We're From The Media, And We'll Tell You Who To Vote For
ABC News stands accused by Dennis Kucinich of trying to pick the Democratic nominee through a selective policy of coverage:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 10, 2003
The day after Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich took ABC debate moderator Ted Koppel to task for avoiding questions that would be useful to voters in favor of questions about endorsements, money, and polls, ABC pulled its fulltime "embedded" reporter from the Kucinich campaign, a reporter who had been given no warning that such a move was coming and who had discussed at length yesterday with the Kucinich campaign staff her plans and her needs for the coming months.
ABC has reportedly also pulled its reporters from covering the presidential campaigns of Rev. Al Sharpton and Ambassador Carol Mosley-Braun.
This appears to be another instance of what Kucinich criticized at the debate, namely the media trying to pick candidates, rather than letting the voters do so. In a democracy, it should be voters and not pundits or TV networks who narrow the field of candidates.
This move, before any state's caucus or primary, appears based on a belief that viable candidates can be predicted 11 months prior to an election, a belief that flies in the face of the historical record. Time and again candidates dismissed as "fringe" have wound up either with the nomination or with a significant impact on the convention and in the primaries. This action by ABC, as well as Koppel's comments during the debate, can only serve to disempower Americans, communicating to them that someone other than they is deciding elections and that their votes don't mean much.
This action also seems to conflict with the network's interest in boosting ratings and Koppel's expressed interest in making the debate exciting, given that Kucinich received the loudest applause of the evening.
ABC presumably has no vested interest in discouraging voting or in lowering its ratings. It may, however, have an interest in whether Koppel's prediction
of the viability of various candidacies proves true.
For more information: http://www.kucinich.us
Now if only we could get the media to stop covering that guy in the White House who thinks he's president.
A local New Hampshire woman noticed something strange also:
The value of thorns
By Beth Todgham on December 11, 2003
I used to work at The Union Leader. It was long after Bill Loeb was gone, but there was a Bob Dix cartoon of him that hung in the offices of many old-time Union Leader employees. The quote that was featured read: "I don't care what people think ... as long as they think."
That's how I view the candidacies of Kucinich, Sharpton and Moseley-Braun ... they often say what needs to be said but too often isn't. Having them as part of the primary process provides balance for those of us who walk down the middle of the road.
Does anyone actually time the debates to see if all candidates have an equal opportunity to speak? My "spin" on the evening was that the seven other candidates had more "face time" with the cameras than either Dean or Kerry. I was struck by how little Howard Dean had to say the other night at the televised debate. John Kerry didn't seem to have too many opportunities to speak either. I'd be curious to know if my observations are correct - or whether they're just another gut feeling that's an important part of my personal Primary Politics decision-making process.
I had been invited to a Chili Tour stop on the Kerry campaign. A local firehouse was hosting the event as part of the firefighters' endorsement of Kerry. It was obvious that despite the polls, the press hasn't given up on Kerry. C-Span was airing the event live and CNN was there with a full camera crew as well.
I questioned the man next to me as to whether the fact that the union had come out in support of Kerry would make a difference in his vote. He indicated that the endorsement caused him to take a closer look at the man, but that when it came right down to it, the final decision would be his and it wouldn't be based on someone else's opinion, it would based on his own.
If you agree with the popular feeling that the press is trying to reduce the field, perhaps giving candidates Sharpton, Moseley-Braun and Kucinich more airtime before they disappear was the right thing to do. The feedback I received from people I spoke to said that the debate would have been pretty boring without Kucinich, Sharpton and Moseley-Braun. Their comments added spice to the event. There's always room for a few thorns in a room where debates are happening.
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