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FAIR Questions Kucinich Exclusion

Posted by libhom Saturday, January 19, 2008

It turns out that I wasn't the only one who found the exclusion of Dennis Kucinich from MSNBC's presidential debate highly questionable.

From Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's 1/17/08 Action Alert:

In a bizarre move the network has yet to explain, NBC rescinded an invitation to Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich to appear in its January 15 debate in Las Vegas. The GE-owned media company went all the way to the Nevada Supreme Court to defend its decision--all the while failing to explain its logic to the public.

The network originally declared a straightforward test for candidates wishing to participate in the debate: A candidate had to finish in at least fourth place in either the New Hampshire primary or Iowa caucuses, or finish among the top four in one of six major national polls. Kucinich met the latter standard, and was sent a letter on January 9 acknowledging that he would be participating in the debate, designed to air candidates' views before the January 19 Nevada caucuses.

But two days later, NBC political director Chuck Todd notified the Kucinich campaign that there were new rules: Candidates would have to have finished at least third in either Iowa or New Hampshire. The new standard eliminated Kucinich.

Fair also noted the profit motive:
Does Kucinich's campaign represent ideas that offend either NBC managers or their bosses at General Electric? It's a fair question, given that MSNBC canceled Phil Donahue's nightly show in early 2003 due to the host's opposition to the Iraq War; the company worried that the host would be a "difficult public face for NBC in a time of war" (FAIR Press Release, 4/3/03).

The question is especially apt, given that GE is a major military contractor.

Here is the action FAIR is asking people to take:
ACTION:

Please ask NBC to explain why it changed its original debate criteria to exclude Rep. Dennis Kucinich from their January 15 debate. Also, encourage Meet the Press host Tim Russert to be fair to Kucinich and invite him to participate in the "Meet the Candidates" series.

CONTACT:

NBC/MSNBC

Phone: 212 664-4444
Ask for the Comment Line

Email: letters@msnbc.com

NBC host Tim Russert via Meet the Press web contact form:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6872152/

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