Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Evident: ABC is a shameful corporation intent on bringing down a great man who questions the corporate order. What really makes me mad is that most media protect these interests. CNN will interview Senator Clinton on the eve of the Pennsylvania primary. On another note, how come nobody harps on Hillary's statement that the only candidates ready to serve as commanders are McCain and her? I find it amazing for a Democrat to put down Obama this way. But not to worry. Obama has received endorsment from very knowlegable experts on foreign affairs like Sam Nunn and Bill Richardson who said Obama would be the best to answer the phone at 3 am.

Raymond Jolicoeur

Puebla, Mexico

Apr 19 2008 - 8:17am

Web Letter

I write to draw your attention to the concerted effort by the mainstream media to coronate Mr. McCain even before the first is cast.

Since McCain won the Republican nomination the media led by CNN have come out with direct attacks on Mr Obama, who in their view is the only Democratic candidate to give McCain a real contest.It seems to me that they are fascinated by the so-called maverick McCain, but any objective observer will notice that the McCain of 2008 is not the same person who ran in 2000. Witness his flip-flop on taxes and immigration and his pandering to those he once described as agents of intolerance.They want to foist him on us the same way they did with Bush. First they had to demonize Al Gore and make him unacceptable by the voters and then sold us Bush as one we can have beer with. We all have seen where that led us.

Now if you take a look at the CNN programming these days one will think they out to outfox Faux news channel.

Started by Wolf Blitzer and aimed at demonizing Obama in order to clear the way for McCain, the idea is to make Obama look so bad that he has to spent precious time defending himself.Check out these other programs: Glenn Beck and his unopposed tirades every night; Lou Dobbs's relentless attack on Obama,colored with a dose of racism; Anderson Cooper...

CNN does not have any opposing program that presents alternative views except by bringing in a few Democrats who are almost apologetic to thier right-wing coumterpart. So it behooves progressive media such as The Nation and others to shout now about the one-sided coverage before we repeat the 2000 election mistake.

Ike Mbonu

Laurel, MD

Apr 19 2008 - 6:58am

Web Letter

Given the driving concerns of a media controlled by multinational corporations I sincerely doubt that any debate that would inform the public about the serious divisions between party candidates could take place. Having said that, I would give all I have to see a series of debates that delve into the philosophical differences of each party's views of what a governments' primary role is in a democratic republic. Is the life of a people business or is the business of life people ? Is it ethical or appropriate for those in the legal profession to strive to find ways around laws they find constraining for those that employ them ? Do industries and companies that are and were created in a country whose people give their lives to create and maintain it have any obligation to those people and country? These are the sorts of questions I would like to be debated by the party candidates for President of a democracy. Oh, and was it appropriate or even constitutional for the Supreme Court to de facto select a President? Given that it was a congress of the seperate states that created the Constitution, presidency and the Supreme Court, does that not make our Congress the ulimate arbitor of/for the nation and its citizens rights ? Thank you for this opportunity, ye of the The Nation, keep up the good work. A bluedog, Boston Democrat,

Anguss Moss

Boston, MA

Apr 19 2008 - 5:43am

Web Letter

I find it truly remarkable that you said nothing about the inept way that all of the debates have been run. Not only by ABC, but by CNN, and in particular NBC/MSNBC--towards Hillary Cliton as far back as last summer's debates. I will not copy and paste transcripts from some of those awful debates--they are all out in the archives and you can access them quite easily should you feel inclined. Many of us have been outraged about this total lack of competent journalism going on for quite some time, yet you (The Nation) said nothing and turned a blind eye. This is exactly why I canceled my subscription to your publication.

Sorry, but I find your outrage is too little too late. Obama has coasted through this campaign because of the pandering from you and most of the media. Actually, ABC was much better with this debate than the others because they didn't spend another hour after the debates with all the talking heads droning on and on, parsing words and spouting their useless and boring opinions.

Valerie Hirvela

Seffner, FL

Apr 19 2008 - 5:27am

Web Letter

Hillary Supporters:

ABC's debate was front-loaded with irrelevance, commercial-crammed and glib. You have a fair point in saying that previous debates have also been slanted, albeit against Clinton instead of Obama. The fact that our response and recognition of the problem is probably too little, too late to save your candidate from herself does not mean you should attack us or savor "revenge" on other Democrats.

We should work together to ensure that this kind of nonsense is not tolerated during the national campaign. Instead of accepting that Republican attack ads will dominate the debate, lets handle that crap on the Internet and in ads and press conferences etc. but insist that it be kept out of national debates on public airwaves, and cable too for that matter.

It doesn't have to be inevitable. We can shame the media into maintaining a civil discourse. But we have to be unified to do so.

It is critical that the American people get a fair, honest and open discussion about how McCain and the Democratic nominee will govern the country over the next four years. Do you want undecided voters to make their decision based on who can defend best against a charge of elitism? Or who has the best ideas? Because let me tell you, either candidate will have better ideas than John McCain.

(I used to grin to myself, content in the knowledge that with Hillary in the Senate, one day I would have a chance to vote for the first female President. If Barack hadn't been in this race, at this moment in history, I would have.)

