The Nevada Supreme Court sided with NBC in their decision to retract an invitation to Dennis Kucinich to the Democratic debate tonight. NBC had originally invited Kucinich, but then changed their criteria to only allow candidates who’d placed first, second, or third in the primaries. Kucinich sued and got a district judge to file an injunction against NBC. NBC complained to the state supreme court and it was decided that NBC didn’t need to include him–one hour before the debate was scheduled to start.
This is hardly surprising, actually. As unfortunate as it is, it’s typical of the mainstream media. Excluding and poking fun at the so-called “long shots” is what the media does best. NBC News correspondent Kevin Corke put it best: “We were expecting to have the three major candidates. Why? Well quite frankly, because those are the probable candidates. That pool is the most viable pool. And truthfully, most people want to hear what Hillary Clinton and John Edwards and Barack Obama have to say. After all, those are probably the three theyâ€™re going to be picking from.”
Most of what he says is true. Clinton, Edwards, and Obama are the frontrunners, and they’re the most likely to be nominated by the Democratic Party. However, the people of America still have a say. I, for instance, don’t want to hear Clinton and Obama bickering over race and gender and Edwards whining that he’s not getting enough attention. I want to hear from the candidates that I identify with. That means Kucinich and Mike Gravel. I don’t care if they’re long shots for the nomination. I happen to want to hear what they have to say.
It’s ironic that NBC invoked their First Amendment rights in keeping Kucinich out of the debates. What about Kucinich’s First Amendment rights? Doesn’t he have the right to appear in a debate he was originally invited to? Heck, don’t viewers have the right to hear from all the possible candidates? This situation actually reminds me of the midterm elections in 2006. During the race for senator in Washington State, the Libertarian candidate, Bruce Guthrie, actually made it into the debate between the Republican and Democrat candidates. He had to struggle like Kucinich and other long-shot presidential candidates, but it was worth it just to get recognition, even if he didn’t get that many votes (hey, 1.4% is a decent amount for a third party candidate).
If I were Dennis Kucinich, I’d strongly consider running as an independent. I know a lot of people who would vote for him. He’s the one candidate I like.