WHY ARE THEY FIGHTING HARD TO
SILENCE THIS MAN?
You Have To Ask Yourself Why Someone Would
Spend To Quiet His Voice
by Tim Watts 011508
the early going, Dennis Kucinich was in all the Democratic
presidential debates. No one said a word to the contrary about it, at least
not until the people really started to respond, with rousing,
thunderous cheers of support for the message that they were hearing
on the campaign trail.
Then, suspiciously enough, the debate hosts
suddenly slowed the number of questions that were directed towards
the six-term Congressman, sometimes waiting 45 minutes into the
debate before they would even address him, and only then with a
question that some might argue was specifically tailored to steer
his answer, while attempting to neuter his message.
As a last resort, they simply quit inviting him.
Not only did they not invite him, but they spent big money on
high priced corporate lawyers to make sure that he didn't get
the chance to speak.
Now why would anyone do that, especially to a
campaign that doesn't have the money to make a major assault on the
media? Why not just let the campaign exhaust itself of money as the
big spenders buy their ticket to stay in the race to the end?
What is it about Kucinich's message that could be
threatening to some?
Hmmm... let's think for a moment on that one.
Universal not-for-profit healthcare
for everyone, a plan that cuts big pharmaceutical, the insurance
companies and HMOs out of their obscene profit scheme, where one
third of healthcare cost goes directly to their pockets for
profit. Trillions with a capital T.
Then there's the repealing of NAFTA, a
program set to make the banks and the corporate elite hundreds of
billions in profits, with trillions on the line, much at the
expense of third world countries and human rights, not to mention
the loss of American jobs.
Another issue might be getting out
of the Iraq war now, a plan exclusive to Kucinich that
would obviously cost the defense industry, as well as the new
private mercenary contractors, hundreds of billions, if not
trillions of dollars in revenue.
Don't forget about Kucinich's pledge to decrease
our nation's dependence on foreign oil and to work for a
green economy, a plan that would affect hundreds of billions
in immediate profits to the oil and energy barons of this country,
again, with trillions at stake.
Probably the most threatening of all is his
resolve on ending the corrupt Federal Reserve System, a
cartel of ultra-rich billionaires and trillionaires that control
every facet of society and government. Their profit from this
corrupt system has literally been hundreds upon hundreds of
billions, if not trillions of dollars since the Federal Reserve
cabal was enacted.
And those are just the obvious i$$ue$, off the
top of the head.
The point is, a Kucinich Presidency means the
end of the road for corporate corruption and its dominance of our
government. Period. Plain and simple. It's really that easy to
The huge elephant in the room here is undeniably
money and corporate avarice, leaving the official excuse for
exclusion from the presidential debates as disingenuous and feeble
at best to those with even the slightest hint of sentient
Don't be so naive to think though that these
powers that be are that easy to unseat. They are well steeped in
vast financial resources and are firmly entrenched into our
government and political system.
Take the first debate exclusion, the Iowa debates.
Iowa is the second largest insurance state in the country. The
insurance industry certainly didn't want not-for-profit health
care rubbed in their face in their own backyard. Officials of AARP, an
organization with a major health insurance association, obliged by
dropping Kucinich from the Iowa debate.
Then it was on to New Hampshire, just a mere
stone's throw from the number one insurance capitol of the nation,
Hartford, Connecticut. They didn't want to hear any of it either,
nor did sponsor ABC, who arbitrarily cut Kucinich from the debate.
Next up in the primary exclusion process was
Nevada where the host network NBC played its own role in the debate
NBC's Jenny Backus originally sent an e-mail on
January 9th to the Kucinich campaign saying the Congressman had met
the criteria set by NBC. Then, barely two days later, NBC News
political director Chuck Todd called the Kucinich campaign to rescind
the invitation by suddenly and unexpectedly changing the rules, to
then allow only the top three candidates to debate.
The Kucinich campaign then filed a lawsuit, in
Nevada state court, claiming a breach of contract with NBC to
include Dennis in the debate. District Judge J. Charles Thompson
ruled in Kucinich's favor, restricting NBC from even having the
debate without Kucinich. Judge Thompson openly said that Kucinich
was "uninvited under
circumstances that appear to be that they just decided to exclude
NBC indeed fought extra hard to keep
Kucinich out of the debate, surprisingly, after they said he had
already qualified and they had officially invited him. NBC then
implicated themselves of bias by initiating some very calculated and
deliberate moves in their steadfast efforts to silence a legitimate
That sounds odd doesn't it, a Congressman being
silenced by a news organization? The vaunted protector of democracy
and our political system, was actually attacking the very system
that it is meant to protect, not to mention manipulating the
campaign process to boot (as did ABC). This isn't hallmark of a
reputable news organization, but rather sinks to the ethics of
To add insult to injury, as NBC violated
Kucinich's own personal first amendment right to free speech,
they then claimed that he violated their corporate first
amendment right to free press, a rather interesting
juxtaposition for a news organization to make, daring to openly
trump free speech with freedom of the press.
