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NBC Believes They Own Political Discourse

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the they-the-people dept.

Television 259

PoliSciASU writes "MSNBC has established draconian rules regarding the use of the Presidential Primary Debates on the internet. Some examples: '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.' Kevin Bondelli talks about why this is 'shameful and wrong'. Voters are missing out on the ability to actually have an engaged conversation about the candidates and their debate performances because of NBC's greed." Alexander Wolfe at InformationWeek and Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine share similar sentiments, and discuss the matter in different ways.

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Ambiguous... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18909909)

Am I the only one who thought that the title was written in Ebonics?

Fair Use (1, Interesting)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 7 years ago | (#18909923)

Remember kids, A href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use>Fair Use!

Re:Fair Use (5, Funny)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 7 years ago | (#18909935)

Remember kids, Preview!

Grrr. Fair Use! [wikipedia.org]

Re:Fair Use (2, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911107)

I don't think the (rather limited) fair use exemptions are the right answer in this case. Instead, the entire contents of the debate should be public domain. There are any number of universities that would be happy to hold a presidential debate without these restrictions, and I'm sure the press would still cover these debates.

For comparison, I see no draconian restrictions on the Congressional Record [gpoaccess.gov] .

Who is it going to be? (2, Insightful)

lessthan (977374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910035)

Who is going to do the dirty work? There is still an audience. One video camera will render this nonsense moot. Personally, I would prefer the complete video that a private citizen would most likely post opposed to the "talking points" the media would feed us.

Re:Who is it going to be? (1, Troll)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910647)

Why are you assuming that the debates are public events? They are not.

Re:Who is it going to be? (1)

lessthan (977374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910801)

Sry, thought it was the presidential election debate.

Re:Who is it going to be? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910869)

Those aren't public events either. My point was more that your solution requires going through a couple of steps before you show up with a video camera(like getting candidates to only show up to publicly sponsored debates with more democratic media rules and stuff like that).

Re:Who is it going to be? (4, Insightful)

StarkRG (888216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910909)

You're right, they're no more public events than sporting events, for which rebroadcast is strictly controlled.

At the same time, though, they really should be. The whole election process should be a public event. We should, if we wanted to, be able to look at exactly what's going on. We should know exactly who contributed to whom, we should have access to every recorded public appearances made by the candidates (political or otherwise, even if they're just sitting idly behind someone else making a speech). We should be able to know exactly who is involved with the ballots, who the people at the polling booths are, who they hand the ballot boxes to, where they go, who counts them, etc. We should definitely know what's going on inside the electronic voting machines.

What I want to know is not why all these things are being closed off, that's pretty obvious, people in power want to retain that power, they have a much easier time of it if people weren't watching their every move. No, what I want to know is why people aren't as outraged as they should be. Why has political dissent become labeled as "Anti-American"? Isn't that just about the most American thing you can do? Isn't that one of the founding principles? Isn't that how this country came to be in the first place? Why is it that people will get up and yell at their TVs when so-and-so is voted off the island or team A scores a touchdown but when they hear that yet another of our rights has been taken away all we hear is "sure, if it keeps us safe!" Are these people really willing to live in a police state with armed troops driving tanks down the street with orders to shoot anyone not wearing the proper clothes or out after curfew just so that they might be a little bit safer? Why is it that people will complain that things should be done about all this but aren't willing to get up and start it? (this particular one I'm currently guilty of)

What happened to us? Did they put something in the water supplies that make us more docile? Is it subliminal messaging on TVs? Perhaps it's the 60Hz AC that permeates the country? Maybe HAARP really does work and they've pointed it at us. I don't know what it is, but there's got to be some common link here, it can't be that we've all suddenly and independently lost interest in everything worthwhile.

Re:Who is it going to be? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910993)

Transparency is preferable, but it shouldn't be overwhelmingly important to anybody that believes in democracy, as that belief is(or perhaps, should be), rooted in the idea that people are mostly honest(or why would you care what they think?). So transparency simplifies dealing with the bad apples, but it shouldn't be necessary to actually make things work(if that is a worthwhile task...).

My current thinking is that the problem is rooted in people refusing to acknowledge that sometimes the thing that is best for everybody is not the thing that is best for them and voting like it. I'm pretty sure our current system is good enough to capture the will of the people, and we get what we ask for. This is obviously rank cynicism, but I'm pretty sure that socialism is just an attempt to shine the proverbial proletariat turd, so don't ask me to look for answers.

first post? (1, Funny)

N3wsByt3 (758224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18909927)

No first posts may be posted after 8:30 pm on Saturday, April 28th. Excerpts may not be archived. Any further use of excerpts is by express permission of Slashdotmember n3wsbyt3 only.

Greed? (4, Insightful)

Phroggy (441) | more than 7 years ago | (#18909933)

Voters are missing out on the ability to actually have an engaged conversation about the candidates and their debate performances because of NBC's greed.
NBC's greed? I'd be surprised if it weren't the candidates (or their campaign managers) who pushed for this. This isn't about money, it's about control.

