Bill Totten's Weblog

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dennis Kucinich: Desapparacido!

by Dave Lindorff (August 13 2007)

Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich has been "disappeared".

Not in the sense of victims of America's so-called War on Terror. He hasn't been carted off in an orange jumpsuit to some black site in Kazakhstan. But he has been "disappeared" by the reporters and editors of the New York Times.

In an article by Jeff Zeleny and Mark Santora on Sunday headlined "Democrats Say Leaving Iraq May Take Years", the Times reports that Democratic candidates, with only candidate Bill Richardson "standing apart", are saying that troops will have to stay in Iraq and the area around Iraq for a long time.

But wait. Kucinich, who in many polls does as well as, or better than Biden and Richardson (in a new straw poll of Democratic activists in California, he ranked right behind Edwards and Obama, and ahead of Clinton and the rest of the crowd), not only wants the US out of Iraq; he has submitted an actual bill in Congress (HR 1234) calling for a removal of all US troops within three months' time, and barring the expenditure of any funds on future military activity in the region except for the purpose of orderly withdrawal.

So why was Kucinich left out of the Times article on Democratic candidates' positions on the Iraq War?

The answer seems clear.

The Times has decided that Kucinich isn't a candidate. He doesn't exist.

He has been disappeared.

The same is true on the issue of impeachment. The Times has only twice mentioned the bill, H Res 333, for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney, which Kucinich filed on April 24. The first mention was a three-sentence "National Brief" item that ran the day Kucinich filed the measure, half of which was taken up with a Cheney spokeswoman's mocking response, and the second and only other was phrase tucked within a parenthetical comment in a April 27 article reporting on a lackluster candidate's debate.

Americans who get their news from the Times - and that would include millions who read or watch news that itself is produced by organizations whose editors' opinions are shaped by the Times - would not know that over the course of the last three and a half months, some twenty members of Congress, including six members of the crucial 23-member House Judiciary Committee, have signed on to Kucinich's Cheney impeachment bill. That is roughly ten percent of the House Democratic caucus.

So what's going on here?

Apparently, given the Times' famously inflated slogan "All the News that's Fit to Print", news about Representative Kucinich (Democrate, Ohio), including about his carefully laid out plan to end the Iraq War and about his bill to impeach the vice president, are somehow not "fit" to print.

The self-referential nature of Times reporting would be laughable if it were not so damaging to public knowledge and discourse and to the democratic process. It would also garner an "F" in any decent journalism class.

Take that April 27 article, by Zeleny and Adam Nagourney on one of the earliest Democratic candidates' debates. The two reporters refer to Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton as "the two most closely watched candidates of the night", though most observers, not to mention the audience, clearly most appreciated the blunt comments of Kucinich and former Alaska senator Mike Gravel. "Most closely watched" apparently refers to the two reporters, who had already decided that the race for the Democratic nomination had been winnowed down to those two candidates, with former senator John Edwards as a dark-horse possible challenger. They certainly don't mention any other source for their conclusion that Obama and Clinton are the most "closely watched".

Kucinich, who had not yet been "disappeared" by the Times, was relegated in this piece by Zeleny and Nagourney to the role of "long-shot rival".

This, remember, is before most people in the country could even name all the candidates running for the nomination for either party.

For that matter, I suspect that most people would have a hard time even today naming all the candidates running for the nomination of the two parties. And if the Times has its way, they never will, because candidates like Kucinich (and Gravel, and eventually, no doubt, most of the others except for those anointed as "serious" contenders by the Times "news fitness" gatekeepers), will be banished from all mention.

It makes you wonder why we bother with this whole primary process ... except that without them, how would corporate interests get a chance to pour money into campaigns and buy he eventual presidents and members of Congress.

Anyhow, so long Dennis! We hardly knew ye.

Bill Totten


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