Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, the Corporate Media Debates and Presidential Politics in 2008

There are only two houses sporting presidential candidate lawnsigns in this small town of about 6000 residents.

Both signs are for Ron Paul.

One might assume that such tiny anecdotal evidence suggests a wide divide in the support for Paul and the other candidates -- with nary a lawnsign proclaiming support for any of the others, but you would be forgiven for not coming to that conclusion, especially if you made your assessment based on coverage in the main street media or as more and more people refer to it -- the corporate media.

The results from Iowa show Paul garnered 10% of the vote and came in fifth on the Republican side. But as Bill Moyers indicated in his interviews with Kathleen Jamieson (Director of the Anneberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania Anneberg School for Communication), Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul, you would not be faulted for thinking that Paul and Kucinich had dropped out of the race for their respective parties' nominations.

The makeup of lawn decorations in town are bound to change... especially since the New Hampshire primary is next up, is a lot closer to Connecticut than Iowa, and my neighbors and fellowtownspeople can often be as cantankerously independent as those in the Live Free or Die state. There are even rumors that folks are getting energized and that unaffiliates and independents are registering here in time for the Connecticut primaries, on February 5th -- Super Tuesday, the same day that California, New York and oodles of other states hold their primaries.

Last night, Moyers chose to interview both candidates (Paul and Kucinich) recently excluded from either ABC's or Fox's debates as he analyzed how corporate media is controlling the political scene: Bill Moyers' January 4, 2008 Journal. Before he interviewed the two excluded candidates, Moyers talked to Kathleen Hall Jamieson for her take on the role of corporate media in the coverage leading up to and after Iowa. What she had to say will come as no surprise to critics of the media and those who espouse media reform (including Kucinich and Paul, by the way). Here's just one snippet from the transcript.

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON:
You also could say that at issue in both Iowa and New Hampshire is going to be where are the independents going, and what does that say about the country? We tend to think, because the primaries are so structured around party, that this is about Republicans and it's about Democrats. And Ron Paul only gets into this discussion because he comes in as a Libertarian, but runs as a Republican in the party. And by the way, gets largely ignored for a very fine 10 percent showing last night, which should have been regarded as remarkable, given where he is placed within the Republican field and how little time he's gotten in the debates.

But we forget in the press, that people who vote and the people who are governed, are not only Democrats and Republicans. There are libertarians there. There are undecideds there. There are people who legitimately say, "I don't identify with any of this. I'll call myself independent. I don't have a name yet." And last night, we, I think, neglected, as we talk about the implication for party, the notion that independents played an important role on both sides in who was elected.

... snip ...

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Kucinich articulates the left position on Democratic issues with clarity and with conviction. That expands the range of discourse for Democrats. It's a very important role.

BILL MOYERS: And Ron Paul?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON: Ron Paul does the same thing for Republicans. The libertarian voice is an important voice in this country. It's potentially an emergent party in this country. And to have that voice consistently articulated tells people what the libertarian wing of the Republican Party stands for. Taking him out of any presidential debate when he had 10 percent of the vote in Iowa, has been raising money, has a fervent group of partisan people who believe that his convictions are the ones that should lead the nation, I think is an injustice.

Over on Buzzflash, there's a link to the Manchester Union Leader article detailing who's been excluded from the Saturday night debates and "why," according to Fox and ABC.

ABC News and WMUR-TV eliminated Republican Duncan Hunter and Democrats Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel from prime-time debates tonight.

To be included in the ABC debates, candidates had to meet at least one of three criteria: place first through fourth in Iowa, poll at least 5 percent in one of the last four major New Hampshire surveys or poll at least 5 percent in one of the last four major national surveys.

A Republican Forum with only five invited candidates will be broadcast on Fox News Sunday at 8 and 11 p.m. The forum will also be at Saint Anselm College.

The forum, sponsored by Fox News and the state Republican Party, will feature McCain, Romney, Huckabee, Giuliani and Thompson. To date, Fox has not invited Paul or California U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter.

So back to lawnsigns, who in your neighborhoods are best represented by lawnsigns? Kucinich? Paul? Obama? Huckabee? Richardson? McCain?

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