TV Networks Don’t Get it – Democratic Debate Not on TV?

Update: Sorry I wasn’t clued into this sooner, but I just found the video online at MSNBC – Click here if you want to watch it.

The democratic debate was tonight — but it was not on broadcast television. Why not? I thought this was a great take on the situation from Jeff Jarvis’ post:

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?

The debate was on MSNBC and two North Carolina stations. I realize the majority of people in the United States have cable. However, I’m not one of them — so I was left no way to see the debate, which I would have very much liked to watch.

I don’t get it. Political debates should be broadcast in as many mediums as possible so that everyone can educate themselves on where the future leaders of this country stand on the real issues. Further, wouldn’t you think television networks would want to make some further ad renevue by broadcasting the debate online and selling ads? Oh well, media outlets that don’t start embracing new media are going to suffer as businesses. Consumers expect to consume their media where they want, when they want.

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  • http://thepoliticalchase.com PoliticalChase

    “…that’s our policy.” What a crock. And by the way, they limited the two local stations to the first 60 minutes of the broadcast.

    Alicastro’s bureaucratic response is almost worse than MSNBC’s decision to not make the debate available nationally via NBC broadcast channels. Obviously their policy doesn’t apply across the board…NBC/MSNBC makes other significant news related shows simultaneously available on broadcast (NBC) and cable (MSNBC).

    There is some atypical, self-serving reason why they locked the debate up…whatever it is, NBC did not serve the public’s interest, which should be the primary objective of a true news organization.

    It must be related to ratings. NBC probably did not want to burn 60-90 minutes of Thursday night national revenue, which is a pretty competitive night I think.

  • Kyle

    The video you linked to is only 13 minutes. There must be more to this video. I do not have cable, but would like to watch this debate. Can someone find the entire debate online? This is crazy that they are keeping this from citizens.

  • http://thepoliticalchase.com PoliticalChase

    If there is enough interest, I can publish the debate. For more info, see my post at:

    http://www.thepoliticalchase.com/journal/2007/4/29/who-missed-the-democratic-presidential-debate.html

  • http://www.drewmeyersinsights.com Drew Meyers

    Kyle-
    There are 5 other segments linked from the bottom of that MSNBC page.