inappropriate content, YouTube managers review it and remove the offending video from the site.
Conservatives Post to QubeTV
Though the new site lacks the bells and whistles YouTube boasts, some GOP presidential candidates have already contributed video.
Users can click on video of Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., explaining why President Bush's tax cuts should be made permanent.
On another posting, a user named "gnewman" created a video of politically connected conservatives promoting the site.
The promotional video includes Republican heavyweights such as Mary Matalin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., looking into the camera and reciting "QubeTV".
On the same video, Charmaine Yoest of the Family Research Council adds, "We're very excited to partner with you and looking forward to promoting the vast right-wing conspiracy on the Web."
YouTube Bias Doubted
Nonethless, most Internet watchers dismiss the idea that YouTube is inherently biased.
"There's no sort of obvious partisan tilt of the whole technology," says Lee Rainie, founding director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
"It's democratic -- small "d" -- in the grandest sense of that term and anybody whose motivated, or who has an idea or anybody whose got media or something to say can throw up a Web site and put it online," he says.
But YouTube isn't the only site raising the ire of some conservatives.
Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales' Internet encyclopedia, also has some conservative competition on the Web. Conservapedia.com was founded in November 2006 by Andrew Schlafly, son of conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly.
A statement on the Web site reads: "It's time for the conservatives to get our voice out on the Internet!"
On Conservapedia, a search for "global warming" yields a definition that states, in part: "The scientific theory is widely but not universally accepted within the scientific community."
On Wikipedia, that same search yields a definition of global warming: "The observed increase in the average temperature of Earth's near surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation."
The difference in approach -- a classic "wiki-war" -- is not uncommon, and Rainie suggests that the conservative alternatives are natural outgrowths of the Internet.
"The Internet is all about niches," says Rainie. "It makes perfect sense for all kinds of groups that are organized by partisan belief and passion to create their own channels."