The Truth Squad
September 27, 2002 3:08 PM   Subscribe

The Truth Squad - ABC News wants your help. Specifically, the ABCNEWS Political Unit Election Watchdog (PUEW), looking to keep upcoming elections as truthful as possible, wants you to gather up your election mail; take notes about the campaign-related phone calls you get; and send them your tips and credible accounts, so that they can go through them. They have a page of descriptions of what they are looking for. Are they expecting things to be particularly ugly? Are they trying to dig something up, or is this really an attempt to neutralize election season lies?
posted by mikhail (8 comments total)
Good for them, and it's about time. Assuming, of course, that they follow through.

This season's elections are perhaps more ripe for shenanigans than usual, for two reasons: many are still closely contested, and the parties are almost evenly split in both House and Senate. Repubs and Dems alike would love to control both houses, and that's still up for grabs.
posted by macrone at 3:18 PM on September 27, 2002

FOX stands ready to counter this move with their Bullshit Squad.
posted by Skot at 3:37 PM on September 27, 2002

i like this. it seems that it will get people to pay attention to the elections beyond the level of figuring out who to vote for. i think the more attention paid to the way politicians get their views across at election time, the better.

now on the level of eliminating election season lies, i think that won't happen for some time, and the only way it would happen as a result of this would be if it were implemented over a series of several years, long enough to see results and compare, etc. one year won't do anything.

i'm just glad there's a focus on how people are saying things as opposed to what they're saying. it's about time one network jumped on the chance to do this and got people who watch their network thinking.
posted by oog at 3:42 PM on September 27, 2002

But see, the fact that this is a major business-owned news corporation leads to a serious implication of the joke Skot just made.

If ABC does this, how long before FoxNews or any other biased media source discovers that they can convice people this is serious without much effort?

Just because a news source is gathering "all the evidence they can get" doesn't mean they're not going to decide that it's only newsworthy to actually report on the evidence they gathered against specific people, all in the name of the very public interest they're trying to manipulate.

Sorry, I'm just very skeptical about the third-largest media empire in the world claiming they need other people to do their reporting for them.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:13 PM on September 27, 2002

Sorry, this is a great idea, and a perfect use of the Web for a real journalistic purpose.

Sure, they could just send their reporters out to look around for stuff, and you could just complain on your blog about the local candidates. (You still can.) But this way you can get your point across to people who have the time, money, and contacts to make some calls and dig a little deeper.

Between this and The Note, ABC news' Web efforts have really improved recently.
posted by oddovid at 4:57 PM on September 27, 2002

The Texas Governor race has a lot of mudslinging. It could keep ABC busy. The local ABC affiliate (WFAA) has been reviewing contest ads each week from various races. They were pretty hard on the Toney Sanchez and Rick Perry ads (gov's race). Thanks for the post. I'll be submitting!
posted by hockeyman at 5:33 PM on September 27, 2002

If you really want to investigate candidates:

I think it's nice that ABC is interested in doing this. It's sort of a "political sonar" -- they're tuning in to what's going to bounce off of individuals as those individuals receive political messages through various media. That's cool.

However, what this really boils down to is simply a closer look at how people are passively receiving the messages they use to shape their political judgements. When people are encouraged to investigate their candidates -- when they spend time actively searching for information from sources that are as credible and non-partisan as possible -- that's when campaigns and election politics are going to get smarter and election outcomes will get better.

Kudos for ABC for realizing they can use the eyes and ears of others. Even more kudos to the major media outlets that start encouraging individuals to really dig beyond what they'll passively receive in the media (and please, not just Rush Limbaugh or the Village Voice).
posted by namespan at 6:02 PM on September 27, 2002

I was out of town during the push time for the primary in Massachusetts. When I got home, my answering machine was filled with recorded calls. Anyone else getting lots of recorded calls?

One was recorded by Matt Damon on behalf of an old friend running for state representative. She lost anyway.
posted by swerve at 7:19 PM on September 27, 2002

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