Straight From The Shoulder of Michael Shelby
Gov. Bill Richardson Wins MSNBC Post Debate Analysis
Yeah, right! Richardson wins only if you replace the term “debate” with “golf tournament” where the winner posts the lowest score. Richardson was not referenced once, not so much as a mention, in the AFL-CIO Presidential Forum 90 minute post-analysis broadcast by MSNBC. Dennis Kucinich who clearly had the most comprehensive, substantive, clever answers and was an obvious crowd favorite of the 15,000 assembled union workers and having delivered the line of the night—Kucinich received all of five mentions. The anointed front runners–Clinton, Obama, and Edwards–each received 62, 39, and 24 respectively.
Skewed coverage underscores a significant problem with mainstream media (MSM) coverage of politics in America. Last week, The New York Times (Campaign Puts Giuliani and Ailes in Uncharted Territory, by Russ Buettner, August 1, 2007) did a thorough breakdown on how the Fox News Opinion channel gives an inordinate allotment of coverage to Rudy Giuliani, the current front runner, and close personal friend of the Fox Noise News Opinion Channel Chairman Roger Ailes, for the GOP primary. One conclusion to be drawn is that media likes to cover front runners and front runners get more coverage – creating a circular situation of “them that has gets more,” (a sort of if it bleeds it leads bias). This results in other candidates being disenfranchised. And, just as minority, ethnic, and democratic voters have been systematically disenfranchised by the Republican Party to steal elections, so too does the MSM drive candidate preference.
Patterns Are the Shells of Conspiracy
We used a saying back in corporate world regarding decision making, “In God we trust, all others must use data.” That and my training in science explain my adherence to data driven decision making. I modified Buettner’s approach in the Times to record the MSNBC post forum analysis. I listed the candidates and assigned each a tick mark when their name was mentioned (regardless of who said it) pictured in chart form below. I assigned ticks when they were given individual “face time” (regardless of whether they were speaking or being spoken of), when one of their surrogates used their name or that of an opponent (only Clinton, Obama, and Edwards surrogates were interviewed in the post forum analysis), or when one of the moderators (Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann) or various pundits mentioned a candidate by name. I specifically left out any nebulous references to “he” or “she” (which does point to another subliminal advantage, however, for Hillary Clinton as she is the only she in the race). I further refined the analysis to differentiate the influence of surrogates and pundits on the number of references to each candidate that were made. The first round (Series 1 in chart – References Per Segment on MSNBC) had Chris Matthews interviewing MSNBC commentator Pat Buchanan, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, and Washington Post political reporter Eugene Robinson. Clinton and Obama tied at 11 mentions each, Edwards garnered 6, followed by Kucinich at 4 of his total of 5. Next, the round of surrogates (Series 2)–Howard Wolfson from the Clinton camp (add 20 tick marks), David Axelrod for Obama (13 for the nubie), and David Bonior representing Edwards (dragging hind teat with only 11 points). No mention at all was made of any of the other candidates by any of the surrogates. It was as if we had just watched a three person forum, not the eight that were actually participating. Then, Chris Matthews next dedicated over 12 minutes of exclusive one-on-one face time to Hillary Clinton’s national campaign manager, Terry McAuliffe (Series 3). During McAuliffe’s solo performance, Clinton picked up an additional 19 references. Obama scored only 9. Edwards joined the other tail-enders being shut out completely. The next set of pundits (Series 4) briefly interviewed by Matthews included Lynn Sweet, Chris Jansing, and Jonathan Alter. Clinton tops that short list with 4, Obama with 2, Kucinich picks up one, while Edwards and the rest of the pack are presented with doughnuts once again. Finally, Matthews turns to David Shuster, MSNBC political reporter, for his “Truth Squad” segment (Series 5) to document who told the truth or who fudged their facts or got it wrong. Obama wins this round with 9 points, followed by Clinton with 7. Chris Dodd reemerges with 5 tick marks of his total 8 and Joe Biden gets looked at for 4 of his 5 for the night. Bringing up the rear (which might actually be a good thing since those mentioned were mostly being challenged as to the veracity of their statements) was Edwards tying with Biden at 4 references each. Hapless Bill Richardson received not one mention–zip, zero, none–of his performance on the night despite being as credible, clever, and honest as anyone on the stage. It was as if Richardson were not even there…imitating Mike Gravel.
