Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich was missing from the stage at last night’s Democratic debate hosted by MSNBC in Las Vegas after he lost a last-minute legal fight with the network over his participation. Last week, NBC told Kucinich that he had met the criteria for the debate. Then, less than two days later, the network changed the criteria and declared that Kucinich was no longer qualified. On Monday, a Nevada judge ordered NBC to include Kucinich but then NBC appealed the ruling and actively fought to keep him off the stage. On Tuesday night, less than an hour before the debate, the Nevada Supreme Court sided with NBC. Democracy Now! decided to break the sound barrier and give Kucinich a chance to take part. In an exclusive broadcast, we re-braodcast excerpts of the debate and give the Ohio Congressman a chance to answer the questions he might have faced if he hadn’t been been silenced.
We turn now to the Democratic debate held last night in Nevada where Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards sparred for two hours on MSNBC.
Missing from the stage was Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich who lost a last-minute legal fight with NBC over his inclusion in the debate. Kucinich had sued the network after it disinvited him from participating.
On Jan. 9, NBC told Kucinich that he had met the criteria for the debate. Then, less than two days later, NBC changed the criteria and declared that Kucinich no longer qualified.
On Monday, a Nevada judge ordered NBC to include Kucinich but then NBC appealed the ruling and actively fought to keep him off the stage.
On Tuesday night, less than an hour before the debate, the Nevada Supreme Court sided with NBC.
In court filings, NBC painted itself as the victim. Attorneys for the network wrote, “Mr. Kucinich’s claim is nothing more than an illegitimate private cause of action designed to impose an equal access requirement that entirely undermines the wide journalistic freedoms enjoyed by news organizations under the First Amendment.”
Attorneys for NBC also argued, “A television station does not have to grant unlimited access to a candidate debate. If anyone’s First Amendment rights are being infringed, they are MSNBC’s.”
In his lawsuit, Kucinich argued NBC – which is owed by General Electric – illegally shut him out of the debate because of his views.
The lawsuit states, “The exclusion of Kucinich undermines the purposes of the Federal Communications Act and is a blatant violation of the Act because of the media’s obligation to operate in the public interest… NBC revised its criteria to specifically exclude the diverse and anti-war voice of Kucinich and his grass-roots supporters.”
The lawsuit went on to say “The debate is not a true presidential primary debate without including all credible candidates, but instead is effectively an endorsement of the candidates selected by NBC.”
Today, Congressman Dennis Kucinich joins us in Washington. We have decided to give him a chance to take part in last night’s debate in our own way. We will play excerpts of the debate and give the Ohio Congressman a chance to answer the questions he might faced if he hadn’t been been silenced. This is the debate NBC and General Electric didn’t want you to hear. Dennis Kucinich, welcome to Democracy Now.
@ Democracy Now
MSNBC is no better than the corporation that controls it.
Hill and O have been chosen to be the Democratic front runners, not by the will of the people but the will of the corporation, GE. There is method to their madness which I believe is readily apparent, they feed at the Government trough along with Halliburton, Lockheed, and the rest, make no mistake, these people work for the Bush-Cheney crew and their efforts to clean out the Federal coffers at the taxpayers expense.
Hill and O have been chosen to go up against the Rethugs because of their minority status, to level the playing field against the Rethug candidates. If they were two white men they would pose a greater threat to the corporate plan at vote manipulation with the electronic voting machines and whatever dirty tricks they can muster. Take the example of John Edwards an invisible candidate and chosen to be so by the Media in order to promote the less electables instead.
Closet racism is alive and well in this country and so is the womens rights issue.
Their chance of being elected is right around the 50% mark which incidentally allowed the doofus-N-chief to snag his seat.
Kucinich is right to challenge GE and MSNBC and I hope it reveals the real reason that Hill and O are being so heavily promoted.