Re:Greed? (1, Interesting)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 7 years ago | (#18909941)

Control and greed go hand in hand. With money comes power. With power comes money. It's no wonder dubya is the president there - with idiot greedy rules like these being proposed. If it's too expensive to broadcast political debates then nobody will bother. The public go on even more blissfully unaware than they were before, and what's worse; most of them don't care!

Dubya is NBC's President? (2, Funny)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910069)

Who is this "dubya" you say is president of NBC?

Is he related to FUD-ya?

Microsoft AND NBC (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18909983)

From Wikipedia..

MSNBC, a combination of Microsoft and NBC, is a 24-hour cable news channel in the United States and Canada, and a news website.

The news media is just a citizen manipulation tool (2, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18909989)

The media is very well controlled to feed the citzens what they need to know to make the right choices. WMD etc, faked footage in Iraq etc, Jessica Lynch etc, now this. Are you really suprised?

I once lived in a country with a very muzzled press, but everybody knew this and was suitably skeptical.

In the USA people live under the illusion of a free and open press which means that they believe the news media. How easily they are fooled!

Re:The news media is just a citizen manipulation t (4, Insightful)

feepness (543479) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910105)

Somehow they also believe that a system where one of two groups has controlled the government for the last 150 years is an open multi-party system.

It's ironic this incenses people so... these are debates between candidates already vetted by those in control. The powers that be don't care which one gets elected... they own them all!

Re:The news media is just a citizen manipulation t (4, Interesting)

nadaou (535365) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910473)

The powers that be don't care which one gets elected... they own them all!

I've often heard the "it doesn't matter which major party I vote for, they're the same" line. Baloney and Fiddlesticks! Just a weak rationalization from those too lazy to exercise their responsibilities as citizens I say.

Do people honestly think that Life on Earth would be the same right now if we had seen a President Gore or President Kerry? Personally I won't give Rupert Murdoch and his fellow corporate media illuminati club that much fnord credit.

"They" care who gets elected as it touches their bottom line in a real way when, say, the governement tells you that you have to, in one case, clean up your residential toxic waste dump, or in the other case it looks the other way by (the illegal) non-enforcement of laws already on the books.

Re:The news media is just a citizen manipulation t (1)

dfgchgfxrjtdhgh.jjhv (951946) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910763)

'Do people honestly think that Life on Earth would be the same right now if we had seen a President Gore or President Kerry?'

YES. especially if it was president kerry.

what major differences do you think there would've been?

Re:The news media is just a citizen manipulation t (3, Interesting)

Manchot (847225) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911347)

Well, the most obvious one that comes to mind is that if Gore had won, a) we wouldn't be in Iraq and b) we'd still have standing in the international community.

Re:The news media is just a citizen manipulation t (5, Insightful)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911379)

The Bush Administration has been one of the best examples (in a bad way) against the arguments of people like you who insist that all politicans "are the same" and it doesn't matter who gets to be in charge.

Off the top of my head, a few examples of major things that would've been different if Bush hadn't become U.S. President:
  1. We wouldn't be in Iraq (probably still in Afghanistan though). The troops would have had a CinC that had actually seen combat in Vietnam (and would supposedly eager to avoid making the same mistakes).
  2. The federal budget would've been a helluva lot more balanced (especially if the Congress had remained in Republican hands).
  3. The U.S. government wouldn't be regarded with contempt by most of the rest of the world, including many of our "allies".
  4. There probably wouldn't have been such a big emphasis on torture & "extraordinary rendition" as part of our response to 9/11 (see #3 for partial results of that).
  5. The Supreme Court wouldn't have had a couple more big-business apologist, social-moral-enforcing, excuses for jurists.
  6. The various federal agencies wouldn't have been populated with a bunch of incompetent neocon political tools.
I'm sure even YOU could think of a couple others if you're willing to put some thought into it rather than a stupid knee-jerk "they're all the same!" response.

Kerry could have just stayed in the White House & picked his nose for his entire term, and the country would've been better off than it is now.

Re:The news media is just a citizen manipulation t (2, Interesting)

I_Voter (987579) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911103)

I've often heard the "it doesn't matter which major party I vote for, they're the same" line. Baloney and Fiddlesticks! Just a weak rationalization from those too lazy to exercise their responsibilities as citizens I say.

However, would you agree with the following sentence?

Although the pile of democratic nations has been growing, when the ability of U.S. voters to influence their government is considered,- the U.S. voter is close to the bottom of that pile!

Re:The news media is just a citizen manipulation t (1)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911183)

It really doesn't matter if you vote Republican or Democrat. It's like voting for one communist party or another. The only vote that matters are the votes that aren't for either a Republican or Democrat.

Re:The news media is just a citizen manipulation t (1)

LS (57954) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910511)

The wonderful thing is that many people now realize this. 6 years ago you would have been lumped in with the tin-foil hat conspiracy nut crowd

Those in control (1)

Etherwalk (681268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910953)

"Those in Control" is basically an old-boy network in each party, which is influenced (in each case) by legal (and sometimes illegal) bribery. The members of this network also have some (limited, almost by definition) independent will of their own.

