It was inevitable. In the Internet age, interest groups seeking influence in Washington are joining presidential candidates in discovering a new electronic tool to press their agenda: YouTube.
“Send your underwear to the undersecretary” urges the actress in the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s stinging 66-second anti-regulatory video posted on YouTube, a free video-sharing site that is a subsidiary of Google. The video blames a 2001 Energy Department rule for an energy-efficiency standard that it says has made new models of washing machines more expensive while getting laundry less clean.
The underwear video illustrates what other advocacy groups are finding out: YouTube is a cheap, creative way to get a message to a potentially vast audience. This slow migration is in addition to more traditional lobbying approaches, such as direct mail, Web sites and scripted phone calls to federal officials.
And now we find out that the Drudge Report has also linked to the story, under the headline “Lobbyists Discover Power of YouTube…” We’re technically not lobbyists, of course, but we’ll take the hits anyway. Here’s the video again, in case you missed it: