Augmented State Of The Union

Tonight is President Obama’s second State of the Union address before Congress and the American People.  There has been no shortage of talk about civility (as signified by Republicans and Democrats intermingling on the House floor), and speculation about what the President will talk about (jobs), and in just a few hours we will see what it amounts to.

It is interesting that as technology has advanced so far beyond television, television is how most people who watch the state of the union will experience it.  There will be plenty of punditry before and after.  But this year, thanks to the Sunlight Foundation, there will be a new way to experience of the State of the Union.

Sunlight is presenting The State Of The Union on Sunlight Live where reporters, watchdogs and other experts will provide real time analysis and contextualization of what the President is saying. From their announcement:

We’ll be joining forces with the Huffington Post, Center for Public
Integrity, National Journal and CQ Roll Call to cover the live speech
and the Republican response, starting at 8:30 PM EST.  Combining live
streaming video, real-time blogging, government transparency data and
social media coverage, we’ll provide insight and context to the
proposals, people and policies mentioned during the speech.

I’m excited to have this new experience — the Augmented State Of The Union — and interested to see how this technology — real time analysis overlayed on the event– effects my perception of the speech.  I am also interested in what the prospect of this style of reporting might do to speechmaking in the future.  We have all too often seen politicians lie, or misstate facts, and get away with it. Imagine of the crawl at the bottom of the cable news screen offered statistics and analysis — meta data — to enhance or refute the case being made by the politicians.

Of course, in a political and media ecology where each side seems to think they are entitled to their own facts, the added information may serve to confuse rather than add clarity.

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