ACTION ALERT: Free the ABC 3!
December 19, 2003
A call for equal media coverage
Three of the leading Democratic presidential candidates are routinely excluded from media coverage. A petition is being circulated to demand full coverage of all presidential candidates.
To ABC News President David Westin and Political Director Mark Halperin:
We the undersigned believe you are doing a disservice to the people of this country, biasing and trivializing your coverage of the presidential election campaign.
We ask that you provide fair coverage to each of the nine Democratic Presidential candidates, and that you make an effort to inform people what it would mean to them for each of these candidates to become president. We ask that you provide this public service over the airwaves that belong to us, the people, and we promise to watch your programming if you do so.
Specifically, we the people ask that you reinstate the fulltime embedded reporters with the campaigns of Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Ambassador Moseley-Braun, that you make use of their reporting in your broadcasting and on your website, and that you focus that reporting on policy positions in order to inform us what it would mean to have each of them as president.
The day after Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich took your debate moderator Ted Koppel to task for avoiding questions that would be useful to us as voters in favor of questions about endorsements, money, and polls, you pulled your fulltime "embedded" reporter from the Kucinich campaign and from Sharpton's and Moseley-Braun's. Your Kucinich reporter had been given no warning that such a move was coming and had discussed at length the day before with the Kucinich campaign staff her plans and her needs for the coming months.
This appears to be another instance of what Kucinich criticized at the debate, namely the media trying to pick candidates, rather than letting the voters do so. In a democracy, it should be us, the voters, and not pundits or TV networks who narrow the field of candidates. You are trying to usurp the role of the people.
This move, before any state's caucus or primary, appears based on a belief that viable candidates can be predicted 11 months prior to an election, a belief that flies in the face of the historical record. Time and again candidates dismissed as "fringe" have wound up either with the nomination or with a significant impact on the convention and in the primaries.
This action by your news department, as well as Koppel's comments during the debate, can only serve to disempower more Americans, communicating to them that someone else is deciding elections for them and that their votes don't matter. You are telling us not to bother voting, that Ted Koppel has got everything under control without us.
Please remember that this is a democracy of the people, not of the pundits.