Also, I think they wouldn't like it if Mike Gravel got in, and he was on the stage... probably just allowed up there because he's a maverick they figure can never win, though. (Which he knows, of course.)

third parties (5, Interesting)

ChristTrekker (91442) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911123)

If you're not voting third party, you're wasting your vote.

If you don't vote what you believe, you'll never get what you want.

The people elect the government they deserve.

Two options is only one more than they had in the Soviet Union.

Every November the same party wins: the Politician Party.

A vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil.

It amazes me that for all the talk of reform and eliminating corruption in government, no one ever addresses the fundamental issue: lack of choices, which is caused directly by our (plurality) voting method. Give non-Dem/Rep voices a fair and equal chance to discuss and promote the merits of their platform instead of dismissing them outright. This means changing the voting system to something that doesn't predetermine the "leading two". Anything other than this is a charade. A previous poster had it right - "they" don't care who wins, because it's still one of "them". The real danger (in "their" minds) is if an outsider were to get in and shake things up. Yes, the past 6 years have really demonstrated the truth in "not a dime's worth of difference". Who'd've thought that a member of the "party of Reagan" would preside over the largest budget increase in history? Both parties want bigger government, so they can curtail your rights - whether they grab them from the left or the right makes no difference in the end.

Re:The news media is just a citizen manipulation t (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910183)

How easily they are fooled!

Shhh! Don't tell them that. They get really mad [slashdot.org] . (You had to be there). Basically it boils down to people not liking to be told they were robbed. It makes them feel dumb. So then they get all defensive and stuff and...well, you know.

Anyway let's hope enough people raise their voices sufficiently to be heard by these folks. There's still time.

Re:The news media is just a citizen manipulation t (1)

I_Voter (987579) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911225)

A Glorious Tradition

In 1735, jury nullification decided the celebrated seditious libel trial of John Peter Zenger. His newspaper had openly criticized the royal governor of New York. The current law made it a crime to publish any statement (true or false) criticizing public officials, laws or the government in general. The jury was only to decide if the material in question had been published; the judge was to decide if the material was in violation of the statute.

A Slight Modification

A U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1895 declared (in legal principle) that those jurors were criminals! The acceptance (in principle) of the immunity of a seated jury limited the full impact of decision, however California has allowed judges to enter jury rooms to evaluate if the jury is reasoning properly under certain special situations. This subject is explored more fully in the book, JURY NULLIFICATION: The Evolution of a Doctrine , pub 1998, by Carolina Academic Press, Author: Clay S. Conrad

Re:The news media is just a citizen manipulation t (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911289)

And you wonder why political weblogs on both the Left and Right have exploded in popularity. Everybody has a major mistrust of the old-time mass media because at Internet speeds, information can spread around the world in a matter of minutes. Look at how weblogs exposed CBS News' sham attempt to show President Bush didn't do his duty at the Texas Air National Guard in no time flat.

Re:Greed? (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910395)

It's both, of course.

Re:Greed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18910569)

Its probably about the campaign laws; for each regulated media, present each candidate equal amount.

Fox (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910925)

Stifling the free distribution of information, depriving the public of debate...anything to avoid debating on Fox News.

Take Charge and stop your whining. (1)

turkeyfish (950384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911325)

The answer to this is not attempting to modify MSNBC's behavior from being yet another corporation that only thinks of profits, which is of course probably true, but rather simply to make it clear that you will not vote for anyone who would willingly allow the American political discourse to be "owned" by anyone. Require that your candidates will only receive your votes if they do not participate in an event in which the "message" is controlled. Make the candidates complicity in rigged events an issue. Another approach is to test the boundaries of exactly what it is MSNBC paid for to permit them to claim that "other sources" (presumably video) at the event can be used. Did they pay the University for exclusive use of the hall? Did the administrator actually have the rights to grant exclusive access on state property, etc? Let MSNBC tarnish its public image (if that is possible) by going after you in court. Investigate and expose the complicity; enlighten your fellow citizens.

Better yet start a grass roots video campaign to cover the candidates independent of corporate media that can appear on YouTube or other such alternative media (as I recall someone had a Makaka moment over this kind of coverage) and put control back into the hands of the American people (although don't jump to the conclusion they would be wise enough to know what to do with it eg. "Mistakes were made!" [picture Bush voters with heads bowed in shame here]). It might just displace "American Idol" and "Dancing with the Stars" for public attention. You could even restrict rights by corporations to the material without payment for use that could be used to support the effort.

The general topic is worthy of discussion. Just how far are candidates willing to go to prostrate themselves before the media overlords? Just how far will the overall media circus atmosphere evolve toward full media ownership as Ruppert Murdoch proposed.

I blame the Irish (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18909961)

A filthy Irishman was so drunk he beat *my* wife and kids!

I tried to stop him, but he was a policeman.

someone gotta say it... (5, Insightful)

VON-MAN (621853) | more than 7 years ago | (#18909979)

Well, they've paid for it so it is not too unreasonable. Besides, I thought big business allready owned US politics.

