NBC Rewrites its Own Rules to Prevent America from Hearing Kucinich
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As a political writer, I have to follow these endless primary-season debates. But when it comes to NBC's Democratic show-down in Vegas next Tuesday, I'll read the transcript and check out the highlights on YouTube, but I won't tune into NBC's live broadcast.
Here's a press release from the Kucinich campaign explaining why:
Less than 44 hours after NBC sent a congratulatory note and an invitation to Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich to participate in the Jan. 15 Democratic Presidential debate in Las Vegas, the network notified the campaign this morning it was changing its announced criteria, rescinding its invitation, and excluding Kucinich from the debate.
NBC Political Director Chuck Todd notified the Kucinich campaign this morning that, although Kucinich had met the qualification criteria publicly announced on December 28, the network was "re-doing" the criteria, excluding Kucinich, and planning to invite only Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and former senator John Edwards.
The criteria announced last month included a fourth-place or better showing in a national poll. The USA/Gallup poll earlier this month showed Kucinich in fourth place among the Democratic contenders.
In an email to the Kucinich campaign at 2:35 p.m. on Wednesday, January 9, Democratic Party debates consultant Jenny Backus wrote:
"Congratulations on another hard-fought contest. Now that New Hampshire is over, we are on to Nevada and our Presidential Debate on Tuesday January 15. This letter serves as an official invitation for your candidate to participate in the Nevada Presidential Debate at Cashman Theatre in downtown Las Vegas. You have met the criteria set by NBC and the Debate."
Todd notified the Kucinich campaign this morning that the network had decided to change the criteria and limit participation in the debate to only three candidates.
Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet.