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Breaking News: Judge says MSNBC must include Kucinich

A judge in Nevada has just ordered MSNBC to include Rep. Dennis Kucinich in Tuesday's Democratic Party presidential debate in Las Vegas or he will cancel the forum.

Senior Clark County District Court Judge Charles Thompson vowed to issue an injunction halting the nationally televised debate if MSNBC failed to comply. Kucinich had filed a lawsuit seeking to be included just this morning.

(UPDATE: Late Monday, according to the Associated Press, NBC indicated that if Judge Thompson officially signed his order Tuesday morning, it would appeal that decision to the Nevada Supreme Court, seeking to keep Kucinich out of the evening's debate.)

The judge ruled Monday it was a matter of fairness and Nevada voters would benefit from hearing from more than just Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama. Kucinich had been invited to participate in the 6 p.m. Pacific debate Tuesday, but that invitation was rescinded last week following the ....

results of the New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucuses that showed Kucinich trailing badly.

Kucinich received the news in an Associated Press story handed to him during a telephone interview with Neil Cavuto on the Fox Business channel. Kucinich read the news item out loud: "It says ‘A Nevada judge said Monday that Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich must be included in Tuesday’s candidates’ debate in Nevada’.  Holy smokes!  I just found out.  I have to get off the phone now.  I have to make plans to go to Nevada.”

So set up a fourth podium.

--Andrew Malcolm

Comments () | Archives (52)

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Thank God that sanity prevailed here. I was OUTRAGED when I heard they weren’t going to let Kucinich in the debate, and not only because Edwards and Clinton and Obama all sound identical. Who the heck do the folks at MBSNC think they are? Just because their brain capacity (and their programming formats) are too limited to consider more than three candidates doesn’t mean that ours is too.

I am sick and tired of news programs telling us who are the “electable candidate”. There is only ONE poll that matters, and that’s the one where WE pull the lever. Stop telling us who is “electable”, and let OUR votes decide that!

Your article is misleading about why Kucinich was uninvited from the NBC Debate. The initial criteria included a fourth-place or better showing in a national poll. Kucinich met that criterion and all the other criteria. Kucinich was uninvited because NBC thought that the 4th candidate would be Bill Richardson. Richardson dropped out and the 4th invitation automatically went to Kucinich. Kucinich was uninvited to silence "public debate that dissents with the views of NBC, its parent company, GE, and all of the military contractors and their candidate-funding corporate interests."

Hurray for Dennis! Hurray for the rule of law over Corporate shenanigans!

If we vote for anyone on the corporate dole we are voting for the end of democracy and the degradation of our earth.

Go Dennis and John...our 2 non corporate warriors.

Remember the good old days when broadcasting companies were impartial? Me neither...


There is a reason for taking Dennis Kucinich out of the picture is because the Democratic voters will like to focus on the top runners. Most of the people complaiinint about poor Dennis are the Republicans TYVM.

For Dennis to take part in this forum/debate is the only democratic way! Who the hell are NBC to tell me who I can listen to? This is censorship and results in an unfair election. All viewpoints need to be presented!

Vote Dennis!

Finally someone is listening to the concerns of the American people instead of pleasing big news corporations by putting all efforts imposing 3 democratic candidates that don't have much difference in platforms. The news corporations have been focusing on is, how much money candidates have, race and gender. When the most important issues for Americans are: Universal Health care, Stop the War, and Punish the president that lied to to get us into an unnecessary Iraq War. I want to see Kucinich on debate, because he is the only one that has something intelligent to say.

Does wdcluis even know what "Democratic" means?

Dennis Kucinich is an honest American. That cannot be said about the President or Vice President of our country. I want to heard what Mr. Kucinich has to say. I respect him as a person.

Are you listening msnbc, and mass media? Frauds are transparent, and are seen through very easily in the 21st century. Let people speak - in the further future, debates will come in the streets with pots, and pans, and voices louder then any conglomerate's airwaves.

There seems to be a media gag on Dennis Kucinich. This all started with Iowa newspaper sponsoring their debate excluding him for no valid reason, it then followed with ABC and now MSNBC. Mr. Kucinich has a lot of voter support in this Country and truly represents the Liberal stand on all of the issues. Better yet, his record as Mayor of Cleveland and Ohio Congressman speaks volumes, as opposed to the record for Mr. Obama, and Mrs. Clinton.
If the stations sponsoring these debates really wanted what is best for our country they would be in favor of including more presidential candidates and not limiting these debates to reruns of the previous debate.
Judging by the slant on this article printed by the LA Times, I seriously doubt that this comment will be posted.


Dennis Kucinich is the Only candidate willing to speak Truth to Power; he is the only candidate who will bring about actual change, not just more of the status quo. He represents we the people, not 'we the corporations' - and his voice will be a welcome change in the debates! Listen carefully...and vote your conscience.

It's not just Eisenhower's "Military-Industrial Complex" anymore.

What we have here, is the "Military-Industrial-Media-Poliitical Complex".

Holy smokes, Batman! Kucinich rocks!

Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate willing to stand up for the people in this election process. For Clinton, Edwards, and Obama, not to challenge the blatant corporate manipulation of our elections, is a poor reflection on their sense of ethics and stewardship for the American people.

The powers that be want to only show the three front runners because as evidenced by their corporate loyalty, they will keep the status quo. Dennis Kucinich is the real voice of change, and the only threat to the corporate giants that are violating our Constitutional rights to a democratic election, and a democracy "for the people."

I applaud the judge that ruled in favor of the people, not MSM. I also applaud Dennis Kucinich for his continued effort to honor our Constitution, and ensure our election process is free from corporate corruption.

wdcluis is clueless.... I'm a Democrat (capitalized) and I support the democratic (not capitalized...) process. That means ALL voices need to be heard. I am offended by NBC trying to tell me and many of my Democrat friends who we should and should not consider "electable". I wrote to MSNBC and asked that Kucinich be "re-invited" to the debate. If you feel the same way, please contact MSNBC/ NBC and tell then that the judge is right!

please ask candidates, why spend trillions on a war when couldn't trillions of dollars have been enough to buy every home in america solar power??????

It is immoral for the government to tell a news agency what it must and must not broadcast.

I'd prefer that MSNBC cancel its entire debate than be manipulated by a rogue tyrant judge.

I'm not saying this because I dislike Kucinich. He is a respectable candidate, though I'm a Ron Paul supporter myself. But government intrusion here is unjustified and immoral and will only lead to bigger problems down the road.

Thank you Kucinich for standing up to our brave new "election by corporation." It is astounding to see how successful the media has been in marginalizing those candidates whose views actually reflect the concerns of the American people. Here's the only democrat who's talking about firing the health insurance industry, getting us out of an illegal war now and impeaching the administration criminals who have spent the last 7.5 years dismantling the very Constitution they took a solemn oath to defend; and so NBC, in an act of sage patriarchal kindness, has pronounced that we should see instead three popinjays with not a dime's difference between them, and why? -- because they can be counted on to behave like good little candidates and spend their time slinging insults at each other rather than clearly addressing the concerns of the American people. Go Dennis!

Bryant Knight -- you are misunderstanding this situation. The media is the fourth estate and has a role to play in our democratic elections. That role is not to narrow down the legitimate candidates to ones they would prefer to promote but to give all candidates an equal opportunity to get out their message. The airwaves belong to the american people not to the corporate media. This is not a rogue judge, any judge would have ruled the same way.

i'm a ron paul supporter and i'm tickled that the judge ruled in dennis kucinich' favor!

"It is immoral for the government to tell a news agency what it must and must not broadcast."

Who, pray tell, do you think owns the bandwidth/frequency/whatever that MSNBC broadcasts on? WE DO! If MSNBC chooses to distort and manipulate our democracy, they do not deserve to be allowed to broadcast at all. That is what the judge ruled. A judge that rules in favor of you over a corporation may be rogue in that it so seldom happens, but the last thing the ruling could be called is is immoral. When are you going to figure out that the government represents YOU and YOUR RIGHTS as a citizen!

I'm glad Mr Kucinich finally got some justice. When you're a true supporter I know how frustrating it is when your guy gets disrespected and ignored. It's like any candidate the media like and doesn't agree with gets excluded. Why can't the media stop trying to influence the outcome of elections and just let the public decide? Ron Paul has had his own battles with the media but he and Dennis Kucinich have many similarities when it comes to their philosophies. I've always liked Kucinich because of his views but also because he is not a CFR member. Paul, Kucinich, and Gravel are the only ones running for office that aren't. If it weren't for all the biases and blatantly unfair treatment of the 2 party system any of these men would be a great choice as a 3rd party candidate. The founder's of this country would be ashamed of what the election process in the US has now become. The media has too much control in deciding our elected officials, something really needs to be done about it..