Jordan Weber-Flink

Los Angeles, CA

Apr 19 2008 - 4:09am

Web Letter

Where to begin with this one? First of all, ABC was giving us what we have come to expect and tolerate from the news media; vacuous topics, internet inspired gossip and questions perfectly crafted for the youtube soundbite generation. When the bar is this low, and all they are after is ratings, what better than a innuendo-laced bashing of the "golden boy"? Gibson and Stephanopoulos are not journalists, they are personalities on a endless screen test for entertainment tonight. George even had to take notes from Sean Hannity to feel relevant. Doesn't he make enough money to come up with his own questions? And what was he doing moderating a debate with the history of being a Clinton communications director? Gibson was so out of touch he was worried more about his stock portfolio than middle America. Capital gains? Really Charlie? The bifocals on the end of your nose was a nice touch. They can spare me the BS about preparing Obama for the big show. It isn't ABC's job to try to "man up"a candidate for their "own good," especially with fifty-three minutes of nonsense during a two-hour debate with forty minutes of commercials! Fifty-three minutes to get to the economy and Iraq? I don't know what is more insulting, that ABC felt this is what Pennsylvanians and the country cared about, or the unapologetic way in which they lapped up the spotlight when they were confronted. They certainly got a lot of attention for it didn't they? Hillary could hardly contain her satisfaction, practically licking her chops with every twist of the knife. It almost seemed like she knew what was coming. She had all of her Rovian talking points ready to go. Maybe George gave her the heads up. This one was bad folks, really bad. If we don't stand up for what is right, your candidate will be next.

Barbara Menear

Denver, CO

Apr 19 2008 - 2:33am

Web Letter

All I can say in response to many of these letters is, "Wow! Could you people be any more arrogant, ignorant or petty? To even try to justify ABC's ridiculous use of Gibson and Stephanopoulos to ask the most stupid, juvenile, inconsequential questions in the history of political "debate" (and that includes Faux News) seems to be absolutely stupid. I mean really, WTF kind of crack are you folks smoking when making the kind of asinine statements I've read here? I would usually expect more thoughtful, intelligent commentary from Nation readers but this is so freakin' off-the-charts nuts I can't think of anything else to say but "get a life, or something resembling one"!

Michael Ryan

Indianapolis, IN

Apr 19 2008 - 1:43am

Web Letter

Day after day for months, I have watched and read as most of the media have provided appallingly unbalanced coverage, ignored or tolerated sexism and given Barack Obama astoundingly uncritical, sycophantic coverage. And now you "media critics" protest when ABC News dares to ask the Anointed One questions about things we all know will come up in the general election campaign, and then has the temerity to ask followup questions like good journalists should. I would be disgusted if this wasn't so thoroughly absurd. Is this The Nation or Pravda?

Kenneth Maffitt

Durham, NC

Apr 19 2008 - 1:06am

Web Letter

When a politician, who preaches "unity" in a presidential campaign, fails to speak out against the "racial disunity" preached in his church for twenty years until it explodes in his face during his campaign, it raises fair questions whether that politician truly believes what he says in his speeches. That was the thrust of the cultural questions in the first half of the debate. It's an insult to my intelligence to expect me to accept any politician's self-serving campaign rhetoric on face value.

It's also an insult to my intelligence to describe an orchestrated "blog swarm" against ABC as a spontaneous "public uproar." We all know about viral web blasts, gaming of digg, reddit, google bombs, etc.

In his March speech on race, Obama said we need a "national conversation" about race before we can deal with all these other issues like health care and jobs.

"...the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through... if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like healthcare or education ..."

In Obama's own words, these "complexities" have to be addressed before we can solve specific policy problems. That is exactly how the ABC moderators structured the debate.

Did you actually think a "national conversation" will be constrained by political correctness? That the views of Sean Hannity, Pat Buchanan, Rush Limbaugh, or the many millions of viewers of FOX News, listeners to Talk Radio, of the devoutly religious, of people who wear flagpins, of people without college degrees, people of "average intelligence"-- that all these views would be excluded from the "national conversation"?

Obama's speech was hailed by some, maybe most of the signers of this "Open Letter." And yet his speech had no effect on you, other than to satisfy your intellects. Your first instinct is to "retreat into your corner" of liberal consensus. "The debate should be tailored to the intellectual aesthetics of our elite echo chamber. Anyone who thinks these questions are relevant is an idiot."

Listen to the elitist arrogance: "a revolting descent into tabloid journalism." "Tabloid", as in popular, high-circulation newspapers read by millions of people who don't read 'superior' papers like what--the Washington Post? You find it revolting that people who read "tabloids" should have their questions answered. You demand an elite "literacy" test on public political discourse.

Who do you think is so stupid as not to recognize that this suppression campaign is about your fears that Obama cannot answer the questions of voters who read tabloids?

We're talking about questions. Not smears, questions. You are trying to suppress questions. That's disgusting.

Canaan Parker

New York, NY

Apr 19 2008 - 12:36am

Web Letter

The Nation's article reminds me of Granma, the official newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party. How dare any reporters ask any serious questions to Democratic candidates? After all , we all believe everything that Obama says about Jeremiah Wright, and I am OK with Jimmy Carter meeting with terrorists. Does The Nation believe that we should negotiate with terrorists? Does The Nation believe that Obama did not know about Wright's comments? Does The Nation feel it is good that a future President have good relations with a former terrorist ?

James Perez

Miami, FL

Apr 18 2008 - 11:24pm