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News and commentary: Boston Globe supports exclusion of third parties in debate

KW: Two stories, then, comments by Ian Wilder at the bottom…

from Ballot Access News
Massachusetts Democratic Nominee for U.S. Senate Wants 3-Candidate Debates

December 15th, 2009

The Boston Globe has this story, which says that in the upcoming special election for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, the Democratic nominee, Martha Coakley, wants all the debates to include all three ballot-listed candidates. By contrast, the Republican nominee, Scott P. Brown, is willing to participate in debates at which the sponsors exclude the independent candidate, Joseph L. Kennedy.

The reporter who wrote the article seems to hint that he is not in sympathy with the demand for three-candidate debates. He suggests that the independent candidate is “little-known” and also that the voters may be confused by his name. The best way to educate the voters about Joseph L. Kennedy, obviously, is to see to it that he is included in the debates.

from Ballot Access News
Boston Globe Doesn’t Like 3-Candidate Debates
December 15th, 2009

The Boston Globe of December 16 has this editorial, telling the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in next month’s special election that she is wrong to refuse to debate, unless all three ballot-qualified candidates are invited.

The person who wrote this editorial probably doesn’t know that in Minnesota in 1998, every gubernatorial debate included Jesse Ventura, and there were dozens of such debates, all year long, in the primary season as well as the general election season. The Boston Globe says the independent, Joseph L. Kennedy, is “little-known”. Obviously, if he were included in all the debates, that problem would be overcome.

Comments by Ian Wilder, posted at Independent Political Report:

This is why so many liberals who voted for Obama are shocked that he is for the Afghanistan War. When the only two candidates in a debate, such as McCain and Obama, agree on an issue, such as Afghanistan, then there is no discussion of that issue. And even worse, the public draws may draw false impressions about a candidate because voters have to rely on their assumptions about what that party stands for, rather than the candidate’s actual position.

This was highlighted when we had a debate in Huntington LI in 2008 with surrogates of the Democratic, Republican, Green and Libertarian candidates. The Green Party surrogate was the only one who opposed the Afghanistan War and supported single-payer healthcare. The contrast became very stark as the Democratic surrogate called the Green surrogate’s position on Afghanistan “naive”, though it was the position supported by a majority of Americans. If we had a broader debate in the 2008 presidential race, we could have had a real discussion of these real issues instead of socialist name-calling and Joe the Plumber.

This is why newspapers need to die. Not because I disagree with their position, but because they are totally failing to do their Constitutionally protected role. The press is supposed to be a marketplace of ideas. Not just the ideas represented by the few but all the ideas, so that the best policy can be made. If newspapers not only refuse to do that job, but even lobby against such discussion, then democracy is better off without them.

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