So Q and A is back for a third season on the ABC. Four things were struck me after sitting through most of the (tedious) first episode
1. It’s the Jerry Springer show for people with degrees (and twitter accounts)
2. Rather than ‘enhancing democracy’, it’s about providing 2 sets of numbers for the ABC’s auditors and Senate Estimates committees: the first showing that the number of partisan commentators are equal on ‘both’ sides; and the second that a large number of #qanda tweets are generated each week, itself a sign of engagement with the show and thus a justification for its continued existence in its current format.
3. This actually diminishes democracy.
4. Rather than embracing interactivity for the sake of it through twitter, the show could be vastly improved by having *actual* expert panels discussing issues relevant to their expertise. For example, you could have three panels: one discussing the government of disaster relief in Queensland, one discussing a particular aspect of the Egyptian revolution, and a third discussing climate change and natural disasters. Some panel would invariably include politicians with expertise in that area to the extent that the shrill demands for ‘balance’ needed to be met to make the format viable.