Wednesday, March 21

CNN Denies 2008 Anti-War Presidential Candidate to Participate in Debate

Limiting Americans' electoral choices for President in 2008 has officially commenced as U.S. media focus on pro-Iraq War candidates. On Tuesday (20 March) Wayne Madsen posted the passage below at WayneMadsen on CNN's inexplicable exclusion of 2008 Democratic presidential hopeful Mike Gravel from an upcoming presidential debate in New Hampshire. In a taped message below, Gravel responds to the snub. --Editor

Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel, the former Democratic Senator from Alaska who spearheaded the de-funding of the Vietnam War and the draft and released the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record, has protested his exclusion from the New Hampshire presidential debate.

CNN, the Manchester Union Leader, and Hearst-owned WMUR-TV formally decided to exclude Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Mike Gravel from the debates they will be sponsoring in New Hampshire. In response to the decision, Gravel said, "By denying me the same opportunity afforded to other presidential candidates to discuss in public debate the major issues that confront our nation, the sponsoring media outlets––CNN, The Manchester Union Leader and the Hearst-owned WMUR-TV––are exercising censorship, unbecoming in a free society. They are dictating whose political voice they will permit New Hampshire and American citizens to hear.”

Gravel also said, "These media outlets are depriving the people the right to hear a voice they may very well want to hear, and in my case, a voice with some new and different ideas not expressed by other candidates––not ‘politics as usual.’ This amounts to denying the people the right to an informed choice from among all the declared and legitimate candidates, not just those deemed worthy by a few media organizations.”

A poll of political scientists and speech specialists in Nevada rated Gravel the third most effective presenter at the debate/forum sponsored by ABC, AFSCME, and the Nevada Democratic party in Carson City last month.

Gravel warned, "“It is not CNN’s, the Manchester Union Leader’s or Hearst’s WMUR-TV’s place to decide whose voice should and should not be heard in a debate between legitimate and qualified presidential candidates for the nomination of their political parties," adding, "When my staff inquired as to why I was being barred from participating in the debate, they received the Orwellian response that my candidacy did not meet certain criteria––a criteria that the media organizations refused to divulge when asked.”

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25 April 2007 Update: In the Democrats first presidential debate last Thursday, Candidate Gavel apparently "upstaged" his fellow party aspirants. See report here.

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