Dan Rather Takes HD Look at Touch-Screen Voting

Aug 16, 2007  •  Post A Comment

HDNet’s weekly investigative reporting series “Dan Rather Reports” premiered a special about the failure of touch-screen voting machines Tuesday.
“The Trouble With Touch Screens” is an hourlong presentation about how defective voting machines may have altered the outcome of various elections, the network said.
Mr. Rather, who investigated the piece for eight months, thinks the report will be a real eye-opener.
“There’s very little transparency about who makes the voting machines, how they’re made and why,” he said in an interview. “There’s very little accountability.”
The report revealed the voting machines are manufactured in Manila, Philippines, with some components coming from China. Mr. Rather said the company primarily responsible for manufacturing the machines is actually in Venezuela.
“They’re made by workers who make $2 a day,” Mr. Rather said. “I think most Americans would be unsettled to learn that.”
Mr. Rather is aware that, because the program is airing on a smaller network, it will not have the immediate impact that it might have had on a larger network like CBS, where he formerly anchored the evening news.
“It will be interesting to see the ongoing impact of a story like this,” he said. “We have seen some impact from just one clip from the show being on the Internet, even before the program goes on air.”
HDNet’s Mark Cuban has given him complete editorial and creative control, which is something larger networks can’t offer, Mr. Rather said. He can now focus completely on the quality of the work rather than the quantity of the audience.
Mr. Rather said he agrees with Mr. Cuban’s slogan that HDNet is “Television like you’ve never seen it before,” and he feels the program benefits from being shot in high definition.
“When we take you to Manila in this program, you see Manila closer to what you would be seeing if you were there with your actual eyes than any other kind of television,” he said. “And when you see the plant, you get a better, crisper and sharper picture of it. It’s high definition in its best form.”
Mr. Rather has always appreciated high-definition television. Even before coming to HDNet, he pointed out, he owned a small HDTV set. However, since joining the network, he said he has upgraded to three larger HD sets.
When he’s not tuning in to “Dan Rather Reports,” Mr. Rather said his favorite HD programming is sports.
“The Trouble With Touch Screens” will have encore presentations throughout the week on HDNet and is available online at HD.net.

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