Saturday, January 12, 2008

This is ridiculous, and very saddening (NBC rewrites its own rules to exclude Kucinich)

Good email sent by the site I first saw it on:

I'm writing to express my dismay about NBC's decision to re-write its own previously announced criteria in order — specifically, it seems — to exclude Dennis Kucinich, the fourth-place finisher in at least one major national poll, from the Las Vegas debate.

I am not of the belief that Rep. Kucinich has a chance to win the nomination, but that's beside the point. It appears to me that our political press corps, yourself included, are simply blind to the intense feelings of frustration among many of us "out here" in America every time the media tries to narrow the ideological spectrum and limit our political debates. I am among almost 300 million people who have not had an opportunity to cast my vote in the primary, and it is the height of arrogance for you and NBC to tell me, in effect, that only 3 of the 4 candidates who met your announced criteria are acceptable choices, or that only the views of 3 of the 4 are acceptably "mainstream."

His "viability" is not an issue; Kucinich is not in this race to win. He's in it to influence the political discourse within the Democratic party, and as a Democratic-leaning independent, I would like to see the full spectrum of Democratic opinions aired and debated. It is maddening to have NBC deny us that process, especially so many months before the convention and with only a few small states having gone to the polls.

But even that isn't nearly as infuriating as the egregious disrespect shown to a member of the House of Representatives who's been sent back to Washington by his constituents five times. I'll be frank: to extend the invitation, and then rewrite your own rules in order to withdraw it makes it difficult for me to even maintain a civil tone.

I won't be watching your debate — it will be the first one I skip — because I don't want to support the idea that the media decides these elections and the voters are merely an afterthought. I will also write about your network's hubris on my blog and urge my friends and acquaintances to boycott the debate as well. Hopefully, General Electric will receive a lot of correspondence like this one, see a smaller-than-expected audience and finally figure out that while it has its hands in many businesses, electing a president isn't one that We the People will accept.

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