I think that this will be a two part post. Introducing part one I have a little Ralph Nader action.
That right. For those of you who don't remember, in the year 2000, Ralph Nader wasn't merely banned from the debate, he wasn't merely banned from entering the debate hall, he was banned from even watching the debate at an "alternative viewing site" on the campus. And there were several sizable protests that didn't make the news.
But, let's take a step to 1992 and Brian Springer's brilliant documentary "Spin." It consists of hundreds of hours of satellite news feeds that he personally harvested during the 1992 presidential election. Until recently, I had only seen bits and pieces of it. Now, thanks to the wonder of the internet, you can watch the entire movie online. It's a look behind the TV news facade that still feels fresh today.
Larry Agran, former mayor of Irvine who was boxed out of the '92 presidential race by the media. Although I didn't know much about him in '92, I do remember hearing about his policy to drastically reduce military spending and using some of that money to support urban renewal. If I had been old enough to vote, he probably would have been my choice. In some sense, there's a parallel between him and Dennis Kucinich in terms of platform and in terms of treatment by the media and political establishment. Comparing Agran with another former mayor and presidential candidate, Rudolph Guiliani is also interesting. Agran was a proponent of very progressive policies, had a good grasp of urban problems and displayed the solid leadership. Guiliani really only had one thing going for him and that thing can be summed up in 3 numbers yet he turned out to be both a media darling and extraordinarily unpopular with the general public.
So, why do the debates suck? One reason has to be the exclusion of voices such as Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, and Ron Paul.