MSNBC's *Freedom of Speech* Prevented Dennis Kucinich from Being Part of DebateSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas

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MSNBC's *Freedom of Speech* Prevented Dennis Kucinich from Being Part of Debate

16 January 2008 at 3:58:07 PM

I watched part of the Nevada Democratic debate last night but noticed that Dennis Kucinich was not seated among the other 3 attendees. Had Bill Richardson not withdrawn, he would have been the fourth person in the debate. However, when he did, MSNBC decided to change the rules about who could participate, apparently IN ORDER TO exclude Kucinich. They had even invited him first and then *uninvited* him.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich won't be taking part in MSNBC's debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday. It certainly won't be the first time that Kucinich was excluded from a recent Democratic debate. But the difference is Kucinich was initially invited, and had met the criteria, for the MSNBC debate. Then, MSNBC changed the criteria and told Kucinich he was uninvited.

Alternet published a Kucinich press release, which said that 44 hours after Kucinich got a congratulatory letter and invite from NBC to the Nevada debate, they notified him of their changed criteria, and his exclusion.

In the press release, the Kucinich campaign took a shot at the media as a whole: "When 'big media' exert their unbridled control over what Americans can see, hear, and read, then the Constitutional power and right of the citizens to vote is being vetoed by multi-billion corporations that want the votes to go their way."

According to the Los Angeles Times, the original criteria for the debate called for the inclusion of the top four democratic candidates in national polling. With Bill Richardson dropping out of the race last week, that moved Kucinich to fourth place in polls. NBC decided to change the criteria, featuring the top three Dem. candidates: Sen. Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Sen. Barack Obama.

Kucinich appealed, and the Clark County judge told MSNBC to include him. MSNBC then appealed and managed to keep him out of the debate. The argument for this was specious.

The state Supreme Court’s unanimous order said that blocking the debate unless Kucinich got to participate would be ”an unconstitutional prior restraint” on the news network’s First Amendment rights. The justices also said the lower court exceeded its jurisdiction by ordering Kucinich’s participation even though he first requested and was denied relief from the Federal Communications Commission.

Want to know what's wrong with the primary system? There you are. You would think that MSNBC should care more about the public's right to know instead of entertainment and a *horse race*.

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