Democrats.org, the official site of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), announced on Nov. 28 the launch of FlipperTV, an interactive feature that offers free downloads of raw video of leading Republican presidential candidates on the campaign trail.
One expressed intention of the service is that this footage will be downloaded by the party faithful and mashed-up into DIY attack ads. Evidence the unapologetic press release, in which the DNC promises that FlipperTV “will allow activists and voters to download video to their computers, edit it to create new user-generated video, and judge the candidates' flip-flips and exaggerations for themselves.”
The beauty of this “crowdsourcing” approach is that it can harness an inventive, eager, and unpaid workforce to facilitate the production of creative attack ads without actually tying responsibility for their content to the party or a particular candidate’s camp—essentially offering the delightfully wicked rewards of going negative without leaving the same kind of bad aftertaste in voters’ mouths.
As Gregory Ruelhmann of the Augusta, Georgia, weekly Metro Spirit rightly notes, FlipperTV marks the culmination of a much-hyped technological-democratization trend:
[T]here you have it: the surest sign that we’ve made the shift, from TV to cyberspace and from courtesy to base discourtesy. The pundits who anticipated this shift proclaimed that technology would make the presidential race more accessible to us, the voters. They said we would have a bigger say, and they certainly seem to be right. We’re doing a lot of the politicians’ dirty work now from our own laptops.
— Jason Ericson