Thursday, January 10, 2008

TV show concept

As a general rule, I enjoy the concept of TV shows dedicated to political debates, in that if it's well-conducted, you get clarification on political parties' and individual politicians' views on various issues. However, these shows are damn near impossible to watch due to a multitude of factors, including but not limited to:
  • Topics being poorly defined in that they're either too broad, or pigeon-holed into a foregone conclusion
  • Host inserting his or her own political bias
  • So-called "experts" having no demonstrable knowledge about anything except how to get repeatedly invited to this type of shows
  • Politicians hogging air-time with soundbyte-adapted drivel
  • Politicians failing to answer direct questions
  • Politicians lying their asses off
  • Politicians going totally off on a self-aggrandizing tangent

I think the latter four points, the ones concerning politicians, can be addressed in a separate TV show, providing both entertainment as well as providing an analytical tool for the trustworthiness of politicians and parties. And if such a measure can be put in place, it would also mean that politicians would have to be less pontificating and more truthful, thus also possibly reducing the overall contempt reserved for politicians, which can only be a good thing.

How can this be accomplished? By having a separate panel reviewing their performances during debates and checking the facts against their statements. The main reason the politicians get away with blatantly lying during debates, is that the live format and time constraints do not allow for fact-checking. Because when you think about it, a lot of their lies are totally traceable, like what you'll hear about five million times per debate:

  • Pontificating Prick #1: Our party came up with this concept and proposed it in congress already back in 1746, and now the rest of y'all jump on the band wagon.
  • Pontificating Prick "2: No, no no - it was OUR party which launched this proposal in congress as early as in 1392.

In this case, the douchebags are talking about propositions which are public record and can thus easily be checked out, but obviously not during the broadcast. Equally obvious, since the two combattants are launching opposing arguments around a recorded fact, one of them is a lying, steaming pile of horse $hit. Well; they probably both are, but one can be caught red-handed in being one. Then consider this next case of blatantly lying about easily checked facts:

  • Weasel #1: I voted "Yes" on Proposition XYZ back in '92, and I have thus always been FOR whichever subject is associated with this.

Simple to find out, since this is a matter of public record, but again, they're using the constraints of the debates. Same with the next example, which was uttered by the prime minister yesterday:

  • The reform proposed and introduced by my party way back in the 90's was severely criticized because experts deemed it too academically demanding for the students.

Really? Simple to find out. Etc, etc.

All you need is a crew willing to check out these facts, and then match a trustworthy-ranking to each politician, or to each party. Obviously, the ranking would have to be normalized with respect to the number of debate appearances for each politician. Then air the show like once a month - more frequently before elections, and let people know which politicians and parties have the most credibility. Obviously, damn near any system which keeps politicians from flat out lying is good.

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