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Trumpís teachable moment: Ralph Nader on what we should make of the billionaire's longshot candidacy
The New York Daily News ^ | July 27, 2015 | Ralph Nader

Posted on 07/27/2015 10:34:10 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

The brouhahas over billionaire Donald Trump show how broadcasters favor easy, juicy stories about powerful people’s bad words over harder, less sexy ones about their bad deeds.

This is a teachable moment for the mass media. Failing to take Trump seriously could set a dangerous precedent for future candidates with fresh ideas, looking to shake up the controlling status quo.

The Huffington Post, which carries my column, announced that it is excluding Trump from its political coverage and instead filing all stories about the man leading the Republican field, according to the most recent polls, under entertainment.

If they existed in the 1980s, would they have done this to that B-list actor, Ronald Reagan? He often said that his acting career was good training for politics. As an unlikely long shot, he was elected governor of California and subsequently President. Imagine the stories an outlet would have lost if they’d cut him out of their political coverage.

Moreover, how is HuffPo going to “entertain” its readers when Trump is the only Republican candidate who trashes despotic trade treaties or renews his previous commitment to keep Social Security and Medicare intact, or calls for more military aggression, a giant wall on the Mexican border or more corporate welfare?

Like it or loathe it, it is a political agenda.

The media’s coverage issues extend past Trump. Fox News decided that it will accept for its debates only the top 10 Republican presidential candidates by poll standing — a serious blow to the other candidates, some of whom started later and haven’t been bankrolled by big money. In a crowded field, where does this leave those candidates who don’t regularly make outrageous statements that generate media coverage?

Fox is saying that the pollsters get to determine, for instance, that Ted Cruz can debate, but not John Kasich. This is quite a twist. Customarily, pundits believe candidates’ fates are determined by whether and how the mass media covers them. Now, they are outsourcing that role to pollsters.

There is a bright line beyond which censorship takes hold. The mass media shouldn’t advance the two-party duopoly that regularly violates the civil rights and civil liberties of third party and independent candidates, excluding them from making elections more competitive with fresh agendas and different records.

Journalists who facilely call it an editorial judgement to exclude such candidates need a history lesson on how pioneering long-shots, who never won national elections, challenged and eventually changed the agendas of the entrenched parties. Have we forgotten the anti-slavery Liberty Party in 1840 or the numerous parties advocating for women’s suffrage, the rights of farmers and workers, and election reforms in the late 19th and early 20th centuries?

Each time I ran for President, my agenda had redirections for our country that had majoritarian support but were considered off the table by both major parties.

Those included supporting a living wage, implementing full Medicare for all with free choice of doctor and hospital, cracking down on corporate crime, ending corporate welfare/crony capitalism, cleaning up the dirty money in elections, opposing empire and the illegal war against Iraq, and creating a sales tax on Wall Street speculation. Yet, notwithstanding my serious civic achievements, the mass media ignored my campaign and the sizable audiences it was attracting.

Perhaps the most blatant abdication of professional journalism is the obeisance by much of the media to the manipulation by the two major parties of the general election presidential debates.

The duopoly’s lovechild is the Commission on Presidential Debates, a captive nonprofit created by the Republicans and Democrats to replace the “too uppity” League of Women Voters in the 1988 elections. Like a tribune of toadies, large newspapers, magazines and commercial and public radio and TV networks accept and transmit the CPD’s rigged regime.

Through it, the two parties decide the number of debates, who will be on stage (only their candidates, with the exception of Ross Perot in 1992), which reporters will ask the predictable questions and which corporations would provide the monies and receive sponsorship recognition.

This charade mirrors our monied electoral system and its draconian, discriminatory ballot access laws. Without independent wealth, third party or independent candidates don’t stand a chance of reaching millions of voters unless this system is changed and they are invited, with equal footing, onto the debate stage.

It is time to end this political bigotry and engage in some modest discussion about what is newsworthy and what is just ditto-heading the political oligarchy? Or is the press waiting for a third-party run by a jilted Trump to teach them these lessons?


