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 click here 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.
AlterNet's Joshua Holland is calling for a boycott of the NBC debates. Here's an excerpt of a letter Holland wrote to NBC officials:
His "viability" is not an issue; Kucinich is not in this race to win. He's in it to influence the political discourse within the Democratic party, and as a Democratic-leaning independent, I would like to see the full spectrum of Democratic opinions aired and debated. It is maddening to have NBC deny us that process, especially so many months before the convention and with only a few small states having gone to the polls.
But even that isn't nearly as infuriating as the egregious disrespect shown to a member of the House of Representatives who's been sent back to Washington by his constituents five times. I'll be frank: to extend the invitation, and then rewrite your own rules in order to withdraw it makes it difficult for me to even maintain a civil tone.
I won't be watching your debate - it will be the first one I skip - because I don't want to support the idea that the media decides these elections and the voters are merely an afterthought. I will also write about your network's hubris on my blog and urge my friends and acquaintances to boycott the debate as well. Hopefully, General Electric will receive a lot of correspondence like this one, see a smaller-than-expected audience and finally figure out that while it has its hands in many businesses, electing a president isn't one that We the People will accept.
If you don't want NBC unilaterally deciding whose opinion you can hear, then let them know. Call NBC/MSNBC at 212 664-4444 and ask for the Comment Line or mail NBC/MSNBC at firstname.lastname@example.org