Mod parent up (1)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910365)

If I had mod points...

F*cking MSNBC... (-1, Offtopic)

speedfreak_5 (546044) | more than 7 years ago | (#18909981)

Seriously, that's some bullshit stips they have there.

**WARNING: I am under the influence of alcohol at the moment, so if this doesn't make sense, f*ck it.**

The only times I watch MSNBC is when Keith Olbermann is on (which doesn't happen often since I don't have cable) or if i'm sleeping somewhere else other than my apartment and I want to pass out. MSNBC is going to find out the hard way that they can't control political exhibitions in this manner. They should be glad that they got to plaster their name all over the backgrounds of the videos that everyone uses, no matter what station they broadcast on or what website they show videos on. Everyone will see MSNBC. They should not even be allowed to have rules like that on something that should be freely accessible to EVERYONE since many of us live in this country.

Message to MSNBC: You're treading on thin ice with this shit. Play nice, please. Piss the citizens (who give a damn about this stuff) off and you will know about it.

Peace.

Re:F*cking MSNBC... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18910131)

**WARNING: I am under the influence of alcohol at the moment, so if this doesn't make sense, f*ck it.**

It's a geek website, on a Saturday night. Join the fucking club.

Sincerely,

Also fucked up

Re:F*cking MSNBC... (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910903)

Pfft. It's Saturday morning here in THE REAL WORLD! Oh, crap. Sorry, went into Southern-American mode there for a moment..

And... (1)

axia777 (1060818) | more than 7 years ago | (#18909985)

So wont watch. Up yours MSNBC. They can go stuff it where the sun don't shine. Then I will look for it on YouTube!!!! LOLZ!!!!

Adaptation of existing contractual usage rights... (4, Insightful)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 7 years ago | (#18909993)

Adaptation of existing contractual usage rights...

Not here to defend NBC or MSNBC; however, if you look at the industry standard wording for usage of their content is exactly this.

This applies to CNN using content from the debate to any Radio show across america. The exception here is that this debate was not on free air waves, so they are using industry standard usage right sharing policies.

Yes they need to update with the times of Internet and people sharing media, but out of ALL the major news outlets NBC and MSNBC have been some of the most liberal about usage on places from Youtube to grandma's website.

Even Olbermann himself said in the segment prior to the debate that the internet would create the winners and losers of the debate if anything major happened, as it would be shared and up on sites like YouTube before the night was out. So do you really think MSNBC doesn't get it?

Ya, the wording isn't ideal, but if this was a 'major' issue with MSNBC, they would have had places like YouTube yank Olbermann and other shows a long time ago, and they just haven't.

I know we like to get excited about things like this here, but I see smoke not fire.

unencrypted satellite feeds *are* "free air waves" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18911223)

Notice that they are trying to claim the right to prohibit *any* use of material from the unencrypted satellite feeds they transmit this over. There is no essential difference between that and if they had said you can use clips from MSNBC but not from an NBC affiliate station and that's definately a new claim.

What is this crap in American Idol's timeslot? (3, Funny)

KiraFace (987099) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910013)

Who cares? Politics is for the Elderly, white middle-aged middle-class, and twelve other people. And then half of them vote. Although, perhaps we shouldn't blame the media...

Re:What is this crap in American Idol's timeslot? (2, Interesting)

mackyrae (999347) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910185)

Apathetic wankers like you are the reason this country's going to Hell in a handbasket. Votes matter. If you think there is anything wrong with this country but you did not vote you CANNOT complain. You had the chance to do something about it, but you didn't. Voting is not just for old people. Everyone capable of making an informed decision should vote. Check out a voter guide, decide with which candidate you agree the most, and take 10 minutes out of your lunch hour to vote in primaries and general elections. It's really not that difficult. People who can vote but don't suck. Hell, my roommate knew the election in her state was going to be close, but by election day her absentee ballot hadn't shown up. She caught a train home so she could vote.

Re:What is this crap in American Idol's timeslot? (1)

zsau (266209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910723)

It's apathetic wankers that like him that mean Australia has compulsory voting. Voting is civil duty just the same as jury duty. Go fulfil it. It won't kill you, but it just might save you.

Re:What is this crap in American Idol's timeslot? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18910759)

Votes matter.

Bullshit. Votes matter if you live in a swing state and are completely worthless if you don't.

I live in a "blue" state (that's a Democratic-party dominated state for non-US readers). Last election I didn't vote for either Kerry or Bush (but I did vote). Didn't make a bit of difference - state went something like 90% for Kerry.

Thanks to "winner takes all" my vote was essentially thrown out and changed to Kerry since that's what the majority of my state voted for.

If you want votes to matter, you need to get rid of the electoral college.

Until it's gone, votes only matter if you live in a swing state. Otherwise you're just wasting your time.

Re:What is this crap in American Idol's timeslot? (1)

zeroduck (691015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911069)

Everybody should just stop voting. They're all wasting their time.

Yeah, thats going to work out well.

Re:What is this crap in American Idol's timeslot? (2, Insightful)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911129)

I guess your state doesn't have a legislature?

