My guest today is Pete Tucker, an independent D.C.-based journalist who writes at TheFightBack.org and Huffington Post. He has recently written a series of pieces on presidential debates, including "How Presidential Debates Became 'a Fraud on the American Voter'."
Joan Brunwasser: Welcome to OpEdNews, Pete. It's quite clear that large numbers of voters are not thrilled about either party's nominee. But what's wrong with our presidential debates?
Pete Tucker: Thanks, Joan. Maybe the biggest problem with the presidential debates is that the organization running them was forged in sin, so to speak. While official-sounding, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) was jointly created by Democrats and Republicans in 1987 in order to kick out the nonpartisan League of Women Voters, which had been sponsoring the debates since 1976.
With debates regularly attracting over 50 million viewers, the two parties didn't want the independent League running them and determining whether third party candidates could participate. So the Democrats and Republicans replaced the League with the bipartisan CPD, giving their nominees a greater say over virtually every aspect of the debates.
The resulting debates were not uniformly well-received. CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite called them "phony, part of an unconscionable fraud." And the League ceased any involvement so as to avoid "becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public."
Nearly thirty years later, the CPD is still at it.