Fintan O’Toole makes a strong case in today’s Irish Times (sub req’d) that the leaders’ debates on RTÃ‰‘s Prime Time television programme the week before last (the debates are here and here) were crucial to the outcome of last week’s general election. He is not the only person to have said so; comments to this effect were on the lips of many commentators as the result began to become clear. It is a pity, therefore, that RTÃ‰ did not agree to make the debates available online without restriction so that the video can be lawfully share and reused without infringing RTÃ‰’s copyright. They were asked to do, and thought about it, but eventually said no (even though Fianna FÃ¡il, of all parties, urged them otherwise). If they had, then online discusson could have put claims like O’Toole’s into the context of clips from the debates. We could only benefit from a this kind of detailed discussion of the turning points of the debate. Imagine if the threads on IrishElection.com, politics.ie, and elsewhere could have been illustrated by such clips. Perhaps next time.