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Tag Archive for 'msnbc'

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Good on MSNBC

Mark Memmott at USA Today reports that MSNBC did ease its rules for use of the Republican debate video -- and good for them. The no-internet restriction was taken out. The other rules were not as direct as CNN's no-restrictions-whatsoever rule, so Memmott questioned MSNBC's spokesman.
MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines just e-mailed us to say that the news network did change its usage rules before it hosted the first two debates. MSNBC's new language (in this case, as stated before the GOP debate): News organizations, including radio, network television, cable television, local television, and news and information websites may use excerpts of "The Republican Candidates' Debate" only subject to the following restrictions: 1. On television, an unobstructed onscreen credit "MSNBC /" must appear during each debate excerpt and remain on screen for the entire excerpt. On the internet, video must stream with the unobstructed credit as described above, or links to MSNBC.COM and for the duration of the stream.
A later exchange:
Gaines of MSNBC says in an e-mail to us that: "News and information websites can use the video with the same restrictions as broadcast outlets. So, yes, they can download and have on their site and edit. Just like other television networks." Still to be determined, we presume: exactly what is a "news and information website."
Memmott also heard from FoxNews that they are not opening up their debate footage. I put in emails to a FoxNews exec to make sure that is the latest word; haven't heard back yet.

First victory: CNN frees the debates

The wall has cracked. CNN has announced that -- unlike MSNBC -- it will open up the debates it is hosting in June under a Creative Commons license. No restrictions. Now that's the ticket. The release:
CNN to Make Presidential Debate Footage Available without Restrictions As previously announced, CNN will team up with Hearst-Argyle's WMUR-TV and the New Hampshire Union Leader to host two presidential debates to be held in America's first primary state. The debate featuring Democratic candidates will be held on Sunday, June 3, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and the Republican debate will be held on Tuesday, June 5, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Due to the historical nature of presidential debates and the significance of these forums to the American public, CNN believes strongly that the debates should be accessible to the public. The candidates need to be held accountable for what they say throughout the election process. The presidential debates are an integral part of our system of government, in which the American people have the opportunity to make informed choices about who will serve them. Therefore, CNN debate coverage will be made available without restrictions at the conclusion of each live debate. We believe this is good for the country and good for the electoral process. This decision will apply to all of CNN's presidential debates, beginning with the upcoming New Hampshire debates in June.
(via Slashdot) Separately, I just noticed that when John Edwards called on the networks to do just this, he didn't call on one network: FoxNews. That's not an oversight. It's a coy slap on Fox, whom various Democrats are trying to boycott in debate season. Hmmm. It's hard to call for open debates and then close out one of the networks and its audience, isn't it? I have asked FoxNews what their policy will be regarding rights of whatever debates they do hold.

Edwards to networks: Free the debates!

MoveOn just forwarded me a letter that John Edwards sent to the heads of the networks asking them to free the debates for our online use. Addressed to Jim Walton – CNN, Leslie Moonves – CBS, Jeffrey Zucker -- NBC Universal, Anne Sweeney -- Disney-ABC, Paula Kerger – PBS, and Howard Dean of the DNC, it says:
Selecting a president is the most important responsibility Americans have. In an age of 30-second ads, 7-second sound bites and media consolidation, making an informed decision is harder than ever. That is why I am asking each news network to make video footage from the presidential debates that they broadcast available on the internet for the public to view and use responsibly. I am also asking Chairman Dean, who is playing a valuable role in organizing many of the Democratic primary debates, to use his influence with the networks to make the debates more broadly available. The Creative Commons license terms offer an easy way to ensure that the networks’ rights are protected. Much of the content on my own campaign web site is available under just such a license. Commercial constraints are severe enough in their effect in diluting the substance of our campaigns. Limiting access to long-form televised debates makes matters worse.
See my prior coverage of the crusade to free the debates here. The MoveOn folks explained that they and Lawrence Lessig had gone after the DNC and RNC to open up the debates because there are so many reuqests for debates that they become the media kingmakers. But I said that we also need to shame the networks into opening up our own political discussion. Now Edwards is calling them to account.

