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Fox News/Google Team Up for GOP Debate; Also, Paint Dries on Walls

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 21 2011

Tomorrow, Thursday September 22nd, the internet will play a supporting role in the latest Republican presidential "debate," as Fox News's reporters will be asking some questions submitted by the public via YouTube. As I've written earlier, there isn't much about the process of submitting and selecting questions for this "debate" that is genuinely breaking the mold or opening up the debates to real civic engagement, but it should be interesting to watch nonetheless. Close to 800 questions were submitted.

In this preview video, YouTube political director Steve Grove offers a few more details on Google's role--viewers will get to see how some topics trend in search, as well as the popularity of some very general subjects and the locations where questions came from. Apparently, Batesville, Arkansas has generated more questions than anywhere else. Go figure.

Count me among the pre-disappointed; this all sounds more like an exercise in product placement for Google ("look, search trends show that 'jobs' is a hot topic in Podunkia!") than anything else. Grove says that he'll be at the debate, posting on and sharing real-time feedback from viewers, though it's still unclear how exactly that feedback is going to be collected.