NBC Battles to Keep Kucinich Out of the Debate

Some principles are worth fighting for: like the cherished right of television networks to decide who is and who is not a legitimate candidate for president.NBC Universal Inc. is a major media conglomerate. And major media conglomerates have traditionally been able to police the parameters of presidential politics. Any affront to this order of affairs is a threat to the ability of corporations to define the American discourse.

That’s what is at stake as NBC fights to limit the amount of information Nevada Democrats have available to them before they caucuses on Saturday to choose delegates to the Democratic National Convention. So the network has announced that its crack legal team will work through the night to overturn a judge’s order that Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich be included in the last pre-caucus debate between the Democratic presidential contenders.

On the day after the New Hampshire primary, when New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson was still in the race, Kucinich, Richardson, New York Senator Hillary Clinton, Illinois Senator Barack Obama and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards were invited to participate in the debate scheduled to be televised on MSNBC from 9 to 11 p.m. Tuesday.

Debate organizers wanted Richardson in the forum and knew that they could not exclude Kucinich, who was running ahead of the New Mexican in several national polls. So they grudgingly contacted the Kucinich campaign, which participated last week in initial planning discussions for the debate.

But when Richardson dropped out of the race on Thursday, the network yanked the invitation to Kucinich, who has stirred up past forums — and distinguished himself from Clinton, Obama and Edwards — by calling for the rapid withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, advocating for the impeachment of members of the Bush administration, and even discussing the damage done to the political process by media monopolies.

The Kucinich campaign sued NBC over the network’s decision to conduct a closed debate. And Senior Clark County District Court Judge Charles Thompson ruled Monday that the congressman must be allowed to participate. Arguing that Nevada voters — and, by extension, the Democratic nominating process in which they are playing a high-profile role — would benefit by hearing from more than just NBC-favored contenders Clinton, Obama and Edwards, Judge Thompson said, “I don’t think that just deciding that just three is good enough for the state of Nevada is a legitimate basis (for dropping Kucinich).”

“Had it been established at the beginning that they’ll only take the top three for the debates, I wouldn’t have any problem enforcing it,” the judge explained to NBC’s lawyers. “I’m somewhat offended that a legitimate candidate was invited to a debate and then uninvited under circumstances that appear to be that they just decided to exclude him.”

How offended? Judge Thompson told the network’s lawyers that any move to exclude Kucinich would lead him to issue an injunction to stop the televised debate.

This threat to its ability to police the discourse was an affront that NBC would not let stand. “We disagree with the judge’s decision and are filing an appeal,” declared Jeremy Gaines, a vice president for MSNBC, who announced that the cable channel’s parent network would demand an immediate hearing before the Nevada Supreme Court.

Kucinich’s lawyers will battle to preserve Judge Thompson’s ruling, and the candidate’s right to a participate in the forum. They have fewer resources, but are possessed of one commodity that the broadcast and cable network seem to lack: an understanding that democracy is best served by free and open debate.

via//Nation, The

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Posted in American Politics, Censorship, Democrats, Elections, Media, Op/Ed, Politics
One comment on “NBC Battles to Keep Kucinich Out of the Debate
  1. Nina says:

    Gas Tax? OMG we can solve this problem so easily.


    I can solve the economy problem and am wondering why no one else sees it as simple as I do.

    This country needs a new market one that the US is very good at.

    Well, what products do Americans export the most? I am not an expert but I see Coke Budweiser and Tobacco everywhere around the world.

    We sell chemical mood enhancers around the world at superior product quality and for cheaper cost than anyone else in the world. We need to tap into the new market that marajuana could offer our farmers and this country.

    We need a president that will step outside the box take a stand and recognize this opportunity to bring the US back to a top exporter, create jobs, help farmers and reinvigorate the economy.

    There is a demand for this product. A product that is safer than alcohol and all natural with little need for addities or preservatives. You can grow it again and again fairly quickly like tobacco.

    We sell caffiene, nicotine and alcohol all which have pluses and minuses, marajuana has them too and we have the best farmland in the world. We could be the top suppliers in the world on a global scale.

    Imagine the possibilities if the tobacco industry got involved and started this market.

    This country would be out of recession and a huge boost to the economy would occur and desperately needed jobs would be instantly created.


    What are the reasons that these politicians deny this market that we could tap into?

    We would have such a boost to the econmy we could fund universal healthcare like they have in every other civilized country.

    This country was founded by people with a pioneering spirit. We need a pioneering president to break new ground open new markets and rejuvenate this country and get us to love it and believe in it once again.

    Strengthing the home and heartland especially USA farmers would make this country strong.

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