Re:What is this crap in American Idol's timeslot? (1)

dfgchgfxrjtdhgh.jjhv (951946) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910785)

but who is he supposed to vote for? and what changes would they make?

Re:What is this crap in American Idol's timeslot? (1)

ferd_farkle (208662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910845)

Perhaps mackyrae should have used silvery or brassy. Apparently, irony doesn't work.

Voters are missing out on the ability to... (2, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910021)

Are the voters are missing out on the ability to demand that the candidates not accept this? You have almost a month to be heard, and felt if you watch where you spend your money.

These debates are a waste of space now anyway (5, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910033)

I used to think these televised debates were a good idea until I watched the debates between Gore and Bush. For anyone watching the first debate it was blatently obvious that Bush was totally and utterly out of his depth and could not possibly be considered a credible candidate. Gore was devoid of charisma but was at least informed and coherent. Yet by the time the third debate came round the much of media had managed to portray Bush's lack of awareness and knowledge as a good thing(tm) because he was 'trying' and that Gore was a pompous arrogant know it all because he happened to be properly informed with facts and figures and could substantiate his responses. Utterly astonishing. It seems the debates themselves are irrelevant now and its the media circus that follows them that matters.

Re:These debates are a waste of space now anyway (2, Informative)

jellie (949898) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910085)

I don't remember the debates in 2000 but do remember that the same thing happened in 2004. One person tried to substantiate his arguments with facts, and the other looked like a moron: "Got wood?" and "He forgot Poland" were some of the dumbest statements to come out of a presidential debate. Somehow the media called it even and barely dissected (or remembered) any of the arguments that were presented by either side.

I also think it's also the media's responsibility (as well as that of the citizens) to ask serious questions and to hold the politicions responsible.

Re:These debates are a waste of space now anyway (1, Informative)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910321)

I also think it's also the media's responsibility (as well as that of the citizens) to ask serious questions and to hold the politicions responsible.
Unfortunately many Americans believe that to do this is to not support your troops and is unAmerican.

Re:These debates are a waste of space now anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18911319)

I also think it's also the media's responsibility (as well as that of the citizens) to ask serious questions and to hold the politicions responsible.
Unfortunately many Americans believe that to do this is to not support your troops and is unAmerican.
Don't forget: God told them to vote for Bush...

Re:These debates are a waste of space now anyway (4, Funny)

louisadkins (963165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910095)

Even better was listening to it on the radio. With no visual tricks, you could hear Bush's IQ rating drop every time he opened his mouth, and Gore came across much less flat. I plan on listening to any future debates. Last time, we played a Looney Tunes tape, no sound, in the background. Amusing was the episode (Duck Dodgers) where every time Bush spoke there was a silent, ranting, Daffy...

Re:These debates are a waste of space now anyway (1)

saforrest (184929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910231)

Yet by the time the third debate came round the much of media had managed to portray Bush's lack of awareness and knowledge as a good thing(tm) because he was 'trying'

Good lord, yes. 2000 was my first time watching an American presidential election, and it was incredible. I remember at the time of the second debate hearing commentators from multiple networks (none of them Fox, we don't get that on Canadian cable) talking about how much he had improved because he could pronounce foreign names better! It was... just incredible to hear that.

The whole thing was very well satirized in the Saturday Night Live sketches of the day, where Bush (played by Will Ferrell) spontaneously recites the entire cabinet of Nigeria.

Re:These debates are a waste of space now anyway (1)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910259)

Televised debates have always been fluff and a circus. The issue is picking a responsible leader, not a TV personality or press secretary. Snippy comments and short sound bites don't have anything to do with the real qualities a real leader needs.

Re:These debates are a waste of space now anyway (2, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910319)

So do you still give the media that were a part of this media circus you're attention and money? If so you gave them absolutely no reason to change their tactics. If not, then I salute you.

Re:These debates are a waste of space now anyway (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910433)

I'm not American so their media don't get my money, but I do check out fox news when I want a giggle at their flag waving reality distortion.

Unfortunately the influence of the media by biased commentators on US politics is quite disturbing. I was one of the few Europeans I know who were confident Bush would get a second term because large portions of his first term were spent fundraising for a massive media campaign for his second. His re-election frankly shocked many Europeans and caused concern as to whether the US was actually a functioning democracy and why they persist with what is generally considered here to be an inappropriate system for a modern electorate. But it's their system so its up to the US electorate to inform themselves and ensure their will is correctly represented.

Re:These debates are a waste of space now anyway (1)

Sodade (650466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911033)

Bush's lack of intelligence is probably feigned in order to win the votes of the large number of people in this country who despise intelligence. Most of them do so because they are religious and education tends to illuminate how silly religion is.

I'm starting to think Godwin was too specific (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18911153)

It seems like every debate about effectively everything on Slashdot eventually becomes 'religion=the suxor'. Now, I'm a lapsed Catholic, so I suppose I'm not the best person to be defending religion, but it still seems odd that religion-bashing has become a more common tactic than Hitler-comparing.