Dennis, nice work! Now I hope everyone remembers that when Shakespeare wrote "first we kill all the lawyers" the context is important. The speaker and mob wanted anarchy. The rule of law is what separates us from the beasts. The rule of law - and Dennis Kucinich (and other honest politicians) can get us out of this mess we're in. Bush has packed the courts with cronies, but there are still many honest judges out there who respect the rule of law. When that changes all will be lost. Keep speaking truth to power, Dennis!

Will America now begin to wonder what it is that Kucinich stands for, that merits such extreme measures from mega-corporations like NBC, ABC, and AARP to silence him? Because in that very question, lies the answer to who is the best candidate for the people.

This is great news especially with Richardson dropping out! Including Kucinich in the debate will be helpful to enliven the discussion of the Democratic debates. I really do not see much difference among the 3 front runners. So far it is all about how they make us feel and whether emotionally they seem “Presidential” to each of us. Policy statements on real issues will be given more weight and be good practice for later debates with the Republicans.
For example, Kucinich's position on the Iraq war will force the other 3 to come clean. Kucinich serves the same purpose as Ron Paul in the Republican debates. He helps the others define themselves more clearly and he helps others see the justification for or against America's foreign policy. Right now they are just able to slide on it and it will be VERY useful to have previous well demarcated positions established for the debates after the Republican and Democratic Conventions in September.

Dennis Kucinich' voice must be heard because it's the voice of tens of millions of progressive Americans who are not going to put up with DNC's pandering any more... that is the GOP's role (to serve as beasts of burden for America's holier-than-thou false nobility).
It's HILLARYous that Dennis says he has to rush off to make plans for Nevada... all Dennis has to do is get his air-fare squared away... no hair primpin', no checking-in with the powers that be for sound-bites, no message adjusting or delivery rehearsals...

Dennis is THE REAL THING! A genuine representative of Progressive America who only needs to speak his (our) mind. The CURE to this disease that is blighting our Nation is Dennis Kucinich' plan for America.

Give 'em heck, Dennis! Progressive America is with you all the way!

An even better solution would have been if one (or all) of the other candidates had said they would not participate unless Dennis did. But they probably dislike Dennis' ideas as much as the networks.

Way to go Dennis!

I believe I believe I believe! You are the ONLY candidate who has NEVER voted for any war or voted to fund any war. Your the only one who really wants to bring renewable energy to this county and cars that stop using foreign oil.

Through you Dennis America could stop being the policeman of the world and start using our tax dollars on Americans. You are the only one who really has a Universal Health care plan to cover all American's and if the rich want to buy their own they can.

So Michigan vote KUCINICH TODAY!

The working man who votes republican is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders >.<

I'm still wondering if the powers that are behind his exclusion are the Clinton & Edwards campaigns. Back in July '07 there was a debate in Detroit sponsored by the NAACP , immediately following the debate Hillary and Edwards can be heard discussing the need to eliminate the field of debaters. There are several videos of the conversation on "You Tube" check it out for yourself!!

MSNBC, GE, ABC, ET CETERA are going to have to let go of their creepy corporate stranglehold on the mass media and let in Dennis! This debate exclusion has been RIDICULOUS - inviting a candidate and then uninviting them? CLASSY.

Kucinich, as always [when he's allowed to be there], will give a breath of fresh air as he speaks next to the other candidates. Who else but Kucinich:

+is pushing for single-payer, not-for-profit universal health care;
+doesn't accept corporate campaign contributions;
+has actually put forth motions in Congress to impeach Dick Cheney [part of an administration that 'pulls a Nixon' pretty much every week];
+never voted for the war or its funding;
+supports same-sex marriage;
+and wants to create a Works Green Administration to accomplish progressive policy around environmental issues?

It's obvious why the corporate big wigs want to exclude him. But this time they're not going to get away with it. Kudos to you, Nevada judge!

