Caption Campaign Ads

A grassroots effort to get candidates to make their ads accessible. Besides, it's the law!

The Spirit of Laws Past

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Technically, candidates for federal office don’t have to follow the law requiring captioning of all TV, internet and radio ads. And, technically, the candidates don’t have to caption anything if they post a transcript somewhere nearby. That said, here’s a quick recap on some of our more entertaining races:

Michele Bachmann: If you go to her YouTube channel, you can read a rough (e.g., not always verbatim) transcript below each ad. Simply click the “more info” link for the full text. However, the ad posted on her own website is not captioned and provides no such link to more information.

Tarryl Clark: Unfortunately, Bachmann’s challenger doesn’t even reach this level of accessibility. Her video page on her website and YouTube channel do not provide any captions or transcripts.

Erik Paulsen: We’ve talked with this campaign several times. They’ve posted a number of TV ads, all uncaptioned. The reposted ads on YouTube also do not contain either captions or a transcript.

Jim Meffert: Paulsen’s challenger has been aggressive about using social media tools to court voters. With a smaller budget, they have not had any TV ads to date, but have posted quite a few videos on their YouTube page – with no captions or transcript.

Tim Walz: Earlier we posted kudos for Walz for captioning a TV ad. But other viewers told us that some of his other ads were not captioned. Such conflicting information highlights the need for more feedback from all of you out there! All of his TV ads are posted on his website. They are not captioned, but, as his staff pointed out, they provide a link (scroll below the video) on the video page to downloadble pdfs of all of their transcripts. The YouTube channel does not have such a set of links. Walz is doing more than most, but requiring a pdf download remains far from ideal.

Randy Demmer: Walz’s challenger is not providing any sort of accessibility to the videos on his website or YouTube channel. We are still waiting to hear back from the staff.

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Written by jwyant

October 25, 2010 at 5:07 pm

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