November 11, 2011 Print

Thanksgiving Family Forum to be Streamed Live on the Internet

by Karla Dial

Six presidential candidates. Four cameras. Thousands of viewers.

That’s what you can expect on Nov. 19, when the Thanksgiving Family Forum — hosted by THE FAMiLY LEADER, cosponsored by CitizenLink and the National Organization for Marriage — quiz most of the hopefuls seeking the Republican presidential nomination about their views on pro-family issues.

C-SPAN announced Thursday it will not broadcast the event from Des Moines, Iowa, citing budget problems — but CitizenLink is stepping in to fill the gap with a live webcast.

“We now have the ability to essentially become our own TV network,” said Stuart Shepard, senior director of media for CitizenLink. “People will be watching the event live on their computers, their iPads and their mobile phones. Even five years ago, we couldn’t do this, but now so many people have a broadband Internet connection that we’re able to share it directly, on our own.”

The video will be on the homepage of CitizenLink.com. And we’ll be streaming it live to Facebook at Facebook.com/CitizenLink, where we’ll be posting photos and comments from beginning to end.

You can also participate by sharing your thoughts with us there, or by following us on Twitter (@CitizenLink). The official hashtag for The Thanksgiving Family Forum is #tff11.

For those without a broadband connection, the Bott Radio Network will carry audio feeds from the Forum on its 89 stations and online at www.bottradionetwork.com. It’s also created an app for people anywhere who’d like to listen on their phones; search for “Bott Radio” in the app store.

Many other radio stations will carry the Forum live as well. We’ll publish a list next week.

“We’re sharing the event in as many ways as we can think of,” Shepard said. “We want families to know where the candidates stand on the social issues, the family issues, and we’re doing our best to get that information out to as many people as we can. It’s exciting to see what we can do with modern technology and a little ingenuity.”

In addition to all the coverage, pollster Frank Luntz — who is moderating the Forum — will be conducting a focus group session afterward with mothers from the live audience, asking them to rate the candidates’ responses to various questions.

“Because it’s a family values forum, we want to talk with the people who run the households about how the candidates expressed themselves on the issues that are important to them,” explained Lowell Baker, senior partner at Luntz Global. “They’ll hold some dials and rate the responses from these candidates, and at a later date, the Fox News Channel will broadcast portions of that focus group.”

If you could ask the candidates anything about personal experiences that have shaped their views on faith and family, what would it be? Tweet your questions to @CitizenLink,using the #tff11 hashtag, or post them on our Facebook page anytime from now through Nov. 18. If we can pose your question to the candidates, we will.

Learn more about the Thanksgiving Family Forum, including ticket prices and location.

CitizenLink Executive Director Tom Minnery wrote an article that appears on The Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog.

Learn more about Luntz Global.