Culture Technology

I thought the internet was supposed to make finding things easy

American presidential debates are one of the most unstructured ways we can watch future presidents respond and react. These debates have far less to do with WHAT they say (which has all been researched and scripted to death) than with HOW and WHEN they say it. How they adapt, how they improvise, how easily they deviate from the plan, or how subscribed to their own programme they, in fact, are.

It’s 2008, so I’d like to ask a fairly simple question. Why, on the internet, is it so difficult to find the debates? Sorry, this is a trick question, so I’ll answer it for you. It is so difficult to find the debates, in their entirety, online because none of the money-grubbing corporate hosts for these events has the slightest interest in cooperating with a larger information initiative that organizes and presents these debates in a taxonomically accessible fashion.

CNN, MSNBC, CSPAN, reprehensible Fox News, YouTube, the candidate sites themselves — none of them have organized libraries where every debate appearance an American can watch is accessible.

I’d like to propose some simple taxonomies to solve the problem. It will require the cooperation of corporate giants, which means that this very simple, democratic system of accessing information will never occur. Not even if Google has anything to say about it.

Proposal 1: Debates > Presidential > 2008 > Democrats [Republicans | others] > Month > State

Proposal 2: Elections > 2008 > Presidential > Debates > Month > State

Proposal 3: Elections > Debates > Month

And now for the shocker:

Proposal 4: Debates > Presidential > [year]

I dare you to find — in fewer than 30 seconds — a presidential debate from this election cycle that you can watch on the web, in its entirety.

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