Obama: Free the debates!

The Washington Post has the details on our new, joint blog: Barack Obama has called on Democratic chieftan Howard Dean to require that debate video be opened up for us, the people.
In a letter sent to DNC chairman Howard Dean earlier today, Obama suggests debate video should be placed in the public domain, or licensed under a Creative Commons (Attribution) license. Such licenses allow authors, musicians, producers, scientists, etc. to pick and choose the copyright freedoms to apply to their work. "As you know, the Internet has enabled an extraordinary range of citizens to participate in the political dialogue around this election. Much of that participation will take the form of citizen generated content," Obama's letter states. "We, as a Party, should do everything that we can to encourage this participation."
I suggest he also send it directly to the networks. Tonight's GOP debate on MSNBC is still a closed, controlled, old-TV affair. : Here's USA Today's coverage.

The French do it right

In France, socialist candidate Ségolène Royal just debated third-placed finisher and possible kingmaker Francois Bayrou on TV. Go to the networks' sites and they not only put up the video of the debate but they do so on a blog via a video sharing site -- the YouTube of France, DailyMotion -- so blogs like this can embed it, making it one of the top viral videos on the internet. The participants themselves use this to embed the debate on their official sites -- Royal's blog here, Bayrou's blog here, where, at latest count, there were 1,350 comments, putting the debate -- and the network -- in the thick of the democratic discussion. MSNBC could learn a few lessons from the French.

The MSNBC crusade spreads

Advertising has covered the PrezVid crusade to get MSNBC to open up the debates for us in era of YouTube here and here. Ditto Wired. The Wall Street Journal, too. And Ars Technica. And this afternoon, I was interviewed for a story about the campaign on NPR. (Earlier posts here.)

MSNBC, the network of Brigadoon

I envision the meeting at NBC News and MSNBC when they got the first debate of the campaign and met to decide what to do about it. Anything new since the last time? 'Naw,' they say. 'When's lunch?' Not much is new. Besides YouTube. And MySpace. And the explosion of weblogs. And the spread of easy video editing tools. And podcasts. And iTunes. And the distributed media marketplace. And the incredible power of Google and its search and ads. And the implosion of old TV. And competition for cable from the internet. Naw, not much. You'd think they would have sat around that mahogany table and wondered what new they could do in this new media world. But, no, they decided to do things the way they always had done them.: They restricted use of the video from the people's debate because they thought they could. Poor, sad, extinct, old sods. So when Ad Age asked MSNBC for tomorrow's edition about its antiquated media rules for the debate video, the network's response:
In an e-mail, an MSNBC spokesman said, "The entire debate is available for all to view and link to on"
Where it's hidden inside the bowels of an old network site. And, actually, it's not even findable: I can't see a reference to "debate" or "democratic" on the home page tonight. Neither is it truly linkable; each debate Q&A does not have but should have a permalink. And it's certainly not embeddable so that bloggers could spread the video and the debate (and MSNBC's brand). And, Lord knows, it's not remixable! And so the people say, to hell with it, let's just put it up on YouTube around those old farts.

Free the debates! Free Joe Biden!

