A Click of the Mouse Delivered Power to People Seeking Information on Candidates
In 1999 the Freedom Channel created a nonpartisan World Wide Website, also called The Freedom Channel, offering information about political candidates and their positions on health care and other issues.
The site's developers were the creators of the political news digest Hotline and the health news digest American Healthline, which was created with funding from RWJF (grant ID# CP071).
At the time, Americans were getting most of their information about political candidates from partisan TV ads and "horse race" coverage by the media. These two sources provided relatively little information about political candidates' positions on specific issues, such as health care. Political sites had proliferated on the Web, but the vast majority of these were partisan.
Launched in November 1999, FreedomChannel.com (no longer active) first featured video from presidential candidates and issue groups. Visitors to the site obtained, on demand:
- 90-second videos of presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial candidates from their Year 2000 campaigns addressing an array of issues, including health care, education, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and crime/law enforcement.
- Video position papers by campaigns and advocacy groups (also available in audio and transcript versions).
- A searchable archive of campaign television advertisement and a "daily newsmaker interview."
- Daily political news updates and other features.
Subsequent to its launch, the site added over 1,500 videotapes from congressional and gubernatorial candidates across the country.
FreedomChannel.com produced two manuals—one for participating campaigns, political parties, and issue groups and one for the media—about how to work with the website.