Looking to take advantage of the increased role online video is playing in politics, the DNC is launching a new program that encourages observers to shoot video and audio to catch Republicans in political missteps. The “Accountability Project” is a way for citizens to “hold Republicans accountable for misleading claims, lies and unseemly behavior,” according to the DNC’s Shauna Daly. Campaign trackers - with video cameras - are nothing new. Most memorably, former Sen. George Allen’s (R) “macaca” moment in 2006 swung the momentum in his race to now Sen. Jim Webb (D). The DNC project hopes to go one step further, essentially turning any Democratic political observer to a political operative. The DNC says “The Accountability Project allows you to submit videos, recordings, and other items for publication online, so that candidates see that there's a cost to their dishonesty -- and so that everyday citizens can see what their Republican candidates for office are saying.” This is the first time that a party has sought to fully embrace citizen produced video. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. A big question is how successful the DNC will be in vetting the videos and what criteria will be used for approving them. Critics will likely say that the site amounts to another example of left-wing propaganda. Republicans have also sought to get citizens involved with House Minority Whip Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) recent YouCut. The program encouraged to vote for one of five budget cutting proposals to “defeat the permissive culture of runaway spending in Congress.” That program has been somewhat successful, claiming recently to have received its 1,000,000 vote. The DNC says it plans to vet all videos that are uploaded for inappropriateness. Then local bloggers and members of the media will vet what’s left for newsworthiness. For those of you considering submitt, it’s worth reading the fine print on the DNC’s submission form:By submitting any video, recording or other item (the "Submission"), you agree that the Democratic National Committee (the "DNC") shall be entitled to the unrestricted publication, use and dissemination of the Submission, in whole or in part, for any purpose without acknowledgment or compensation to you. You grant the DNC a perpetual, irrevocable, sublicensable, royalty-free license to publish, reproduce, distribute, display, perform, adapt, create derivative works of and otherwise use the Submission in any manner or media. You acknowledge that the DNC has no obligation to publish or otherwise use any Submission you submit. You represent and warrant that you own all rights in and to the Submission, that it is your original work and that it is a true and accurate depiction of the events or other items captured in the Submission. You further represent and warrant that the Submission does not, and will not, infringe upon or violate the intellectual property or other rights of any third party or any applicable law, rule or regulation and that it fully complies with all requirements of the Terms of Service. I suppose it’s not surprising that the user loses all copyright protections to the video once it’s uploaded. Wonder how long before one of these ends up in an ad with a a million dollar buy behind it?
Jeremy P. Jacobs is the deputy editor at C&E. Follow him @jeremypjacobs