So Joe Biden is flagrantly violating MSNBC's rules prohibiting internet use of the debate. He's posting videos of himself and other candidates from the network at YouTube and, in turn, embedding them at his Head to Head virtual debate -- which is exactly what MSNBC should be doing and allowing us to do (see my suggestions below). And, by the way, if MSNBC posted the clips on YouTube, they'd do a better technical job of it and their logo wouldn't be all schmutzig. Will MSNBC go after Biden for stealing his own words and putting them on YouTube for us all to see? Watch this space:
Come on, NBC, do the right thing. Free the debates. Release them for our use under Creative Commons. I sent email to Steve Capus, president of NBC News, yesterday and have heard nothing back yet. Here's what I asked:
Steve, First, it was a pleasure meeting you on the RTNDA panel. The reason I put in a call to you yesterday is that I'd like to find out the rationale behind the no-internet restriction on debate video. Clearly and not surprisingly, I have an opinion on this myself: I'd like to ask: * Why did NBC News put a no-internet restriction on the debate video? What is the rationale? * Would NBC News consider Prof. Lawrence Lessig's call for the networks to make debate video available under an open Creative Commons License? * I'd be grateful if you'd address the question of whether MSNBC owns this debate or whether it should be the property of the American citizenry in this election. * Is the company going to demand that the clips that have been put up on video-sharing services be taken down and will it send cease-and-desist notices to bloggers who embed them? thanks much
I also asked Arianna Huffington what their policy will be with the HuffingtonPost/Yahoo/Slate online debates. She said they are deciding in a meeting on Friday and she'll let us know immediately. I'm also asking the other networks what their policies will be. Free the debates! Free the debates! Free the debates! : LATER: Watch out, MSNBC. You've been slashdotted. I've also heard from a few mainstream reporters doing stories on this.

What should be happening with the debate today

If MSNBC had any sense, which it doesn't, it would have taken every one-minute answer from last night's ping-pong debate and put them up on YouTube themselves. Then, today, we'd be able to watch each one without feeling as if we were trying to count cars on a speeding train. And, more important, we'd be able to comment on them and embed them in our blogs. We'd see which clips are the most popular, the most talked about. We'd get a new sense of what the electorate thinks, which itself would be news. If NBC also made the video files available for download and remixing, we'd see the post-debate commentary not from the same old made-up faces on the networks but from the people who matter, the voters: us. MSNBC would be part of the conversation, in the thick of it, which is exactly where it should want to be. Instead, the network is acting like the bratty and unpopular rich kid who takes him marbles and harumphs home, ruining the game for everyone. But it's happening without MSNBC, of course. There are already loads of clips up on YouTube, put there by dastardly copyright thieves, in NBC News' view, or by engaged voters and viewers, in my view. And as much as I'm busting them for not doing the internet right, I have to believe that even MSNBC won't have the bad sense to try to pull those clips and send cease-and-desists to the citizens who are sharing moments from our own democratic debate. (Quick, somebody put a leash on that lawyer!) The net result, though, is that the discussion is happening on YouTube and on blogs but not around MSNBC, thanks to the network's rules and to the fact that its clips are not linkable or embeddable and are chosen by producers instead of voters. A true case of cutting off the nose. The side effect is that the clips are on YouTube but they are not on other networks' news sites. So you could have them promoting MSNBC today along with the viewers but because MSNBC insisted on NO internet usage whatsoever, they've given up millions of dollars worth of free promotion and branding. Foolish. It's not too late to fix this, though. NBC could put the clips up on YouTube right now (later, they could do this on their new embeddable service). And they could announce right now that they will follow Larry Lessig's advice and release the next, Republican debate under an open Creative Commons license requiring attribution and links back to the networks' site. They could say they're doing this in the interests of stimulating the democratic discussion. But the truth is, it'd just be smart business. If they did that, I have no doubt that they'd get more traffic and more attention and out of that, more money. Instead, they're only engendering the animus of the voters and viewers online. Just to show solidarity with the YouTube gang of thieves, I'll embed two clips here, the funniest moments of the debate (and if I get a cease and desist, I'll put it here in place of these videos): Here is Joe Biden's one-word answer:
And here is Mike Gravel's insane sputtering:

