Categorized | National, Opinion, Politics

Rigged Presidential ‘Debates’ Amidst The Supine Media

 

Pathetic mainstream press fails to ask the real questions

 

By Ralph Nader
Nader.org

 

The three upcoming so-called presidential debates (actually parallel interviews) between Obama and Romney show the pathetic mainstream campaign press
for what it is – a mass of dittoheads desperately awaiting
gaffes or
some visual irregularity by any of the candidates.

The press certainly does not demand elementary material from the candidates such as the secret debate contract negotiated by the Obama and Romney campaigns that controls the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), the campaigns’ corporate offspring.

A similar secret contract between George W. Bush and John Kerry in 2004, obtained by George Farah, executive director of Open Debates (www.opendebates.org) showed just how the two Parties rig the debate process. Both Parties agreed that they would: (1) not request any additional debates, (2) not appear at any other debate or adversarial forum with any other presidential or vice presidential candidate, and (3) not accept any television or radio air time offers that involve a debate format. Were this deal to be between two corporations, they could be prosecuted for criminal violation of the antitrust laws.

 This year voters are not allowed to know about the current backroom fix between Obama and Romney.

Farah revealed more. The Bush/Kerry closeout of the voters and the media extended to their agreeing not to ask each other direct questions but only rhetorical questions, and to clear any questions from the audience by their chosen moderator prior to the debates. Of course third party candidates are excluded. In 2000 and 2004, national polls showed majorities wanting me in the debates – the only way non-billionaires could reach tens of millions of voters – but the captive CPD and their compliant director, Janet Brown, created other exclusionary barriers.

Nothing seems to motivate the mainstream campaign press into challenging the two Party duopoly, its definition of important questions, or the rancid corporate sponsorship of the debates down to the hospitality parties the corporatists hold at the debate locations in Colorado, New York and Florida this October. The reporters must like the free wine and food.

Nor did the supine press inform the voters of recent written requests by numerous organizations in the Pittsburgh, District of Columbia and Portland, Oregon regions inviting the presidential candidates to debate in these areas (http://nader.org/2012/09/18/ralph-nader-dc-organizations-call-for-presidential-debate/). Heaven forbid that the people strive to shape the presidential debate process and weaken the duopoly’s grip. Imagine a democratic process.

Substantively, the supine press applies its own rules.

Rule One is to avoid pressing questions that extend the public’s agenda beyond what the two major candidates are wrangling over. 

So if they don’t debate pulling back from unauthorized wars, invasions, incursions or other important foreign policy moves they are not asked.

Rule Two is to ignore what major civic groups or groups with credible track records propose for the candidates to address.

So Obama and Romney are not pressed by the press to expressly respond to many important issues including: what they would do on law enforcement against corporate crime, fraud and abuse, whether they favor a $10 minimum wage that catches up to 1968, inflation adjusted, for thirty million workers, or on their positions on either a Wall Street speculation tax that can raise big money or even a carbon tax.

Union organizing rights, workers’ health and safety, and a variety of important consumer protections are scarcely on the press table even when their own colleagues often report on these timely subjects.

When a matter is super-timely and they can interview the nation’s foremost expert on the politics of presidential debates – George Farah, author of No Debate – the major media is not interested. They have rejected his op-eds. Apart from local radio shows, he cannot get on national public radio, public TV or the commercial networks. It is not for lack of space and time being devoted to the Presidential campaigns.

I know Farah. He worked for me over a decade ago, right out of Princeton before going to Harvard Law School. He is an interviewers’ dream –speaks crisply, cogently and convincingly.

Maybe reporters should be given “curiosity training sessions” about what the public needs and wants to know but that the candidates are not interested in discussing.

Maybe columnists should work with the people on the ground instead of just working off clips and dealing with political flaks who restrict access to the candidates. Some columnists could benefit from a sabbatical for self-renewal.

Maybe editors and producers should expand beyond the usual “talking heads” and give the many important outside voices and movements some deserved coverage.

Our country needs a better performance by the major media that is stuck in routines, ruts and stagnant self-censorship from the national to the local levels. This is especially true of the concentrated television industry that uses our public airwaves, free of charge.

* * * * * * * * * *

The Humboldt Sentinel greatly appreciates Mr. Nader allowing us to share his column with our readers.

His biography is extensive.  Mr. Nader is a political activist, author, lecturer, and attorney.  Areas of particular concern to him include consumer protection, humanitarianism, environmentalism, and democratic government.

Ralph Nader has been called one of America’s most effective social critics.  His documented criticism of government and industry has had widespread effect on public awareness and bureaucratic power galvanizing a population of consumer advocates, citizen activists, and public interest lawyers who in turn have established their own organizations throughout the country.

Since 1966, Nader has been responsible for: at least eight major federal consumer protection laws such as the motor vehicle safety laws, Safe Drinking Water Act;  the launching of federal regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Environment Protection Agency (EPA), and Consumer Product Safety Administration; the recall of millions of defective motor vehicles; access to government through the Freedom of Information Act of 1974; and for many lives saved.

In his career as consumer advocate he founded many organizations including the Center for Study of Responsive Law, the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the Center for Auto Safety, Public Citizen, Clean Water Action Project, the Disability Rights Center, the Pension Rights Center, the Project for Corporate Responsibility and The Multinational Monitor (a monthly magazine).

Mr. Nader’s articles can be seen at his website Nader.Org.