NBC could have just allowed Kucinich in as
planned, rather than make all the fuss, but the network showed a
clear-cut resolve and personal bias by taking the resolute and
exhaustive steps that it did.
NBC made three premeditated, very determined
efforts to stop Kucinich from speaking in the debate:
1) They went out of their way to
re-write their inclusion criteria so as to force Kucinich out of a
debate that he had already qualified for under previous rules
and had been officially invited to.
2) After a lower court had already ruled in
Kucinich's favor, the network took the extra step to fight
the case all the way to the Nevada Supreme Court. They put their
best lawyers on it, working overnight mind you, to
suppress free speech!
3) They went so far as to
change the broadcast from airwaves, cable & satellite to just
cable and satellite, to keep it legally out of FCC jurisdiction.
Had it played on the local affiliates, then equal time would have to
be been given to Kucinich. In order to keep from granting Kucinich
the equal time under the Fairness Doctrine, NBC offered a concession
to the court and "claimed" that they were pulling the debate
broadcast from the local airwaves, thus negating the equal time
issue before the court.
Here is a
quote from Donald J. Campbell, legal counsel for NBC, as he was
asked by a Nevada Supreme Court judge based in Reno on the local NBC
affiliate advertising that it would run the debate over the
"MSNBC, in discussions with me your honor, has stated, that it is
their intention to show this only on MSNBC particularly if that
would have any bearing on the application of the court’s decision
Listen to the full Court Proceeding ]
First off, he clearly identifies
that he himself spoke with NBC and not someone from his office, so
he has this information as first hand knowledge.
Secondly, he states that NBC's
intent was for a cable only broadcast. This it seems was, to
put it best, a disingenuous claim on the part of NBC and General
Thirdly, Campbell appears to
offer the no airwaves proffer as a legal coercion to the
judge, as a bargaining chip, "particularly
if that would have any bearing on the application of the court’s
decision here today."
They seemingly tossed it out as a dangling
carrot, to hopefully persuade and seal the deal for the
judge's ruling. Legal bribery is probably not the best term, but
legal insurance isn't too far off.
Seriously... how desperate is that when a media
giant is willing to cut viewership, their bread and butter, in a
concerted effort to withhold a legitimate presidential candidate
from participating in a public political debate?
The audience that needed to see the debate most...
the people of Nevada, who had their own state primary coming up that
week, were somewhat disenfranchised by NBC who admittedly refused to
show the debate locally, only so that they could purposely withhold
Kucinich from the debate.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is a blatantly
desperate decision on the part of NBC.
And how then is Campbell and NBC's proffer
viable as an option when only moments before Mr. Campbell had just
claimed that there would be no airwaves broadcast? How was
there any bargaining chip left then at that point?
This also has the clear inference
that NBC was indeed planning all along to broadcast over the
airwaves to their local affiliates, contrary to the adamant claims
in a court of law, the Supreme Court of Nevada, that there was an
early morning agreement not to broadcast locally.
Campbell then reiterates the
cable only claim a second time to the court and then follows
up with an even more heinous claim:
"We are going forward based solely that this is cable, or pay
service, um, show, not on broadcast, so we’re going to eliminate
any application of that particular statutory scheme in that regard,
So the answer is no. And I have had that discussion with NBC as late
as this morning… uh, with NBC headquarters in New York."
Again, he states twice that it is intended to be a
cable only broadcast. This is extremely important to note as
it is the sole legal basis for NBC's argument. But then, in the same
breath, Campbell showed NBC's true colors by openly admitting that
they were cutting the airwaves broadcast for the sole purpose
of avoiding the Fairness Doctrine regulation and to avoid giving
Kucinich equal time.
How can it be said that the claim by Campbell and
NBC was disingenuous to the Nevada Supreme Court? Take the following
comments from NBC affiliate KRNV TV General Manager Mary Beth
Farrell, when asked what time she first knew they would not
carry the debate locally:
"We found out at about five… oh between 5:20… I’d
say around 5:20 that day, PM, our time."
When asked if that was with the Supreme Court ruling,
she replied, "Uh, huh" in clear agreement yes.
Farrell then confirmed that they had indeed
intended to carry the broadcast all along, contrary to the claim
by Campbell of an alleged early morning NBC New York
corporate decision not to air the debate over the local Nevada
did (intend to carry the debate). Up until NBC told us they wouldn’t
give us permission to do so. (Which Farrell previously
claimed was around 5:20pm). We had planned, uh, ya know, not to
air... we are normally a 6pm news cast there, uh, so we were not
going to air that. We were just going to take the debate from six.
It was supposed to run until 8:00. So it was kind of short notice,
but uh, yeah, we were… I was disappointed because I really wanted to
The same can be said for the NBC
affiliate in Las Vegas. When asked if they were intending to show
the debate that night, KVBC TV News Assignment Editor Miriam
Firestone replied as follows:
"Yeah, we were planning on airing the debate and not having a six
o'clock newscast. When the decision came down, we went with our six
When asked what
that decision came about, Firestone replied, "Oh
gosh, about 5:15."
