Kucinich a loser, NBC unfairly decides

NBC, in its infinite political wisdom, has declared that Democrat Dennis Kucinich should not be exposed to the public as a candidate for the presidency of the United States. While he may be qualified, he is not viable, NBC has summarily declared.

Only two days ago NBC had invited Rep. Kucinich to take part in the network’s Jan. 15 debate co-hosted by the Nevada Democratic Party. But, according to today’s The Hill, NBC “disinvited” him.

NBC had invited the long-shot candidate on Jan. 9 but rescinded its decision Friday morning, when NBC Political Director Chuck Todd informed the Kucinich camp that the network was “redoing” its participation criteria, according to the campaign.

The lawmaker had qualified for the debate by coming in fourth in a national poll with 3 percent.

However, NBC changed its criteria to focus the debate on the three candidates with a realistic shot of winning the nomination — Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), Barack Obama (Ill.) and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.).

Rep. Kucinich says he may sue. He ought to, because the NBC decision is disingenous on so many levels. Changing the rules in middle of the game is un-American. Going back on your word is un-American. Narrowing the range of ideas offered through your news division is un-American (but probably highly corporate).

Aren’t we all tired of news organizations deciding who voters should or should not hear from? The Iowa caucuses had a turnout of about 347,000 people. New Hampshire had a turnout of about 527,000, about 60 percent of the state’s registered voters. Both turnouts were records.

That’s not even 1 percent of the approximately 122 million Americans expected to vote in November, a 17-million increase from the record 2000 presidential turnout of 105 million. (See estimate, turnout study.)

Yet media adopt early “winners.” The “winners” cash in with more campaign donations. Those candidates whose strengths lie in other geographic regions, such as New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, are penalized. Still other candidates, such as Kucinich, who, we must admit, carries a certain “kook” factor, see their efforts – and their thinking about public policy issues — shown the door instead of the podium.

I have no fervor for the candidates catching the media’s fancy on both the GOP and Democratic sides. Perhaps I will at some point.

But at the moment, I’m tired of my choices being limited by network news nitwits.

20 replies »

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  2. In effect, corporations are deciding who Americans should vote for. What to do about that?


  4. saldy madd blogger…free health care for all americans is a kook factor in our orwellian society…but consider me a kook (and a kooch kook at that!)

    if you want to do something complain to NBC, MSNBC and anyone else you can…
    i have used the debate question form at msnbc to ask that kucinich be reinvited…as well as emailing the ms/nbc muck-a-mucks…

  5. One day Kucinich asks for a recount in New Hampshire, the next day NBC is booting him from the debate.

    What a coincidence.

  6. I am not a big fan of Dennis Kucinich but was outraged at NBC. I wrote and told them. I also wrote to our spineless Congress. This kind of nonsense will go on as long as we the people allow it to. It is time to take back our countryfrom the wingnuts, the crazies and Corporate America.

  7. That a for-profit business corporation is deciding which candidates for President may participate in national debates surely tells us who is really running our United States of America. Our “democracy” is a sick joke, our Congress is owned by corporate interests like NBC, and our Constitution is no more than the “piece of paper” that our current President has contemptuously called it. Happy shopping, fellow Americans.

  8. It happens on both sides of the aisle. The Republicans, with media cooperation, once forcebly ejected Alan Keyes from a presidential debate. That was a sad day in American politics.

    Kucinich should get his podium, much as Keyes should have gotten his.


  9. Don’t forget that Ron Paul was infamously excluded from a Faux News GOP debate in New Hampshire prior to the primary. This led to mobs of his supporters chasing Sean Hannity through the streets, and he still got 10 percent of the vote.

    The media blackout on all but the “anointed” candidates does indeed affect both sides of the aisle, as well as all independent and third-party candidates except in rare circumstances.

  10. best way to get to the networks is to file complaints with fcc, by law each complaint has to be logged and if enough complaints are received , it takes an act of congress for them to renew their license to broadcast annually. no license no lies.

