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Book Review of Rejected: How the Media Excluded Alternative Candidates in the 2008 Primary

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Michael L. Soha's thesis that "fringe" candidates do not get treated fairly in the media will not come as a surprise to many readers here.  In fact, much of the book Rejected: How the Media Excluded Alternative Candidates in the 2008 Primary will not be a surprise to our regular readers, especially the ardent Ron Paul supporters.  After all, the book is subtitled "A Case Study of Candidates Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel."  However, Soha's book was still an interesting read for a few reasons.

First - and completely honestly - it is nice to be somewhat vindicated by a book.  A large amount of work went into researching the book and to have it reaffirm your own beliefs is a nice feeling.  On the flip side of that, however, is that no one should only read things that reaffirm their beliefs.  And it seems as if Soha might have reached a few of the conclusions in the book before he had even started researching.  In addition, Soha lays too much blame on the media at times.  If a candidate runs a dysfunctional campaign, that is not the media's fault.  This, however, could be due to the fact that the book's focus is solely the media.

Something that makes Rejected a worthwhile book to own is that it assembles much of the media criticism - and nearly all of the most ridiculous of it - of Mike Gravel, Ron Paul, and Dennis Kucinich into one place.  It offers evidence for the assertion that they were treated unfairly.  In other words, it can give all of you Paulites out there some facts to back up your arguments.

Finally, Rejected was an easy, quick read.  Even if you don't gain very much from it, it is worth the few hours' of your time that would be taken up to read it.  If nothing else, the book offers a few shocking facts about the media's outright derogatory attitude toward these three candidates.  For example, someone who most people expect to be a respectable journalist, George Stephanopoulos, said the following of Mike Gravel:
Well, setting aside Mike Gravel who provided the comic relief everyone else seemed credible, seemed intelligent, seemed like they knew what they were talking about.

Perhaps the best thing about the book is that it gives all three of these candidates a fair chance at getting their message across.  It talks about Mike Gravel's National Initiative for Democracy, Dennis Kucinich's Department of Peace proposal, and it thoroughly explains Ron Paul's stance on 9/11, for instance.

How does this relate to third parties, you ask?  Third party candidates often face the very same obstacles as "alternative candidates" do in major party primaries.  Also, the author delves a bit into Ron Paul's 1988 bid for the presidency as a Libertarian and how the issues he addresses were faced by Paul then.  He also talks about Paul's vast grassroots operation, which has translated partially into a third party grassroots network.

Overall, Rejected was a quick read worth the time.  Especially for people whose third party support developed from supporting a major party alternative candidate, I would recommend this book.  For everyone else, it would probably be interesting as well.  You can buy it here or at Amazon.
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Ross Levin a young activist who also writes for,, He first became active in politics in the 2008 presidential campaign through Mike Gravel's quixotic run for the Democratic (more...)

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