The Internet Archive is launching a new project that will document political TV ads on American networks, typically on smaller local stations. Paul Sawers, VentureBeat:
One of the core problems, according to [Nancy] Watzman, is that local TV stations are frequently used to air political ads, yet these same stations provide little extensive reporting. So, in effect, the ads are used as propaganda tools, presented with little to no scrutiny. “The new Political TV Ad Archive will help reporters stop the spin cycle by providing contextual data and information to evaluate ads,” said Watzman.
The new archive project is using “experimental audio fingerprint technology” to track TV in 20 markets across eight states, and will cover the likes of Sioux City, Des Moines, and Cedar Rapids in Iowa. Journalists will be able to embed videos of the ads and download relevant data, such as the date the ad aired and who sponsored it.
The Internet Archive is making a big contribution here, but it’s up to journalists to do the fact-checking legwork. To that end, it appears that they’ve partnered with PolitiFact and FactCheck.org, both of which — I assume — will be very busy this year.