Had Jesse Ventura or Ross Perot been required to poll at 15 percent when running for office, they would not have been able to debate their contenders. This is one of the arguments put forward in a letter calling for open presidential debates this fall, sent today to the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) by a diverse group of opinion leaders -- including Noam Chomsky, Edward Norton, Peter Coyote, Bonnie Raitt, Woody Harrelson, Anita Roddick, Rock the Vote and Granny D., the 90 year-old great grandmother who walked across the country for campaign finance reform. Initiated by Rainforest Action Network [...]
Third Party Victims of Big Business Financing
Larry King Live, 9/20/2000
Larry King: Governor Cuomo, should Nader and Buchanan be allowed into the debates? Mario Cuomo: Oh, I was asked about that this morning and I said, "Yes, why not?" Why not proliferate the views? It would be a better debate with the four of them in, I think. And if you're complaining that, well, there's not enough time for people to pay attention to four views, then give them more time...I'd like to hear them both in." Larry King: Howard? Should they be? (Former Senator) Howard Baker: Well, I don't think it really matters. I think that, yes, my personal [...]
Likely voters agree that third party candidates should participate in the debates, but should be limited to those with higher profiles, a recent Zogby poll shows. The nationwide survey of 1,005 likely voters reveals that a great deal of support is shown for Green Party's Ralph Nader (news - web sites) (60.9% to 29.0%) and Reform candidate Pat Buchanan (news - web sites) (58.7% to 34.2%) to be allowed to participate in the presidential debates. Less support can be seen for Libertarian Harry Browne (44.2% to 39.9%). Voters were not so supportive of the lesser-known party representatives: Natural Law's John [...]
Inclusive Debates are Good for Democracy Recent history shows that participation by third-party candidates raises interest, debate viewership and voter turnout. The 1992 presidential debates included Ross Perot and were watched by record-breaking TV audiences, averaging 90 million viewers, with a larger audience for each successive debate. Presidential voter turnout went up in '92, reversing a 20-year downward trend. In 1996, with Perot excluded, the debates had shrinking viewership that averaged only 41 million viewers -- and voter turnout nosedived. In 1998 Minnesota, participation by third-party candidate Jesse Ventura in the gubernatorial debates stirred interest in the campaign and generated [...]
A previous FAIR action alert (8/25/00) called on citizens to urge the Commission on Presidential Debates to include viable third-party presidential candidates. Now, media activists and pro-democracy advocates need to speak out promptly in the wake of George W. Bush's recent offer to debate Al Gore three times: -- on an NBC "Meet the Press" primetime special (Sept. 12 in D.C.) -- on CNN's "Larry King Live" (Oct. 3 in L.A.) -- at an Anheuser-Busch/Commission on Presidential Debates-sponsoredevent (Oct. 17 in St. Louis). At present, the Bush proposal -- like that of the major party-dominated Commission -- would exclude top [...]
Why Do TV Networks Allow It to Decide if the Two Major Parties Will Face Competition?
As the debate over debates heats up, the Bush campaign is balking at participation in the events proposed by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Bush's concerns revolve around format and venues. But few journalists covering this story have looked into the legitimate questions about the Commission, especially whether the CPD is independent enough to decide which candidates get to participate. The following timeline reveals a history of politicking, insider-dealing and exclusion camouflaged behind "nonpartisan" rhetoric. Journalists should ask the TV networks why they are ceding authority to decide whether Democrats and Republicans face competition to a Commission so beholden to [...]
Will Nader Be Banned in Boston?
You walk into an election booth in November to vote for a well-known, respected candidate who's vigorously campaigning for president, but the candidate's name has been excluded from the ballot. Is the election rigged? You'd probably ask the same question if you tuned into the presidential debates on TV and the candidate you planned to vote for wasn't allowed on the stage. Unless loud voices are raised in protest, this kind of rigged debate is exactly what will be offered. Thanks to the exclusionary policy of the corporate-funded Commission on Presidential Debates, the first presidential debate -- scheduled for October [...]
Early coverage of the upcoming protests at the Republican and Democratic national conventions has followed a familiar pattern: Mainstream media are stoking fears about the potential for violence in Philadelphia and Los Angeles by rewriting the actual history of police brutality at last year's anti-WTO demonstrations in Seattle. In its place, media are developing a mythology of dangerous protesters who, for unspecified reasons, violently overpowered police. "It is widely agreed that the Seattle police got out-foxed by better organized protesters trying to shut down the World Trade Organization meeting last year," reported NBC's Fred Francis in a story about the [...]