A lot of people have asked me about this call for openness in the Presidential debates. Lawrence Lessig contacted me about this effort and I was glad to sign on. I really believe there is no more important job on the planet than the Presidency, and it is critical that the process be conducted in a way that is open to the public, and owned by the public.
Most campaigns negotiate debate agreements that prevent the opposition from using footage in attack ads, and often provide exclusivity to the network that hosts the debate. Providing exclusive access to a network, for what is, constitutionally speaking, the people’s electoral process, is wrong. The footage should be made available for the people to consume, and use as they wish.
For their part, both the RNC and the DNC may miss the boat on this. The DNC responded by saying, “We are already exploring ways to make the DNC-sanctioned debates more accessible and will continue to work on this and other issues in our discussions with the networks” (emphasis mine). The RNC, sadly, but not unexpectedly, said they would not get involved in the issue.
Until something better comes along, the future of political discourse, is the Internet. For all their bluster about putting people before politics, the parties are clearly more interested in what the networks can do for them.