Anti-christian backlash (1)

Sodade (650466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911339)

Don't you think that we need more anti-christian (and religion in general) backlash? I sure do. Religion is a big reason we have Bush. The hypocracy of american Christians is mindblowing.

How is this MSNBC's greed? (4, Insightful)

JavaRob (28971) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910043)

It's not as if they just walked in, set up cameras, and said "we'll be running these debates -- everyone else out NOW!!"

If they have this extreme level of control that basically means they *paid* for it, somehow, and outbid everyone else.

Or did they just ask all the candidates nicely?

Personally, I think this should be illegal. The output of our political process should be public domain immediately. Tax payers are paying the salaries already of most of these candidates, and funding the rest of the election process. If MSNBC wants to pay the costs of running the debates -- hey, sure, let them put their logo on the podiums or whatever, but the content of the debates themselves should not be permitted to be sold.

Pre-election debates are one of the single best ways for the public to actually get a sense of who they'll be voting for... they aren't perfect, but we at least get some back and forth, and some of the more difficult questions get raised.

I don't know much about how the debates are set up currently, but this just isn't working.

Re:How is this MSNBC's greed? (1)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910087)

If they have this extreme level of control that basically means they *paid* for it, somehow, and outbid everyone else.

It's not a sports event, you know. I mean, who do you think they "paid" for the rights?

Or did they just ask all the candidates nicely?

Presidential debates are decided on by a bipartisan debate commission. Primaries probably by a committee in each party.

Re:How is this MSNBC's greed? (2, Insightful)

JavaRob (28971) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910307)

It's not a sports event, you know. I mean, who do you think they "paid" for the rights?
Of course it doesn't work like a sporting event -- that's what I said "they paid for it, somehow".

That is, how did the bipartisan debate commission decide who would run the presidential debate? I'm sure MSNBC wasn't the only network interested in doing it.

MSNBC managed to give them everything they wanted (and I'm sure running this thing won't be cheap), and in exchange MSNBC bargained for an extreme level of control over the broadcast and rights.

That's what I'm talking about. The committees and commissions were willing to grant MSNBC complete control in exchange for, probably, some control over what questions are asked, the format of the debate, etc. etc. I don't know the details, but I'd like to know....

Re:How is this MSNBC's greed? (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910363)

Personally, I think this should be illegal.

Fortunatly, it is [wikipedia.org] .

A presidential debate is not a pro sporting event. (4, Interesting)

Facekhan (445017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910057)

It should not qualify for copyright protection. It is not an "entertainment performance". It is not a play, it is not a television show, it is not a pundit special. What candidates say is newsworthy and anyone should be able to record their own footage or for logistical reasons MSNBC may record it on their own but they should not be able to claim copyright over the footage of a newsworthy event or else other news organizations and journalists of all stripes including bloggers should be free to record their own versions , whether openly or secretly. This is not an entertainment performance, it is not a professional sporting event, this is a political debate and the public owns it.

How does a recording of a debate by our presidential candidates in which there is no other content other than the debate itself and the MSNBC is simply acting as the host and moderator qualify as a creative work that is eligible for copyright?

In addition, is not the debate itself newsworthy and therefore not an entertainment event that could be restricted as to who may record it or later show it.

Re:A presidential debate is not a pro sporting eve (1)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910089)

You mixed a couple of things up. They're enforcing their copyright on their production of the debate. They don't say YOU are restricted from something YOU make with your resources. The rub has to do with recording the broadcast from their sources.

It's interesting they're trying to claim nobody can record from digital sources. In my case, I only have DirecTV with local stations. What about digital cable? How many people really use OTA analog?

There's actually a very, very simple solution to this: C-SPAN

They have some kind of reuse rules similar to creative commons and host lots of video on their site.

Re:A presidential debate is not a pro sporting eve (1)

bhiestand (157373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910177)

Right, they're only limiting your use of their recordings of the debates, but I'm willing to bet that MSNBC camera crews are the only ones allowed at these debates. So how is that not the same thing? Other than legally, of course. Slimy lawyers.

I have to agree with the other posters. Their commentary, analysis, and anything else they really produced should be protected by their copyrights, but video of what the politicians say/do should be either public domain or under one of the Creative Commons Licenses [creativecommons.org] . Either that, or they should not be allowed to restrict anybody with a camera from showing up. This really should be a part of the campaign laws.

"I have a dream" speech copyright (4, Interesting)

Derling Whirvish (636322) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910199)

The King family has long held and defended the rights to the "I have a dream" speech that Dr King gave on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. You can't reproduce that speech without obtaining permission and paying a royalty event though it was broadcast live on CBS and is an important part of American political history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estate_of_Martin_Luth er_King%2C_Jr.%2C_Inc._v._CBS%2C_Inc [wikipedia.org] .

Re:"I have a dream" speech copyright (1)

ElBeano (570883) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911317)

This is true, but remember, King wasn't running for office. I think political speach by candidates and officeholders belongs in a special category.