7 Responses to “Rigged Presidential ‘Debates’ Amidst The Supine Media”

  1. The ultimate debate cop out to me was, the debate between Bush and Gore. The Bush folks threatened Gore with lawsuits about Gore making campaign calls from his office (which he had already paid fines for). In exchange for dropping these lawsuits, which Gore felt would personally cripple him financially, Gore agreed not to bring up Bush’s environmental record in Texas. Apparently, he agreed to keep off this subject not only in the debates, but also not to make any mention of this in the entire campaign. I felt at the time that it was a cowardly deal for Gore to make, and I’m sure this decision had a lot to do with his defeat. For me, the environmental issues were the main reason that Gore made a good candidate. All we heard from him was, you know how I stand on the environment.

  2. high class says:

    Interesting! I haven’t read anything like this before.
    Good to find a person with genuine thoughts on
    this. Seriously… thanks for starting this up. This is
    required on the web, someone with originality!

  3. home says:

    Thank you for the good writeup.

  4. When you move that intention forward each day you create momentum.
    In addition to, being thrifty does not guarantee that you will become rich.
    With all of the empty industrial buildings in major metropolitan areas (think cities like Detroit) there is ample chance to rehabilitate these
    existing structures to incorporate a biofuel station for use near a
    new power plant.

  5. Demi says:

    I like what you guys are usually up too. This type of clever work and exposure!

    Keep up the very good works guys I’ve included you guuys to my own blogroll.

  6. gia Ca Phe says:

    I blog quite often and I genuinely thank you for
    your information. Your article has truly peaked my interest.
    I will book mark your website and keep checking for new information about once per week.
    I opted in for your RSS feed as well.

  7. Rickey says:

    Hi to every body, it’s my first visit to this webpage. It carries remarkable and excellent material for visitors.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks


Leave a Reply

HumSentinel on Twitter

RSS Progressive Review

  • Emergency room visits jump despite Obamacare
    USA Today - Three-quarters of emergency physicians say they've seen ER patient visits surge since Obamacare took effect — just the opposite of what many Americans expected would happen.A poll released  by the American College of Emergency Physicians shows that 28% of 2,099 doctors surveyed nationally saw large increases in volume, while 47% saw slight i […]
  • Bill Clinton still at large
    Politico - Bill Clinton firmly asserted that the foundation he started after his presidency has not done anything “knowingly inappropriate” in accepting foreign cash while his wife was secretary of state..... His justification for his own $500,000-a-pop speaking fees — “I gotta pay our bills” — and his insistence that his family is held to unfair standards, […]
  • Election commission char all but giving up on reigning in money influence
    Associated Press […]
  • States moving away from traditional prison approaches with popular support
    Susan K. Urahn, Governing -  The federal prison population has grown nearly 800 percent since 1980 as lawmakers created new criminal penalties, mandated longer sentences and abolished parole. During this period, federal inmates' average time served increased from 15.9 months to 40.1. Taxpayers now spend $6.7 billion each year on federal prisons, with co […]
  • Peak Internet coming?
    Daily Mail, UK - In just 20 years, if usage rates continue, all of Britain's power supply could be consumed by internet use.The cables and fibre optics that send information to our laptops, smartphones and tablets will have reached their limit to send data within eight years, experts warn.So far, engineers have managed to keep ahead of demand, increasin […]
  • Large ocean dead zones found off Africa
    Independent UK - Swathes of oxygen-deprived water up to 100 miles long, unable to sustain any form of animal life, have been found in the Atlantic, scientists have said.Researchers of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany discovered the unexpectedly low oxygen environments several hundred kilometres off the coast of West Africa.A pap […]
  • How to produce 6,000 pounds of food in a tenth of an acre
    Natural Society […]
  • Word
    I take a grave view of the press. It is the weak slat under the bed of democracy. - AJ Liebling […]
  • Morning line
    Based on our three poll moving average, Hillary Clinton is in a statistical tie with Rubio and Paul. She is six points ahead of Bush and Cruz, 7 points ahead of Walker and has a double digit lead over all other Republicans. Bush and Rubio are tied at 15 and Walker has 12 points. Paul has 10 and everyone else is in single digits. […]
  • Speaking of riots
    "The task we've got ahead of us now is an awkward one. It's untidy. And freedom's untidy. And free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things. They're also free to live their lives and do wonderful things”—U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, on April 11, 2003, in reference to looting in Baghdad and el […]
  • Word
    […]
  • One in six species threatened with extinction by climate change
    Common Dreams - One in six of all animal and plant species on Earth could become extinct from impacts related to climate change if human society does not dramatically reduce its emission of greenhouse gases, according to new research published in the journal Science.Conducted as a meta-analysis of existing research done on the possible impact of climate chan […]
  • Senate votes that humans not responsible for climate change
    McClatchy - The Senate rejected the scientific consensus that humans are causing climate change, days after NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared 2014 the hottest year ever recorded on Earth.The Republican-controlled Senate defeated a measure Wednesday stating that climate change is real and that human activity significantly c […]
  • Why we lost the war on terror
    From our overstocked archivesSam Smith, 2007 -The other morning I got confused and used the wrong national metaphor. I had just read an AP story that started:"Three suspected Islamic terrorists from an al-Qaida-influenced group nursing 'profound hatred of U.S. citizens' were arrested on suspicious of plotting imminent, massive bomb attacks on […]
  • What's happening
    Independent Lens PBS, 10:00 pm ET - Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson's film "Kumu Hina" profiles Hina Wong-Kalu, a transgender teacher seen counseling a Hawaiian youngster about embracing masculine and feminine traits alike. Both individuals benefit greatly from the their common pursuit of pride and acceptance, with the educator also getting fresh in […]