MSNBC Presidental Debates – Part II

Last Thursday, MSNBC hosted a debate between the ten Republican candidates for President. Recently, I blogged about the previous week’s Democratic version of this event. In the interest of fairness, I decided to watch these debates as well. Furthermore, I was interested in seeing Congressman Ron Paul speak. For those not familiar with him, Dr. Ron Paul is an honest and principled man who values liberty and who has served his congressional district in Texas since 1997. Despite my philosophical disagreements with him on several points, I respect Dr. Paul and would recommend voting for him to any liberty loving true conservative. Dr. Paul has been an outspoken critic of big government, big media, big corporations, and the Iraq War. Thus, I expected to see him given the Gravel “potted plant” treatment as seen in the Democratic debates.

Despite my lofty intentions of cheering for Dr. Paul while documenting the bias of big media and the banality of the American elections circus on both sides of the aisle, I’m afraid that my wife and I had a hard time stomaching this one and will not be watching any further Republican Primary debates. Clinton and Obama are pretty awful, and it was fairly sickening to watch them get so much attention in the Democratic primary while they spouted vague “feel-good” political talk, dodged questions, and buttered up the public, but many of these Republican candidates simply made my jaw drop and my stomach lurch with all their meaningless “feel good” praise of some idealized version of America that lives only in their fantasies and their bending over backwards to compare themselves to Ronald Reagan. To make matters worse, my own political beliefs made it very hard to evaluate things like whether a candidate was delivering a good or great answer in the sense of one that truly answered the question when so often they delivered answers that I found deeply disturbing and upsetting. Just ten to fifteen minutes into the debate, my wife and I were pausing the TiVo and seriously pondering if we could make it through another hour and twenty minutes.

We persevered, and I’m delivering my report on the event, but I’m afraid that I just can’t handle doing it again. Continue reading →

A Victory for Democracy

Yesterday, I blogged about the censorship of former Senator Mike Gravel from the upcoming New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Debate. Well, today I read some awesome news from the Gravel 2008 campaign site:

Senator Gravel would like to thank each and every one of you who worked so hard to get him into the New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Debate. This invitation is a direct result of the dedication and work of those of you who have stood up for this campaign in the last 72 hours. This is absolute proof that the people working together can stand up to corporate media and have our voices heard. Senator Gravel has said all along that this is your campaign and today your voices have been heard loud and clear.

Our work has only just begun. Again, thank you to all of you.

Shawn Alexander Colvin

Press Secretary

Gravel 08

Let Gravel Speak!

I recently watched and blogged about MSNBC’s Democratic Primary Debates in South Carolina, and while I am a supporter of Dennis Kucinich, I was highly impressed by former Senator Mike Gravel’s passionate, blunt and truthful commentary on the so-called “front-runner” candidates and on their calculated half-hearted stands on the Iraq War. Even more impressive is Senator Gravel’s ideas on the issues and his initiative for more participatory democracy. We need to see more truth speakers like Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Senator Mike Gravel, and Republican Congressman Ron Paul who talk about what we need to hear and not what they think we want to hear. We need more voices like this if we are to have a real debate about ideas instead of the usual nonsense.

That is why I am angry (although not surprised in the least) to learn that “in a pre-emptive statement issued on March 16, CNN, WMUR TV and the New Hampshire Union Leader declared their intention to exclude Democratic Presidential candidate Mike Gravel from their tri-sponsored debate on June 3rd.” Not only do the corporate media act to anoint certain candidates as worthy of attention and thereby illicitly influence the vote of the public, but also they often exclude the non-anointed candidates from debates that might actually improve a candidate’s standing and allow the public a better chance to become informed. The media should not have this power to control the viability of candidates and influence voters. Continue reading →