  11. You will need to provide the FCC with specific evidence needed to take immediate regulatory action against the program
    heres a couple links explaining how’

    now the second link is one about fox news , but nbc or cbs or abc can all be subsituted , you just need to be specific in why you are complaining. like that they changed the rules i midstram against kucinich this showing extreme prejudice

  12. rxgary said:” it takes an act of congress for them to renew their license to broadcast annually. no license no lies”

    Actually, congress doesn’t renew licenses, the FCC does. The renewals are rubber stapmed by the FCC anyways. The FCC is easing up on all of their regulations, in every area of the spectrum and all services. Personally speaking, I’ve been an amateur radio operator since I was a pimply high school kid, and have seen much easing in their licensing requirements in the amateur spectrum. They even did away with the Mose code requirement. As far as commercial licenses, the FCC did away with the First Class Phone ticket. The FCC is also making it very easy to get low powered station licenses these days provided you’re a non-profit org. As for complaints to the FCC, most get filed into the circular file. They simply don’t have the manpower to address all of the complaints over all of the broadcasting, interference, and illegal stations operating out there.


  13. I’d like to hear the “kook” factor.. because either I’m smart like I’ve always been told/tested, or I’m a bit nuts and my brain doesn’t work… There’s only 1 thing I’ve seen from Dennis that I didn’t agree with, and I’m pretty sure he’d concede the point to me..

    Another thing to keep in mind… GE->NBC->Hillary/Obama->still in Iraq in 10 years..

    GE won’t let any candidates who “dig for the truth” or “look to stomp out the Military Industrial Complex” get the light of day.

    I also watched the Faux Noise show try to accuse Dennis of only wanting to hit Hillary with his NH count (re- left off intentionally) request. Dennis has been for fixing these broken elections for YEARS, to say his wanting to audit/verify that the “fallible and hackable” machines worked properly isn’t about Hillary, but boy.. try telling that to a right-wing nutjob or most Hillary supporters..

  14. Good news for the Democratic Party. Bad news for Americans. Every time these parties are able to muscle out one of their fringe players, they homogenize their message … and leave people out in the cold. If the BCS can talk about tweaking playoff formats, why can’t American politics? I know, naive question. I’m more disappointed that Chris Dodd threw in the towel as quickly as he did.

  15. Although I agree that it would be better if NBC allowed Kucinich to participate, I think some comments have taken the argument a bit far. The news media, especially television news (a parimarily visual medium), covers elections like races. It doesn’t spend nearly as much time on issues as it does on the latest polls and donation tallies. That’s what gets viewers, and that’s what television as a medium lends itself to, so that’s what the news media does. Kucinich has legitimate things to say, but he’s not competitive in the race (and he never would be, even if he was placed centerstage for every debate in the world). So from NBC’s perspective, there’s really no reason to include him.

    Plus, the more candidates who participate in the debate, the less each of them get to actually say. By keeping out the longshot candidates, NBC provides more airtime to those who are neck-and-neck in the campaign race.

    As I said, I’d prefer if Kucinich were allowed to participate in this debate, but there isn’t any big military-industrial conspiracy to keep him out. It’s simply the logic of the medium.

  16. Polrick:

    You assessment, of course, is correct. But your implied suggestion that viewers should simply accept this status quo — and decisions such as “disinvite” Kucinich — is unacceptable.

    I’m a customer of the medium. Its product is unsatisfactory. So I (and many others) would rather bitch about broadcast news organizations’ failed product than simply roll over and accept it.

    As Robert Heinlein wrote in ‘I Will Fear No Evil’:

    “Much of what’s wrong in this world could be righted if the customer screamed every time he feels cheated.”

    Decisions such as pushing Kucinich out of the debates cheats me. And remember, the b-cast nets are using the public’s airwaves. So this customer is screaming — and I encourage others to do so as well.