How many wrong things can you find in the NYT paragraph about US Green Party?

Ralph Nader, speaking at BYU's Alternate Comme...

When was the last time this man was a Green Party candidate?

The New York Times did a positive article about the German Green Party‘s growth titled Greens Gain in Germany, and the World Takes Notice. In the article, the Times takes a paragraph to explain why the US Green Party has not had similar success. The quality of the Times reporting on the US Green Party is only matched by the quality of their reporting on WMD in Iraq, in the run-up to the US invasion.

OK for those of you playing at home, let’s see how many things you can find wrong with the following paragraph?

The global surge has remained under the radar in the United States, for many reasons. In a system dominated by two parties, the Greens have no representatives in Congress or, for that matter, in a single state legislature. The party’s image and electoral success in the United States has been tightly bound to the ultimately doomed presidential bids of Ralph Nader rather than depending on the grass-roots methods used to build the Greens in Germany. The German Greens even have their own local chapter in Washington, and they have served as a model for their political cousins abroad.

Answers:

  1. The Republicans and Democrats “dominate” the US political system because they agree upon rules to keep everyone else out. It’s not just the Green party that can’t break through. No one can. For instance, the rules in New York State to get on the ballot have been called “byzantine”. The boards of election in NY are divided equally between the Democrats and Republicans. Same for the Federal Election Commission. Same for the Presidential commission on Debates. In NY, a new party may have to get 3 times the number of signatures of a Democratic or Republican candidate to get on the ballot. And then, the Democrat and Republican Parties get the top 2 spots on the ballot every time. Want to get to court to get a fair shake at running for office? Well the standard is not about giving the voters a choice. The standard the courts use is whether a fair law would put too many candidates on the ballot so as to create “voter confusion“. Somehow, the courts think that the same voters who can keep track of 50-something Miss America contestants can’t deal with more than 2 political candidates. Who puts the judges on the bench?
  2. The Green Party has had state legislators. John Eder was elected, and re-elected, to the Maine state legislature. So what happened? The Democrats sent Kucinich several times to Eder’s district to try to get the Greens to change enrollment. And of course, the Democrats and Republicans got together to change the district lines so that Eder’s residence was separated from his voting base.
  3. Ralph Nader has not run on the Green Party line for President since 2000! That’s 2 presidential elections ago, folks. Of course the Times would not know about the 2004 and 2008 Green Party Presidential candidates because the Times never covered them.
  4. The Green Party runs grassroots campaigns all the time. The Green Party of New York State (where the Times is located) holds the national record for running over 100 local candidates in a single year. New York State has had 4 Green party Mayors, and the Village of New Paltz has had a Green Party majority — who were responsible for sparking the same-sex marriage revolution in the US. But again, the Times would not know this because they never cover the Green Party. It’s the corporate media’s famous circular reasoning that if we don’t cover you, then you don’t exist. It’s like when the media demands that Green party candidates show up high enough in the polls to be included in the debates, but refuse to cover the Green Party campaigns equally with the other campaigns, so the Green Party candidate never shows up in the polls. This frame of mind totally ignores the duty of the press to create a marketplace of ideas rather than a market place for advertisement. And it ignores that they have a duty to equally cover every candidate that has met the legal requirement to be on the ballot.
  5. Maybe the German media needs to serve as a model for their cousins in the United States, since the Germans are more likely to cover all parties, unlike the corporate media in the United States.

9 Responses

  1. Excellent commentary. Thank you.

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