Re:A presidential debate is not a pro sporting eve (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18910265)

Perhaps someone should buy the domain www.2007presidentialdebate.com and host the debate in its entirety. Wait for the pulldown notices to come in, and then start a brouhaha to get more public attention about this issue.

Re:A presidential debate is not a pro sporting eve (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910503)

A presidential debate is not a pro sporting event

On the other hand, only in America could professional wrestling reach the heights of popularity it (supposedly) has. Yes, I'm already aware of the critical mass moron factor.

Isn't this covered under Public Domain? (2, Interesting)

VE3OGG (1034632) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910107)

I was under the impression that any government work was paid for by tax dollars and was therefore covered under public domain laws. Surely the taping of an event does not, by some magical feat, erase the fact that it is a government production, and ergo the public may use any footage of it as they please?

Re:Isn't this covered under Public Domain? (1)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910281)

The debate is not paid for by the government and it's not a government production. Most federally-created items are open for free use but not all. American citizens don't have full and unrestricted access to every piece of correspondence used within the government, for example.

It gets hazy when some federal monies are used. Would a candidate who takes federal matching campaign funds have less control than one who does not take them? (Semi-rhetorical question...)

The campaigns pay for the travel, the network provides the production and probably some of the costs so they can control the setting. It's not a federally-created production.

Re:Isn't this covered under Public Domain? (2, Informative)

yndrd1984 (730475) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910297)

You're assuming that this is a government work - it isn't. This is a group of private citizens who are trying to get a government job. Public speeches of (for example) senator Clinton, while she's acting as part of her job as senator (or ones made in public places), would be public domain. Speeches she makes in private (like to the AARP, at a symposium, etc) are not.

Re:Isn't this covered under Public Domain? (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910649)

Surely the taping of an event does not, by some magical feat, erase the fact that it is a government production

Consider the White House. Owned by the government. I take a photo of it. The copyright of that image belongs to me.

You can stand next to me and take an almost identical photo. But you can't copy MY photo.

complain to the DNC (2, Insightful)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910129)

The when, where, and how of primary and presidential debates are decided by committees. Those committees can negotiate the conditions of the debates and the ownership of the audio/video material.

I suspect that the conditions for the democratic primaries are decided by some committee in the DNC. So, the people to complain to in this case are in the DNC. If the next debates are held and released under the same restrictions, then you have your answer: the DNC either doesn't care or prefers it this way. Same for the RNC.

I have a sneaky suspicion that the DNC and RNC prefer the debate videos to be tightly controlled. The idea of hundreds of debate clips showing up on YouTube and being analyzed and discussed almost certainly scare the political control freaks in those organizations, and this way, they think they have at least some means by which they could stamp out unflattering uses of that video content.

DRMed Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18910161)

Oh, f*cking great!

Apple and EMI finally agree to remove DRM from music, and then MSNBC slips it into the political process! I bet they degrade any discourse during the debate that isn't flagged to agree with their editorial policy while allowing "Their Guy's" sound bites to remain unprotected and at full quality.

Well, at least the music is entertaining.

Politicians, rejoice! (2, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910173)

Now you can spin whatever story without fearing that someone might rewind and play again to see in the next election that you bullshitted them. Nobody can prove it anymore, nobody can hold it against you that you are afraid of nukular weapons or that you invented the internet. It simply won't exist anymore. Except, of course, in stories and pages picking at you, but it's easy to discount them as slander and propaganda.

What about Microsoft? (0, Flamebait)

Brickwall (985910) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910253)

MSNBC is a partnership between Microsoft and NBC, yet all the comments are slagging NBC and no one says a word about M$. I find this astounding behaviour for /.

Re:What about Microsoft? (1)

fo0bar (261207) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910367)

Microsoft sold off most of its controlling interest of MSNBC back to NBC a few years ago (MS owns 18% of MSNBC according to wikipedia). Even with that, Microsoft has very little to do with production; they're basically just a minority shareholder.

(Mind you that's just true for the cable channel. msnbc.com is still a 50-50 venture between MS and NBC.)

Re:What about Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18910373)

last I heard MS had pulled out of the partnership

Oh please (4, Informative)

realinvalidname (529939) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910291)

In the industry, this is called an "embargo", and it is absolutely typical. MSNBC owns their broadcast of the debate (under copyright law, they're the "creator" of the "creative work"), and these embargoes establish the degree to which they're willing to share their footage with other media outlets, for the sole reason that they depend on others sharing their work with MSNBC under similar terms. That it is a political news event is irrelevant -- similar terms would be used for coverage of breaking news, sports events, etc.

If anything, it's notable that MSNBC is willing to allow use by websites at all. A few years ago, there would be no such terms discussed, or there'd be a simple "no posting online".

If the terms were "take all you want and do what you want with it", the prevailing thinking is that anyone could broadcast or post the event in its entirety, without paying a dime, which would be a severe disincentive to MSNBC's production of it in the first place, which in turn would mean that all the MSNBC staffers and freelancers would be out of a job.

Full disclosure: I worked for CNN for 3.5 years.

