Published by Jeff Jarvis September 13th, 2007 Tags: debates, huffingtonpost, slate, yahoo.
The much vaunted Yahoo/Huffington Post/Slate presidential debate "mash-up" is a pathetic insult to the voters that is years behind in internet culture. According to Wired.com's Sarah Lai Stirland, it was Yahoo who wussied out and decided not to put up the footage up on its mash-up video site for voters and viewers to remix. No mashing here. Just more mush from the wimps. So we end up with watching Charlie Rose and Bill Maher asking the candidates questions on the usual topics -- do we have a shortage of this on TV debates? Where's the interactivity? Well, we get to pick which videos to watch. Oooh, the freedom. It's like a bad children's museum: 'Here, children, push this button. You won't do any harm.' We should be the ones asking the questions. We should be the ones selecting the questions. We should be the ones editing the questions. Instead, they give us buttons to push. What an insult. I am shocked that Huffington Post and Slate did not pull out of this venture when Yahoo ruined it. They should have. It's yet more proof how behind Yahoo has left itself. The last old-media company, that's what I call them. But they're even older in mind and spirit than NBC, CNN, and ABC, which at least opened up their debate footage for us to reuse. Yahoo doesn't put such an open license on this content. Yahoo doesn't even make it easy for us to embed the videos. You can't do it on their alleged "mash-up" page, only if you find the video on their video site, which isn't easy with their bad search. Here's one: Huffington Post, Slate, and the candidates should insist that Yahoo make good on its word and make this video available for us to remix. It will still be pathetic -- since we did not get the chance to ask and select the questions -- but it would be just a little less pathetic. LATER: I just posted this to Huffingtonpost, ending with this suggestion: But I do wish that you would force them to enable the mash-up. For you see, it's not just about us watching. It's about us producing and broadcasting. We should be able to make our mash-ups and show them to the world. Indeed, why not go one step farther and take all the video from all the debates -- since they are open to our unrestricted reuse -- and put them together so we can produce and publish the ultimate mashups from the election so far? And then we can also see what questions have note been asked and answered. Then we can ask them the next time. UPDATE: I just got email from Arianna Huffington saying that users will be able to take their playlists to Yahoo's Jumpcut and then embed the results in their blogs. This is supposed to happen this afternoon. More later. UPDATE: Here is the mashup page.