Posts about Exploding_TV

Free the debates! Free Joe Biden!

So Joe Biden is flagrantly violating MSNBC’s rules prohibiting internet use of the debate. He’s posting videos of himself and other candidates from the network at YouTube and, in turn, embedding them at his Head to Head virtual debate — which is exactly what MSNBC should be doing and allowing us to do (see my suggestions below). And, by the way, if MSNBC posted the clips on YouTube, they’d do a better technical job of it and their logo wouldn’t be all schmutzig. Will MSNBC go after Biden for stealing his own words and putting them on YouTube for us all to see? Watch this space:

Come on, NBC, do the right thing. Free the debates. Release them for our use under Creative Commons.

I sent email to Steve Capus, president of NBC News, yesterday and have heard nothing back yet. Here’s what I asked:


First, it was a pleasure meeting you on the RTNDA panel.

The reason I put in a call to you yesterday is that I’d like to find out the rationale behind the no-internet restriction on debate video. Clearly and not surprisingly, I have an opinion on this myself:

I’d like to ask:

* Why did NBC News put a no-internet restriction on the debate video? What is the rationale?

* Would NBC News consider Prof. Lawrence Lessig’s call for the networks to make debate video available under an open Creative Commons License?

* I’d be grateful if you’d address the question of whether MSNBC owns this debate or whether it should be the property of the American citizenry in this election.

* Is the company going to demand that the clips that have been put up on video-sharing services be taken down and will it send cease-and-desist notices to bloggers who embed them?

thanks much

I also asked Arianna Huffington what their policy will be with the HuffingtonPost/Yahoo/Slate online debates. She said they are deciding in a meeting on Friday and she’ll let us know immediately. I’m also asking the other networks what their policies will be.

Free the debates! Free the debates! Free the debates!

(Crossposted from PrezVid)

Advice for MSNBC

If MSNBC had any sense, which it doesn’t, it would have taken every one-minute answer from last night’s ping-pong debate and put them up on YouTube themselves. Then, today, we’d be able to watch each one without feeling as if we were trying to count cars on a speeding train. And, more important, we’d be able to comment on them and embed them in our blogs. We’d see which clips are the most popular, the most talked about. We’d get a new sense of what the electorate thinks, which itself would be news. If NBC also made the video files available, we’d see the post-debate commentary not from the same old made-up faces on the networks but from the people who matter, the voters: us. MSNBC would be part of the conversation, in the thick of it, which is exactly where it should want to be. Instead, the network is acting like the bratty and unpopular rich kid who takes him marbles and harumphs home, ruining the game for everyone.

But it’s happening without MSNBC, of course. There are already loads of clips up on YouTube, put there by dastardly copyright thieves, in NBC News’ view, or by engaged voters and viewers, in my view. And as much as I’m busting them for not doing the internet right, I have to believe that even MSNBC won’t have the bad sense to try to pull those clips and send cease-and-desists to the citizens who are sharing moments from our own democratic debate. (Quick, somebody put a leash on that lawyer!)

The net result, though, is that the discussion is happening on YouTube and on blogs but not around MSNBC, thanks to the network’s rules and to the fact that its clips are not linkable or embeddable and are chosen by producers instead of voters. A true case of cutting off the nose.

The side effect is that the clips are on YouTube but they are not on other networksnews sites. So you could have them promoting MSNBC today along with the viewers but because MSNBC insisted on NO internet usage whatsoever, they’ve given up millions of dollars worth of free promotion and branding. Foolish.

It’s not too late to fix this, though. NBC could put the clips up on YouTube right now (later, they could do this on their new embeddable service). And they could announce right now that they will follow Larry Lessig’s advice and release the next, Republican debate under an open Creative Commons license requiring attribution and links back to the networks’ site. They could say they’re doing this in the interests of stimulating the democratic discussion. But the truth is, it’d just be smart business. If they did that, I have no doubt that they’d get more traffic and more attention and out of that, more money. Instead, they’re only engendering the animus of the voters and viewers online.

Just to show solidarity with the YouTube gang of thieves, I’ve embedded clips of the two funniest moments from the debate over at Prezvid.

For shame, NBC News: Stealing the debate

A properly pissed off birdie forwarded me NBC News’ restrictions on tonight’s presidential debates, which are many and lead off with this: “internet use is not permitted.”