When questioned further, Firestone
"Yeah. We got the decision when it was posted on the Supreme Court
website. That was the only way we were able to find it out."
The Nevada Supreme Court ruling was
published on the internet shortly after 5:00 pm (PST). Officials for
KRNV Reno and KVBC
Las Vegas claim that they didn't hear about the debate being
cancelled for airwaves broadcast until between 5:15 and 5:20,
not early in the morning as Campbell claimed to the court.
Campbell claimed before the
Nevada Supreme Court that he had spoken with NBC corporate
headquarters in New York that morning when the decision for
no local airwaves broadcast was made, yet according to the local
affiliates, that is clearly not the case. The NBC corporate story is
clearly contradicted by both of the local affiliates. It appears to
be two-to-one over corporate, in the Nevada locals' favor.
With Nevada being
three hours behind the East coast, surely a morning corporate
decision in New York would have meant a very early morning
call to Nevada, being much farther behind on West coast time. There
was clearly enough time to notify their affiliates, yet they didn't.
The important issue
to understand here is that valuable program content was at stake.
The New York headquarters would never be so insensitive that it
would forget to call its West coast affiliates and tell them they
were going to need news content for that evening. That call would
have been made immediately upon a decision, yet clearly it
wasn't, casting serious doubt that the corporate decision
claimed by Campbell was ever really made at all.
This is the media giant who after the
New Hampshire primaries said they would be cutting the Nevada debate
down to just the top four Democrats from New Hampshire. When
the number four man, Bill Richardson, dropped out and number five,
Dennis Kucinich, suddenly moved up to number four, NBC then quickly
and unexpectedly adjusted their criteria again and said it
would allow only the top three finishers.
It is interesting to note that in each of the NBC
debate criteria adjustments, Dennis Kucinich was just under the
inclusion criteria and was omitted from the debate.
If all of this doesn't have you asking the obvious
questions about a fervent motive from NBC to exclude Kucinich
from the debate, then here's this undeniable fact to consider:
NBC and MSNBC are owned by corporate giant GE,
General Electric, one of the world's largest military contractors,
but also a company that makes and sells nuclear power plants. The
Yucca Mountain issue and the storage of nuclear waste is
certainly a hot potato, a volatile topic that they would just as
soon not become a debate issue. The use of Yucca Mountain is
critical to the long range deployment of nuclear power plants by
General Electric, and a potential trillion dollar industry.
The accusation that GE/NBC would purposely
withhold Kucinich from the debate, due to his policies affecting GE,
has merit and considerable weight when considering that GE/NBC
canned Phil Donahue's nightly talk show due to his stance against
the Iraq war.
In a confidential memo that was leaked and became
public, NBC stated that Donahue would be a
"difficult public face for
NBC in a time of war.... He seems
to delight in presenting guests who are anti-war, anti-Bush and
skeptical of the administration's motives."
continued that Donahue's show could be "a home for the liberal
anti-war agenda at the same time that our competitors are waving the
flag at every opportunity."
Further evidence of NBC programming bias was the
removal of all mentions of nuclear waste from their 1999 dramatic
mini-series called Atomic Train. In yet another instance, for
a Today Show segment on consumer boycotts, guest Todd Putnam was
told not to report on one of the largest boycotts in the
country at the time, that of GE for it's roll as a defense
contractor and its profiting from the production and sale of nuclear
In the end, it was the corporate media that
purposefully held Dennis Kucinich out of the debates. In Iowa it
was media giant Gannett and its newspaper the Des Moines Register.
In New Hampshire it was ABC and in Nevada it was NBC. A shameful
discourse on the protectors of our Republic and the democracy for
which it used to stand.
What happened to the day when debates were
sponsored by impartial groups, such as the League of Women Voters?
What happened to the day when the media merely covered the election
proceedings, instead of trying to shape them and manipulate them?
And if you still don't believe that the media
refuses to cover the message of Kucinich, then see it with your own
eyes with a media track of all US coverage of the six-term
To coin an old phrase, "seeing is believing."
The only media spike for Kucinich was on the Cheney
A larger graph can be found here, along with a video explanation
As Paul Harvey is best known for, "and now you
know the rest of the story."
As the old saying goes, politics makes for strange
bedfellows, yet little did we ever think our hallowed press would
ever be caught in such a sordid affair. Murrow would most likely
roll over in his grave. Somewhere, Cronkite most surely feels the
When a (formerly) esteemed news
organization makes a case to suppress a person's right to freedom of
speech and bases it on their own corporate right to freedom of the
press, then who the heck is helping to safeguard our democracy
One thing is for certain, but for all the people
trying to stop him, Dennis Kucinich is certainly trying to.
[ Written by Tim Watts ]