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Who Controls the Presidential Debates? Journalists or the Campaigns?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 15 2012

Photo: Don Relyea / Flickr

CNN's Candy Crowley, the moderator of the second presidential debate, which is structured like a "town-hall" meeting, has been saying publicly that she is looking forward to asking follow-ups of the candidates after they respond to questions from the audience, but both campaigns are reportedly pressing the debate commission to keep her from doing so, per their secret agreement governing the debates. Last week, in the course of an interview about how the commission was (or wasn't) making use of the internet's two-way nature, commission co-chair Mike McCurry told techPresident that Crowley would have "full editorial control" including the latitude to include her own follow-up queries. Now, with some details of the actual agreement between the campaigns coming out, he takes that back. Which leaves us asking: who really is in control here, journalists or the campaigns? Read More

Online, Next Presidential Debate Will Feature a Moderator that Wasn't

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 11 2012

If you've submitted a question to the Commission on Presidential Debates via the Google Moderator website for the October 16, don't be surprised when nothing happens. Here's the inside scoop on the latest bit of political vaporware to come from the mysterious place where national political organizations, the media and tech company marketing divisions meet. Read More

Presidential Debates Commission Hasn't Used the Web Well, Co-Chair Admits

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 8 2012

While an estimated 67 million Americans watched the first Obama-Romney presidential debate last week, so far just 2,790 people have bothered to share their views about the top issues facing the country on the online platform that the Commission on Presidential Debates built to enable members of the public to "share their voice." That is to say, "The Voice Of…" internet initiative touted by the CPD as providing "unprecedented access for citizens to participate in [the national] conversation," with the support of AOL, Google and Yahoo!, is essentially a dud. And Mike McCurry, one of the commission's two national co-chairs and a former press secretary to President Clinton, knows it.

"We have a lot more work to do," he told me this morning in an interview. Read More

Yahoo! Unveils Interactive "The Voice Of..." Debate Dashboard

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 2 2012

Screenshot of "The Voice Of..." landing page on Yahoo!

Finally, a day before the first presidential debate, Yahoo! has pulled back the curtain on the Commission on Presidential Debates' "The Voice Of…" online dashboard. It's fun to play with, but scarcely a meaningful way to actually share your voice. Read More

[Editorial] Presidential Debates Commission Keeps the Internet Bottled Up

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 1 2012

Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon during the first televised U.S. presidential debate in 1960.

The American presidential debates are one of the last great institutions of the era of broadcast politics, and arguably the one that has changed the least since the rise of the Internet, despite public demands for greater participation and transparency. With the first head-to-head appearance of President Obama and Governor Romney coming this Wednesday night in Denver, the web is gearing up to join in the conversation. Unfortunately, despite some nice words come out of the Commission on Presidential Debates and the announcement of a "new digital coalition" with AOL, Google and Yahoo! participating, there's no sign that the debates are going to change one iota from their traditional form. Read More

Daily Digest: Call the Plumber, Debate's Still Blocked Up

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, October 16 2008

The Web on the Candidates Across the Spectrum, Calls for Debate Reform: How often do you think MoveOn's Adam Green and conservative firebrand Grover ("drown it in the bathtub") Norquist are of one mind? Trust ... Read More

Clocking Ticking on Replacing "Campaign-Trail Charades" with Useful Debate

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, October 13 2008

Time is running short, my friends. With the final scheduled presidential match-up set to kick off on Wednesday at 9pm ET at Long Island's Hofstra University, Larry Lessig is refocusing the Open Debate Coalition's call ... Read More

Daily Digest: From Field to Felonies to Fine-Tuned Targeting

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, October 9 2008

The Web on the Candidates The Six Million Questions Question: The enormous number was breathtaking: six million people sent in questions through the Internet for Tom Brokaw to pose to John McCain and Barack Obama during ... Read More

Public Submitted Thousands of Debate Questions Online, Not Millions [Updated]

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, October 8 2008

I've twice now registered a note of skepticism that, as has been reported in some high-profile places, the questions submitted by the public through the Internet for last night's town hall presidential debate in ... Read More

Daily Digest: Was Last Night a Waste of 90 Minutes? Debatable

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, October 8 2008

The Web on the Candidates Debates' Commission Masterminds Most Somnolent Event: Last night's presidential "town hall" in Nashville hosted by Tom Brokaw was a bust, suggests Micah Sifry. First things first: the ... Read More