Democratic whiplash

The Democratic debate on MSNBC is like a game of Pong: 60 seconds "answers," bang, bang, bang. I'm a fast talker and this is exhausting me. I tried to watch the thing on but instead got stories about Hugh Grant throwing baked beans and an two Indian chickens with seven feet plus about six commercials. They have links to the debate online, but no debate. Apparently, NBC doesn't think the internet and its millions matter. : I got email from an NBCU vice-president, who refused to go on the record, I don't know why. So I can't tell you what he said. But I'll tell you what I said back:
Well, why don't you break that chain? I am trying very hard to watch it online now and I'll be damned if I can find the way. You want to send me the link? And this is not just about watching. It is about remixing, commenting. What makes NBC think it can own this debate? That is offensive hubris. It is downright undemocratic, unAmerican. You want to mean what you say? Then open up the debates for us all to use. Now. If it's so "regrettable," then change it. You can. Do it. Get on the phone with Capus and I'll announce it and praise you for the move. My comments are on the record.
It's painfully clear that NBC doesn't understand the internet and its role in in. : I see in the comments that some can watch the debate on the internet. I have reinstalled every bit of software and can't. They are making it damned difficult. : The Washington Post has been liveblogging the debate at The Fix. : AFTERWARDS: It all went by so fast, what I most want is the opportunity to watch the bits that went by in 60-second flashes with commentary from the people. That is why I want this on the internet with many perspectives. : HERE'S what I wish NBC would have done with the debate online: * Make every 60-second answer a separate video so we can watch and actually absorb them. * Put everything up on YouTube so we can embed them in our blogs with our commentary. * Enable us to download and remix the questions and answers so we can compare and contrast them. * Create a page that has all the questions and answers organized so we can see what every candidate, Democratic and Republican, has to say.

For shame, NBC News: Stealing the debate

A properly pissed off birdie forwarded me NBC News' restrictions on tonight's presidential debates, which are many and lead off with this: "internet use is not permitted." I think that's ridiculous and so I sought to find out why they would do this. I called Joe Alicastro, producer of the debate for MSNBC, who was on site. I asked him why they were restricting use of the material on the internet. He twice didn't answer and said "that's our policy." I said I know that's their policy. I asked why. He would not answer. I asked whether he thought the Amerian people had a right to this debate since it is our election. He said that "the American people have ample opportunity to view the debate on MCNBC and two North Carolina stations." Shameful. What makes NBC think it has the right to own the democratic discussion in this country? Alicastro specifically said that we could blog the event -- thank you -- but could not use video. Hmmm. What do you have to say about that, bloggers? Fellow journalists? Then Alicastro got pissed off himself and said that I had "not made an appointment for an interview" and "grabbed his cell phone number" (given to me by his colleagues at the company) and then he ended with "byeee" and hung up. I have put in a call with Steve Capus, head of NBC News, with whom I served on a panel at the Radio Televison News Directors Association last week -- where he and we discussed the wonders of the internet and remixing and discussing. I'll ask Capus the same question: Why? And let's repeat Larry Lessig's call for the parties to insist that the debates be open for use on the internet -- but us, the people. Here, for your amazement, are the myriad restrictions MSNBC put on what they think is their -- but is truly our -- debate:
USAGE RULES FOR USE OF AUDIO OR VIDEO OF MSNBC MATERIAL RULES FOR "THE SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES DEBATE" FROM MSNBC: (The following rules apply to all media organizations that are not part of NBC) News organizations, including radio, network television, cable television and local television may use excerpts of "The South Carolina Democratic Candidates Debate" subject to the following restrictions (internet use is not permitted): 1. An unobstructed onscreen credit "MSNBC" must appear during each debate excerpt and remain on screen for the entire excerpt. 2. Each debate excerpt must be introduced with an audio credit to MSNBC. 3. No excerpt may air in any medium until the live debate concludes at 8:30 pm ET. 4. No more than a combined total of 2 minutes of excerpts may be chosen for use during the period from the end of the live debate (8:30 pm ET) until 1:00 am ET on Friday, April 27. After 1:00 am ET, Friday, April 27, a total of 10 minutes may be selected (including any excerpts aired before 1:00AM). The selected excerpts may air as often as desired but the total of excerpts chosen may not exceed the limits outlined. 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. A feed of MSNBC's telecast of the debate will be provided (details below), additionally limited audio/video mults will be available on site in the media center.


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