Re:Oh please (1)

NayDizz (821461) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910419)

Yeah, this is hardly anything out of the ordinary. Watch a football game some time. At the end it has a whole long disclaimer about how it's solely the property of X channel, must have written permission blah blah blah. This article is just trying to rouse some shit up.

Re:Oh please (2, Informative)

realinvalidname (529939) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910491)

Exactly. And moreover, Network B is usually only allowed to use the footage from Network A for 24 hours after the end of the game. That's why when you see footage weeks or months later, it's usually from NFL Films and not from the other networks.

Re:Oh please (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911099)

this is called an "embargo"

Actually, that's a great idea. Who needs the MSNBC debate anyway? Set up a separate parallel debate, bring in the third parties, and let the third parties have a go at similar questions, only this debate will be recorded in its entirety and allowed to be freely distributable on the internet. With enough hype, I think even the first parties will want to appear.

Now all we need are some navy ships to block the intarweb ports and keep them pirates out of the tubes to make sure our debates are the only ones online. After all, copyright infringement is a terrible, terrible crime.

Not Good Enough (1)

Alaren (682568) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911413)

MSNBC owns their broadcast of the debate (under copyright law, they're the "creator" of the "creative work")

I assume you're going off the whole "fixed medium" thing here. Simply rebroadcasting the whole thing would therefore be problematic, but their restrictions on excerpts aren't restrictions on rebroadcasting. For instance, I think that choosing "highlights" is a fairly transformative process, though of course the courts may not agree.

...the prevailing thinking is that anyone could broadcast or post the event in its entirety, without paying a dime, which would be a severe disincentive to MSNBC's production of it in the first place...

Then the prevailing thinking is worse than wrong, it's stupid. I'm so tired of hearing this argument. And you don't even need to go as far as Open Source to find counterexamples. You know how much money Sony and Microsoft lose on every game console they sell? There's two corporations (out of three in that market!) who basically pour money down a hole to establish market share, sell their other products, and eventually make up the loss. Between advertising your own stuff and selling adspace to other corporate sponsors, if you can't make enough money broadcasting a live presidential debate (one time!) to count as an "incentive," you have bigger problems than rebroadcasting.

Full disclosure: I worked for CNN for 3.5 years.

Then maybe you can be forgiven for your obvious confusion. I've heard similar stories from software developers, authors, photographers... "if I can't maintain iron-fisted control of everything I do, there will be no incentive to do it!"

Believe it or not, you do not need that much control to profit from your ventures. I'm willing to accept that fairly generic copyright law might be positive in some circumstances, but this "total control" idea is not even particularly well supported by statute, let alone in principle. Most of the time, the "no incentive" argument is a strawman excuse for "but I want more money!"

It's all a show... the entire electoral process. (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910335)

America is not a 2 party system... and yet it is...

It's all a show folks. Buy into it if you want, but nothing is going to change.

Re:It's all a show... the entire electoral process (1)

PoconoPCDoctor (912001) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910489)

I have one name and two numbers for you -

Obama '08 [poconopcdoctor.com]

If you think this will be the same country when we elect the first African-American President, then I guess nothing will shake your beliefs.

Read his book - "The Audacity of Hope." [amazon.com]

He is different. Give him a chance.

Peace.

Re:It's all a show... the entire electoral process (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910551)

I'm rooting for Pelosi '07, personally.

They don't own the copyright to the words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18910405)

I think the best way to get even^w around this would have someone do a cartoon version of the debates using a transcription and make all the candidates look incredibly stupid.(i.e, like the Saturday night live cartoon short "fun with real audio") If this clip would get popular enough I bet the candidates would start wanting the actual footage to have been shown especially if it was noted in the cartoon version.

The word of the day is "Watermark" (1)

Roblimo (357) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910911)

MSNBC's debate video use restrictions are bad business -- for MSNBC.

In their shoes I'd be encouraging everyone and anyone to use that video all over the damn place, either full-length or as a series of excerpts.

Of course, I'd also put an "MSNBC" logo as a watermark on every frame -- in either the lower-left or upper-right corner so it wouldn't get covered up by the "YouTube" (or whatever video hosting service) logo that would cover it if it was placed in the lower-right corner.

This would be major FREE ADVERTISING FOR MSNBC!!!

Imagine millions of people who have been ignoring MSNBC suddenly finding out -- through those watermarks -- that MSNBC carries substantive, public service programming.

"Can you say, 'more viewers,' boys and girls?"

Sadly, this is only an exercise in imagination. In real life, NBC management and lawyers are too stupid to take advantage of this major FREE marketing opportunity.

And people wonder why old-line media companies are losing their audience and their influence...

- Robin

Let me fix that for you (2, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911095)

MSNBC has established draconian rules regarding the use of their coverage of the Presidential Primary Debates on the internet.

There you go.

Now if theirs is the only coverage that exists, then I humbly suggest that that is the real issue here. Important, planned events should be recorded by multiple independent parties; allowing anything else is just plain wrong.

Re:Let me fix that for you (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911309)

Single-sourcing anything important is risky.

Well..... (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911159)

Thats because the media controls it, decides what we do and dont see/hear.. yep, they own it.
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