That’s the ticket

I just spoke with ABC News about its upcoming debates and they’re going to include voter videos — and, one-upping CNN, they’re going to enable voters to also have a voice (if not a vote) in what is selected and shown.

Owen Renfro, a producer there, said most of the videos submitted here would be shared with the public, who can then rate and comment on them. Ratings won’t be the sole determinant of what is used, but it will influence ABC News. That’s all I’ve been wanting. The debate won’t be devoted to user video. Renfro said CNN spent a lot to get its YouTube deal. But moderator George Stephanopoulos will use voter videos alongside his own questions in quizzing the candidates. The first of ABC’s debates is with the Republicans in Iowa on Aug. 5.

I learned this because ABC called to ask my permission to use this video question on health insurance — originally sent in and unused from a Hillary Clinton morning town hall. I also submitted this one, which I sent to the YouTube debate, on broadband internet, and this one about whether the winner will stay online when in office.

(Crossposted from Prezvidgo vote for the broadband video.

  • http://lonewacko.com/ TLB

    How generous of them. Unfortunately, allowing people to vote on videos will result in a series of Obama Girls, and allowing the MSM to choose the questions will result in a series of puffballs that won’t make the puffballs they usually ask look as weak as they are.

    I (“My coverage”) already outlined the only way this could work here:

    buzzmachine.com/2007/07/23/their-debate/#comment-355021

    The only way to prevent someone from putting their thumb on the scale is to have those with reputations they want to keep (bloggers, pundits, etc.) rate the videos by their toughness, and make their individual ratings public. If someone lies or ignores a video, they can be called out.

    The email attached to this comment works if JJ wants to arrange a small amount of funding for me to put such a site together.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Your facts are wrong in the broadband Internet question. Which raises an interesting question about citizen questions in general: if the debate questions are mainly coming from naive citizens, isn’t this effectively the same thing as letting Michael Moore do all the talking?

    The opinions of amateurs are mainly shaped by professional propagandists, after all. We certainly see that in anything related to the Internet, such as broadband deployment, net neutrality, etc.

  • http://www.focusedperformance.com/unfocused.html frank patrick

    The trick to this VGQ (voter-generated question) thing is to find questions that can’t be force-fit into and answered with the pre-washed, pre-shrunk scripted answers that candidates rely on so they don’t have to think.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Politicians love these video questions, because there’s no follow-up if they choose to give an evasive answer. The non-interactive medium which is YouTube is tailor made for sleazy politicians, and they should be embracing it like mad.

    Instead of the kind of dogged, well-informed questioning that they should face from people like Jeremy Paxman, in the absence of real back-and-forth debate they get a bunch of canned pablum from a computer. Perfect.

    Whose side are you on Jarvis?

  • http://videopancakes.com mary

    The key might be to skip playing the video questions entirely and just have people submit questions via video. The folks with questions picked for debate will be in the audience and ask them directly… follow up questions too. Seems easy enough, right? Yeah, right ;/

  • http://www.yoosk.co.uk keith halstead

    To Richard – yes, politicians probably would prefer not to have to answer follow up questions but surely that isnt reason enough to abandon what is a revolution in giving ordinary people access to the people in power? Our task is to find a better way of submitting questions, for example allowing them to be voted on so we can measure just how much public interest there is in getting them answered and perhaps having an experienced journalist there too to deal with the follow ups, if it looks like the politicians are giving lame answers.

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