It’s been months since Minnesota gubernatorial candidates Tom Horner (Independent) and Tom Emmer (Republican) signed a promise to close caption their web videos in exchange for thousands of dollars in public subsidies for their respective campaigns. During those months, an estimated 5 to 10 percent of Minnesota voters who are deaf or hard of hearing were unable to access the campaigns’ web video ad content despite the deaf community prodding the campaigns to close caption the web videos.
Within hours of The UpTake publishing an investigation exposing the problem, both the Horner and Emmer campaigns complied with the campaign finance law and captioned their web videos. A Horner campaign worker explained that the campaign thought it was captioning the web videos by using an automated function on You Tube called “machine transcript”. However that function only creates a rough transcript, it doesn’t insert closed captioning.
The Mark Dayton campaign, which isn’t required to caption its web videos because it doesn’t take the public subsidy, had already captioned about half of its videos before The UpTake published its investigation this morning. A Dayton campaign spokesperson says the rest of the campaign videos should be captioned by this evening.
If you’re interested in being a watchdog for closed captioning and helping to make sure that all citizens have access to political campaign information, you should check out http://captioncampaignads.org/