Democrats & Liberals Archives

Three Left Standing

With the resignation of Edwards from the Democratic presidential race, we still have three candidates left standing Clinton, Gravel, and Obama.

Oh, you didn't know that there was still a third candidate? Most of the country never knew that there were still five candidates after Biden and Richardson stepped out in Iowa.

My purpose in writing today is not to endorse any of the remaining candidates, but to express my dismay at the watering down of our democracy by the media.

From the beginning, the media had decided that the "horse race" would come down to Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential nominee. They have had to broaden that picture a bit to include Obama, but they made that segue without ever looking back.

Being a news junkie and watching cable news, I saw most of the so-called debates. I saw who was there and the type of air time they received. I saw who made the network and cable news, and the talking head shows. It has been the Clinton-Obama show for a very long time. For much of the country, there have only been two candidates for a year.

Herein lies the lie, and the demise of representation in the "selection" process. The corporate media did not "lie" outright. They created a fable of "viable" candidates in which they both defined and created "viability." Those outside their picks were left with only face-to-face campaigning, the people's media, and internet campaigning. For those reading this, you likely saw all of this. But what about the 85-90% who saw only the corporate media, and the 75-80% who saw only the network channels?

After the Iowa primary, the Gravel campaign took massive blow of it being announced that he had withdrawn from the race when he had not. For as little coverage as he had received, the lie would allow overlooking him entirely. Even the "progressive" cable token Keith Olbermann announced that Gravel was out (though he has since apologized). Kucinich presented another inconvenience and so the corporate media decided to just exclude him from the "debates" entirely.

Edwards decided to drop out after South Carolina. Now word of explanation has come out that I have seen. He was an invisible presence at the last Democratic "debate" as Clinton and Obama attempted to woo his supporters into their respective camps. While there has been no explanation, I suspect that part of the reason that Edwards withdrew was that he was not getting enough air time of be "viable."

There are those who would argue that the "field" needed to narrow down. Or that we should not waste time or concentration on candidates who do not have a possibility to win. However, for me, there is a totally different level of importance in having a broad and relatively equal field. Namely that a diversity of issues and interests are brought to the discussion. The presidential campaigns are one of the few times when there is a forum and a focus on a discussion of national issues. For many, it is the only time when perspectives other than corporate media framing are presented for people to consider. Shutting out and shutting down those voices dramatically shapes the publics' perception of both issues and solutions.

Clearly money has been a big deal in these campaigns - it always is. However, who gets heard and who does not is not simply an issue of money attracted to a candidate. Publicly financed campaigns are critical, but will be undermined dramatically if the corporate media is not required to provide equal air time to all candidates, and for networks and parties to include all candidates in the forum of debate.

For both the Nevada debate and the South Carolina debate, Kucinich was excluded by the corporate media from participating (even though he had initially been invited). The ruling was essentially that the cable networks are private clubs and they can invite whoever they want to the party. That will be a decision with massive impacts over time - and not simply for political campaigns.

So now there are three Democratic presidential candidates, though the voice has largely narrowed to one and a half as both Clinton and Obama vie for some hypothetical middle of the road.

Posted by Rowan Wolf at February 3, 2008 7:49 AM
Comments
Comment #244521

Gravel got plenty of coverage on Youtube early on, and was treated with respect by the media, and we enjoyed watching him. It might make more sense to explain the process of getting delegates on the primary ballot, rather than bemoaning the fact that Harold Stassen never became President.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 3, 2008 9:24 AM
Comment #244524

Rowan,

Because America doesn’t have political finance reform, getting any political message out requires money. Lots, and lots of money.
McCain, for instance, is being pilloried by his own party for his daring attempt to limit the amount of money in politics.
That Gravel can’t compete in the media says more about his ability to raise the vast amounts of money necessary to get his message out than it says about his message.

Posted by: Rocky at February 3, 2008 10:11 AM
Comment #244527

If corporations and their big money bosses don’t like your message, you’ll never be running for president in this country…that’s where the money comes from and they won’t pay money to let someone run who might regulate them or not throw government contracts or legislation their way…

The people might get to vote, but it’s like shopping at the company store.

Posted by: Rachel at February 3, 2008 11:11 AM
Comment #244531

Rowan
Yeah and one of the worst parts is the Edwards withdrawel.The only real populist has left the race,at least the race for the top spot.His call for a re-definition of corporate responsibilty and their relationship with their workers, not surpisingly ,led to corporate controlled media lagely ignoring him. He did accomplish a good deal. His early,detailed healthcare proposal got the other candidates to come up with their own,sometimes similar,healthcare proposals but he failed to get them to seriously discuss trade issues except in generalities. Too bad.
He is likely to pick up a surprising number of votes in Ca. including mine. Because of early absenty voting here many people have already voted for him. In my county he was favored to win. I hope he can play a role at the convention in moving the debate to issues that effect poverty and workers rights. This oportunity will come about only in a brokered convention, otherwise we will get the same old generalities from both contenders.

Posted by: BillS at February 3, 2008 12:47 PM
Comment #244548

is the information on the website below true?
http://obamatruth.org/

Posted by: Terry Shaw at February 3, 2008 5:09 PM
Comment #244549

It must be true, it’s on the internet.

Posted by: womanmarine at February 3, 2008 5:14 PM
Comment #244553

Terry Shaw, take some time (it may take a while)and follow up on your question here:
http://www.factcheck.org/contact/

Posted by: Jane Doe at February 3, 2008 6:03 PM
Comment #244555

They should definitely rename that site Swiftboaters for obamatruth.org

Get the facts: The Truth about ObamaTruth.org

Posted by: veritas vincit at February 3, 2008 6:58 PM
Comment #244558


I was going to vote for Edwards because of his stand on the corporations but, truthfully, Inever expected him to win. Since he has dropped out, I am going to vote for Hillary. The women have been more loyal to the Democratic party than the men have and I am going to show them my respect and do my part to help them get their due. I hope for eight years of Hillary and then eight years of Obama.

The Republicans hope they can keep control of the Presidency. They hope they can gain control of the Supreme Court. They hope they can dismantle the New Deal. They hope they can help the poor own their own homes made out of cardboard in Potters Field.

Posted by: jlw at February 3, 2008 8:06 PM
Comment #244568
They hope they can dismantle the New Deal.

Most were abolished around 1943…

Still left are SSA, FDIC, TVA, NLRA and FLSA. Which one of these are the Republicans wanting to abolish again?

Hyperbole doesn’t really help, especially when I hear the left saying that the division in politics needs to end…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 4, 2008 12:03 AM
Comment #244570

RH
SSA and NLRB if by abolish you mean cause to stop functioning as intended.

Posted by: BillS at February 4, 2008 1:04 AM
Comment #244575

Don’t blame the candidate, don’t blame the voters, don’t accept reality, don’t recognize the appeal of other candidates. Just blame the media your candidate didn’t catch on.

It’s one think democrats and republicans have in common.

Posted by: Schwamp at February 4, 2008 7:55 AM
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