For the sake of full disclosure I am an avowed Dennis Kucinich supporter (with close seconds for Edwards and Obama). Anyone who is aware of the issues, who knows the damage to America under Bush and the Republicans for the last forty years, and who knows the issue positions his opponents espouse wants a Kucinich presidency. Anyone who is bone honest with himself lines up four-square with Dennis Kucinich. Why else would the universal response to the Kucinich candidacy be that he has been right on every single issue for the Democratic Party, especially progressives, but “he just can’t get elected.” Poppycock! Pat Buchanan and Willie Brown spoke enthusiastically, even bordering on affection, of Kucinich’s forum performance and his stand on the issues. Kucinich is correct, first, and leads on the issues of dissolving NAFTA and creating jobs through infrastructure development, instituting universal single payer not-for-profit healthcare, and getting out of Iraq never having voted for the war or for any funding for the calamitous occupation (and they didn’t even mention his H.Res. 333 calling for the impeachment of the vice president locked and loaded in Chairman John Conyers House Judiciary Committee). Hillary is “republican lite” compared to Kucinich who, despite being a multi-term congressman, has managed to maintain independence and not be assimilated by the “BORG”, otherwise known as Washington insiders. I could go on but back to the “patterns that portend conspiracy.”
The New York Times article chart, Tracking Face Time, shows how the various networks covered all the candidates, declared or not. A pattern we can draw a conclusion from is that there is, never has been really, a liberal media. There is a conservative mouthpiece for the Republican Party and that’s a fact! (Disturbingly, reporting by the Fox News Opinion channel devotes more time to Dennis Kucinich than any other democrat. What’s up with that!?!) But the chart clearly shows which candidates tend to get the most coverage and it adds up to the usual suspects be they Republican or Democrat. Is there a not so hidden agenda in all this? I think so. Regardless of what the issue is facing us today, war, healthcare, poverty, the “new” hot button issue of infrastructure, Social Security, education, environment, energy, privatization of elections—follow the money! The Republicans, well I won’t even go there because if you haven’t figured them out by now you’re in the wrong dimension. The democratic front runner nationally beating her nearest rival Barack Obama by over 20 points is Hillary Clinton. The Clinton’s are and have been dyed-in-the-wool disciples of the Democratic Leadership Council, aka, Republican Lite corporatist elite. Hillary continues to defend lobbyists as “representing real people, too” as if their substantial corporate donations have absolutely no influence. Clinton is the second largest recipient of dollars from the insurance/pharmaceutical/HMO lobby. Is this just a case of if you can’t beat ‘em might as well join ‘em or is she taking their money so she can stick it to ‘em later? You can decide that one. There is hope for Barack Obama even though the signs of the money getting their tentacles around his testicles were there for awhile but he is pulling back owing to his success at fund raising via the internet. Edwards no PAC money stance has caught on with the rest of the bundle, oh wait, Dennis Kucinich was out front on that issue too . . . hmmmm?!
The Money Party will support the candidate most likely to be sympathetic to their need for hegemony over all things domestic and foreign…always has, always will. The Golden Rule, He Who Has The Most Gold Rules, has always been a tough nut to crack for The People Party–the true democrats, progressives, liberals, Greens, Independents, etc., in breaking through their tyranny. Now is no exception. The money favors the front runner by assuring the front runner they choose gets the most media. And they’re clever buggers allowing in just so many “ringers” to make it all look legitimate on the surface. But, drill down into the data, uncover the patterns, see the whole board and it’s not that terribly difficult to see how we are all being hosed. The data speaks for itself.
They say knowing is half the battle. People much smarter than me like David Sirota, David Swanson, Will Pitt, and Paul Krugman to name but a few have known all this and sounded the alarms for years. Now that we know, let’s be sure we back the person who stands for our values, who has courage and sand, who is unafraid to speak truth to power and stand for the vast number of regular Americans who do the working and living and dieing in this country–all for a measly three bedrooms and a bath, a car and a job so they can provide a better life for their children. That’s not so much to ask. We can break through the tyranny imposed on all of us. Just look at the facts and choose wisely. Then, no matter who wins the democratic primary, get busy turning out the vote for our candidate so the Republicans won’t steal another election.