Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Digital Debates

If the Nixon-Kennedy debates were shaped by the advent of television as a popular phenomenon, perhaps the debates for the 2008 election may be the first to be significantly represented and reconstituted in digital form on the Internet.

Certainly on his blog Lawrence Lessig has been at the forefront of calling upon the major news networks and both political parties to free the content of presidential debates from copyright restrictions. His call to action points out the importance of "Internet political speech" and the need for unambiguous and easily comprehensible release language that also prevents the costs incurred by expensive litigation by civil libertarians. Although politicians might generally fear the remix factor with their words and images, positive responses to Lessig's proposal from candidates and legislators are here, here, here, and here. Despite the fact that the Fox network, the Republican National Committee, and Hillary Clinton appear to be significantly more resistant, CNN and MSNBC seem to have come to some agreement with Lessig, at least in principle.

Meanwhile, over on Water Cooler Games, Ian Bogost has announced that he will be providing videogames with editorial content for CNN, the first of which -- Presidential Pong -- dramatizes the mindless volleys that characterize the dynamics of the eventual one-on-one two-party debates, when candidates aren't just raising hands rather than engaging in real oratory. I'm a pretty good Pong player, but I found the game mechanics challenging on my PC.

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Anonymous Chuck said...

I found the game mechanics on Ian's game a little difficult, too, but I'm glad to see Ian, a former colleague of mine at Georgia Tech, working with CNN.

9:15 AM  

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