I think that’s ridiculous and so I sought to find out why they would do this. I called Joe Alicastro, producer of the debate for MSNBC, who was on site. I asked him why they were restricting use of the material on the internet. He twice didn’t answer and said “that’s our policy.” I said I know that’s their policy. I asked why. He would not answer.

I asked whether he thought the Amerian people had a right to this debate since it is our election. He said that “the American people have ample opportunity to view the debate on MCNBC and two North Carolina stations.”

Shameful. What makes NBC think it has the right to own the democratic discussion in this country?

Alicastro specifically said that we could blog the event — thank you — but could not use video. Hmmm. What do you have to say about that, bloggers? Fellow journalists?

Then Alicastro got pissed off himself and said that I had “not made an appointment for an interview” and “grabbed his cell phone number” (given to me by his colleagues at the company) and then he ended with “byeee” and hung up.

I have put in a call with Steve Capus, head of NBC News, with whom I served on a panel at the Radio Televison News Directors Association last week — where he and we discussed the wonders of the internet and remixing and discussing. I’ll ask Capus the same question: Why?

And let’s repeat Larry Lessig’s call for the parties to insist that the debates be open for use on the internet — but us, the people.

Here, for your amazement, are the myriad restrictions MSNBC put on what they think is their — but is truly our — debate:


(The following rules apply to all media organizations that are not part of NBC)

News organizations, including radio, network television, cable television and local television may use excerpts of “The South Carolina Democratic Candidates Debate” subject to the following restrictions (internet use is not permitted):

1. An unobstructed onscreen credit “MSNBC” must appear during each debate excerpt and remain on screen for the entire excerpt.

2. Each debate excerpt must be introduced with an audio credit to MSNBC.

3. No excerpt may air in any medium until the live debate concludes at 8:30 pm ET.

4. No more than a combined total of 2 minutes of excerpts may be chosen for use during the period from the end of the live debate (8:30 pm ET) until 1:00 am ET on Friday, April 27. After 1:00 am ET, Friday, April 27, a total of 10 minutes may be selected (including any excerpts aired before 1:00AM). The selected excerpts may air as often as desired but the total of excerpts chosen may not exceed the limits outlined.

5. No excerpts may be aired after 8:30 pm on Saturday, May 26th. Excerpts may not be archived. Any further use of excerpts is by express permission of MSNBC only.

6. All debate excerpts must be taped directly from MSNBC’s cablecast or obtained directly from MSNBC and may not be obtained from other sources, such as satellite or other forms of transmission. No portions of the live event not aired by MSNBC may be used.

A feed of MSNBC’s telecast of the debate will be provided (details below), additionally limited audio/video mults will be available on site in the media center.

(Crossposted from Prezvid)

A world without Katies?

BBC Director General says that the era of the anchor “has virtually died out.”. From a Guardian report:

“The simple thing I can point to is that BBC news has changed somewhat over the years and the traditional role of a newsreader as opposed to a correspondent or news presenter has virtually died out across BBC services,” he said. “We tend to use journalists across all our programmes and on News 24 to read the news headlines.”

Now, of course, the British have always had a different attitude toward anchors. They’re merely newsreaders there, not the stars that they are here. But still, this is a major shift.

What would news organizations here do without the star power of the anchor? Perhaps they could make the quality of their reporting the star.

I’m not ready for prime time

Last week, I did an interview for the CBS Evening News about the online civility discussion. It didn’t make it to air (after my Free Speech segment also did not see the light of video, I’m getting a complex). So now it’s an online exclusive, an Eye to Eye segment intro-ed by Katie herself. You can watch it here. Given CBS’ new video-everywhere deals, I think I’ll soon be able to embed such a segment. But now I can only link to it.

The taping of the segment was both funny and emblematic of how big TV works. I did the whole interview looking at the camera in Washington while Daniel Sieberg asked the questions in New York. But after we finished it all, they realized they’d set up the shot wrong — “wrong” being a relative term, relevant to the orthodoxy of old TV. I was looking straight at the camera but Daniel was looking to the side, as if we were in the same room with bookshelves behind each of us. That’s how they often make such interviews. But we were now now in visual sync. So we went through it twice again with him asking me the questions — once with him looking at the camera and once with me looking to the side. Sadly, I didn’t do as well the second or third time around. On the air, they surely would have edited it the “right” way. But when they put it up online, to their credit, they didn’t let that broadcast orthodoxy worry them; they put up the better discussion — my to-the-camera answers with his to-the-side questions — and they let it run more than 1:30 (I start getting tired of even myself at the 5:00 mark).