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Facebook and NBC To Co-Host a Republican Primary Debate

BY Nick Judd | Monday, July 18 2011

NBC News and Facebook will co-host a Republican presidential debate in advance of the New Hampshire Republican primary in 2012, Meet the Press moderator David Gregory announced in a video on the Meet the Press Facebook page.

"This campaign cycle the rules have changed," Gregory began, explaining that the New Hampshire debate will integrate viewers through social media "like never before." The Meet the Press Facebook page now has a widget up to accept comments with the prompt, "what are your ideas for the debate?"

This is an oft-repeated catchphrase. Attempts by others to integrate social media and the wisdom of the crowd into debates for the presidential primaries have been less than stellar before — either social media integration was apparently a passing thought, or the interface was broken and engagement was low, or the format for picking the questions to ask did not appear to respect the topics that the questioners wanted addressed for any of a number of reasons. That said, it isn't as if there's someone out there who has really figured out how to tap the Internet's potential to become the great agora of democratic society, and that person is just getting ignored. These are all make-it-up-as-you-go-along kinds of issues, for better or worse.

The event will be on 9 a.m. the Sunday before the New Hampshire primary, which should be in early February but for which there doesn't seem to be an official date yet. Facebook and NBC News have not announced any details about what they're actually going to do with the questions and comments they receive, so for now, people who go to the Meet the Press page are talking to a black box.

(See also The New York Times)

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