TOPICS: New York; Campaign News; Issues; Parties; Polls
KEYWORDS: 1980election; 2016election; california; debates; democrats; election1980; election2016; gop; huffingtonpost; huffpo; johnkasich; kasich; nader; newyork; newyorkcity; newyorkdailynews; ohio; perot; ralphnader; ronaldreagan; tedcruz; texas; trump
Comments?
1 posted on 07/27/2015 10:34:10 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Ralph Nader?

The man who inspired Pat Paulson?

2 posted on 07/27/2015 10:36:30 AM PDT by Steely Tom (Vote GOP: A Slower Handbasket)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Does a beer fart count?


3 posted on 07/27/2015 10:39:16 AM PDT by Gaffer
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Ralph Nader’s commentary is unsafe at any reading speed.


4 posted on 07/27/2015 10:39:27 AM PDT by backwoods-engineer (AMERICA IS DONE! When can we start over?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
His criticism of the duopoly is valid, but he comes from a commie point of view.

A question he did not address is: How do you hold a "debate" with 17 participants?

5 posted on 07/27/2015 10:41:29 AM PDT by Mariner (War Criminal #18 - Be The Leaderless Resistance)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Hey Ralphie Boy! Is yer commie sister still footin’ the bills for ya?


6 posted on 07/27/2015 10:44:03 AM PDT by Fiddlstix (Warning! This Is A Subliminal Tagline! Read it at your own <blockqurisk!(Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Ralph Nader was the Democrat's Ross Perot.

Quite likely, he tipped the 2000 election.

7 posted on 07/27/2015 10:46:45 AM PDT by SamAdams76
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To: SamAdams76

Yes we do owe a bit of gratitude to old Ralph for that.


8 posted on 07/27/2015 10:47:48 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: backwoods-engineer

9 posted on 07/27/2015 10:55:19 AM PDT by Bluewater2015 (There are no coincidences)
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To: Fiddlstix

Nader has no business criticizing others for their wealth.

He’s loaded. From decades of “doing well by doing good.”

Hypocrite!


10 posted on 07/27/2015 10:56:35 AM PDT by elcid1970 ("The Second Amendment is more important than Islam.")
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To: Bluewater2015; All

Click The Pic To Enlarge

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11 posted on 07/27/2015 11:06:10 AM PDT by Fiddlstix (Warning! This Is A Subliminal Tagline! Read it at your own <blockqurisk!(Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: elcid1970

You Got That Right!


12 posted on 07/27/2015 11:06:41 AM PDT by Fiddlstix (Warning! This Is A Subliminal Tagline! Read it at your own <blockqurisk!(Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: Bluewater2015
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13 posted on 07/27/2015 11:12:27 AM PDT by Fiddlstix (Warning! This Is A Subliminal Tagline! Read it at your own <blockqurisk!(Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: Mariner
A question he did not address is: How do you hold a "debate" with 17 participants?

Exactly. Each candidate in a two hour debate would get a total of about six minutes to say something memorable enough to get people to remember and talk about, in a good way. Even ten is going to be too many.

14 posted on 07/27/2015 11:17:45 AM PDT by Hugin ("Do yourself a favor--first thing, get a firearm!",)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; cardinal4; ...
The Huffington Post, which carries my column, announced that it is excluding Trump from its political coverage and instead filing all stories about the man leading the Republican field, according to the most recent polls, under entertainment. If they existed in the 1980s, would they have done this to that B-list actor, Ronald Reagan? He often said that his acting career was good training for politics. As an unlikely long shot, he was elected governor of California and subsequently President. Imagine the stories an outlet would have lost if they'd cut him out of their political coverage. Moreover, how is HuffPo going to "entertain" its readers when Trump is the only Republican candidate who trashes despotic trade treaties or renews his previous commitment to keep Social Security and Medicare intact, or calls for more military aggression, a giant wall on the Mexican border or more corporate welfare? Like it or loathe it, it is a political agenda.
That's an interesting twist, eh? Nader doesn't like Hitlery, doesn't like Obama, but appears to be angling for a job in any future Trump administration -- just a guess. Thanks 2ndDivisionVet.
15 posted on 07/27/2015 12:32:57 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (What do we want? REGIME CHANGE! When do we want it? NOW)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Nader was/is a panty-waste leftist. Those kinds of things make a big difference.


16 posted on 07/27/2015 1:55:23 PM PDT by vpintheak (Call the left what they are - regressive control-freaks)
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