Why You Should Disregard Presidential Debates

Commission on presidential debates

Article by Garrett Will
Amidst the obnoxious buzzing of the beltway media as demanded by their corporatist overlords is an obscured third-party voice. This voice is the independent, the third party voter; those who are discontent with the painfully obvious butchering of what should be honest, un-soured political machinations, but instead turns out to be a live reality television stunt that doubles as a multi-faceted marketing stunt. And that same voice is routinely squelched by the corporate doctrine of these shameful debates that we see every election cycle.

Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, was arrested when trying to gain attendance to the second debate. She, rightfully so, tried to voice the message that these debates are shams that are meant to distract the audience with irrelevant name-calling, time-wasting rhetoric spewing, and airtight moderation that evidently nullifies any notion of truth & integrity. She attempted to do her part to bring back substance into the equation of who gets to hover their proverbial finger over the big red button. However, because of the two-party dictatorship consisting of the inconsistent Democrats and the diseased elephant in the room that is the Republican party, those who run the debates and hire the security would not have any interruptions.

The vehicle of this tight control, whose mission is to hypnotize and fool the would-be voters (and subsequently scare them out of voting for their conscience), is the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). They once marketed themselves as a non-partisan interest, but ever since, they have dwindled into a bipartisan method of poisoning the well. The debates were once run by the League of Women Voters, but of course, the CPD would not have unscripted, free-exchange debates to show the American people who they were at least considering voting for. To the CPD, open debate is akin to crime, hence how they treated the mild-mannered but very strong-willed Jill Stein attempting to grant herself a voice.

As corporate interests, such as Phillip Morris in the 1992 & 1996 elections, take advantage of these laughable debacles via tax-deductible donations, so the two major ruling parties are benefited equally by this sullying of the political process. As Nancy Neuman, the former President of the League of Women Voters explains:

One of the big differences between us and the commission was that the commission could easily raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions. They did it very quickly in 1988. Even though I would go to some corporations, I would be lucky to get $5,000. Why? Because under the commission's sponsorship, this is another soft-money deal. It is a way to show your support for the parties because, of course, it is a bipartisan commission and a bipartisan contribution. There was nothing in it for corporations when they made a contribution to the League. Not a quid pro quo. That's not the case with the commission. (source)

Indeed, advertisements, banners, and other forms of product placements are a guaranteed occurrence. Thus, no one with any ounce of integrity or care could deny the overt corporate influence of the debates. An example straight out of the horse's mouth (Washington Post's Dana Milbank) as per the 2000 debates:

The whole campus is closed -- (ostensibly) to thwart terrorists, more likely to thwart Nader and Buchanan. Nader gets kicked out of the debate audience, even though he got himself a ticket from a student. He's threatening lawsuits. But I'm not worried about such things. I am inside the debate area, and I am delighted to find an Anheuser Busch refreshment tent, where there is beer flowing, snacks, Budweiser girls in red sweaters, the baseball playoffs on television, ping pong and fusbol.

We're not going to apologize for trying to influence political elections.
The most active multinational interest groups, through their weak-willed lobbyists easily bought by promises of capital, appear to be pharmaceutical, gambling, alcohol, cigarette, and banking corporations. In fact, one of the co-chairs of the CPD, Frank Fahrenkopf, once adamantly stated, "we're not going to apologize for trying to influence political elections." Talk about honesty at its finest! Yet it's not all bad; there are respectable sponsors who withdrew support in response to the unjust censorship of third party candidates, and those include: BBH New York, YWCA USA, and Philips Electronics. And since we're back on the topic of Jill Stein's forced reprimand of her rights at the CPD recently, here is Jill Stein herself addressing the issue of how the CPD undermines the political process:

"Our constitution is supposed to protect us against manipulations of democracy of the kind scheduled tonight, and I hope the court will act now to stop this farce, but either way, we will keep up the fight, and one of these days American elections and our debates will be reclaimed by the American people" (source).

Questions by the audience are regulated so as to not rouse too much sensation, and to avoid any actual upset of the status quo.
It's interesting to surmise that bad blood has existed between Dr. Jill Stein and the bold-faced chameleon Mitt Romney ever since the Massachusetts gubernatorial election of 2002, from which The Boston Globe was quoted as saying that she was "the only adult in the room."1 However, it certainly doesn't help causes with thanks to the closely controlled reigns of the CPD-run Presidential elections. The monetary interests at stake demand that any real progressive voice be stymied, and the bought & paid for first-party candidates should be the only ones present. Not to mention, questions by the audience are regulated so as to not rouse too much sensation, and to avoid any actual upset of the status quo. You can tell this is the case as the interactive audience must read from a paper. They're also pre-screened to ensure this process is maintained as effectively as possible. Of course, as with anything, even a slip or two is bound to occur. It's also possible that the alleged "favoritism" posed by the moderator, CNN's Candy Crowley, is no accident. After all, current President Barrack Obama is the more charismatic, appealing of the two, and so he is better able to tow the line.

So why aren't enough people starting a wave about these shams? You can only talk about how much bullspit is to be found in these "debates", which are, as Ralph Nader called them, "parallel interviews"2, in local radio. So people need to make waves on their end. This is one of the only ways you can try to wake up the American people from the stupor induced by the market-driven political system that powers the corporate media. Don't hope for any CNN, Fox, or NBC radio station to ever allow for more than an introductory segment on third party candidates. The self-censorship, geared towards towing the party line and to line their overlords' coffers, does not warrant open discussion in these avenues. One should also be leary of CNN's nature on the one fact that they are often the vessel of these veiled marketing schemes, even though all of the mainstream, beltway media are guilty of their part in the destruction of American politics as we know it.

(1: Derrick Z. Jackson: "Debate Adds Little Clarity For Voters"; The Boston Globe, Oct. 25-2002)
(2: Ralph Nader: "Rigged Presidential "Debates" Amidst the Supine Media"; nader.org/2012/10/02/rigged-presidential-debates-amidst-the-supine-media)

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