Dennis Kucinich is a true American patriot and should be allowed to participate in any Democratic debate during the primaries. Ron Paul beat Rudy Guliani in every state that has voted so far and still the news media ignores the fact that he is a viable candidate and continually refers to Guliani as viable. How long are the American people going to allow the media to control our country? WAKE UP AMERICA. It is almost too late. Take back America for Americans or your grandchildren are going to be paying rent to the Chinese and Saudis for our own land, if YOU are not doing so already. VOTE FOR TRUE CHANGES. STUDY THE CANDIDATES. LEARN THE ISSUES. THIS IS SURVIVAL WE ARE DEALING WITH. Thank you.

There is no justifiable legal basis for a judge ordering a private entity to include another private entity in a private forum. Anyone who has taken Constitutional Law will remember that the first amendment includes freedom from compelled association. This will never stand up in a higher court, thank God.

Why should a private enterprise be required to do ANYTHING that you people want? Kucinich is a fringe leftist with a barely perceptible following. He no more belongs on that stage than my mailman. MSNBC made a business decision. And yet, our activist judges make their own laws.

This is laughable, as is Kucinich.

I am wondering what part of the First Amendment the judge and many of the posters do not understand. The judge has no constitutional authority to issue an injunction against a political debate because he thinks certain candidates should be included. MSNBC has the constitutional right to air the debate as it sees fit. Government -- including the judicial branch -- shall make no law (or injunction) abridging the freedom of the press.

The systematic censorship of the only real democrat will continue...NBC will find a way to exclude him from the debate, just like the Des Moines Register, ABC, the Texas DNC, and, well, probably everybody. Sad. I'm still going to write him in for president. Some might call that throwing my vote away, but voting for any of the three the media touts is throwing democracy away.

"It's never free and fair when a group of unelected people get to
decide who's on the ballot." -George W. Bush

"GE has earned over $2 Billion in defense contracts in the last year alone.... Hmmm, Does anyone think they have an interest in keeping the war going?"

"Of course MSNBC (80% owned by General Electric) doesn’t want Kucinich to be in the debate. General Electric is a nuclear powerhouse and Dennis Kucinich has been an enemy of nuclear power for years"







Judge Charles Thompson's order declares:

“This is a matter which affects the public interest.”

But judge, don’t you know that the very term, “the public interest” is not only ignored but held in absolute contempt by this whole pack of corporate imperialists behind NBC?

In fact, judge, in Al Gore’s insightful new book, “The Assault on Reason” he carefully reasons and documents several times that within the radical right-wing corporatist faction which has captured our government, “there is no such thing as ‘the public interest’; that phrase represents a dangerous fiction created as an excuse to impose unfair burdens on the wealthy and the powerful.”

The corporatist empire behind this façade of ‘Vichy America’ (and the ‘Vichy’ MSM) does not even ordain to accept the concept of a ‘public interest’ ---- a point of truth that unites Al Gore, Ralph Nader, and of course Dennis Kucinich.

A lot of posters here are missing a huge point. A Presidential debate falls under equal access to the political process, and is covered under the 14th Amendment, according to the Supreme Court. See Romer v. Evans for that. Further, the idea that corporations possess the same free speech rights as individuals is absolutely ludricrous on its face. Corporations have commerical speech which is far less protected that personal free speech and even more less protected than political speech. The BIll of Rights deals with individual rights, not corporate rights!

That, and it is not up to the Old Media to decide who is a candidate and who is not, nor who is viable or not. That's up to the individual voters, not the corporations. Whether you like or agree with Kucinich or not, the fact that he's running means he deserves an equal opportunity to present his message. The same holds true for Gravel, Hunter, any Libertarian, Green, or Constitution Party candidate, or any frontrunner.

Fox laid a huge egg on excluding Dr. Paul from the NH debates, and Jay Leno scrambled that egg into a nice omelette by inviting Dr. Paul on at the last moment. NBC obviously hasn't learned from Jay how to do it right.

What are the odds that if NBC loses their appeal, that Kucinich will become a podium statue up there, receiving no questions?

I think it's time we went back to Lincoln-Dougles, old-school. At least PBS knows how to run a fair debate.

What a shame. Removing Dennis from the debate had nothing to do with his views (as leftist-extremist pandering as they are) or corporate interests (note that the word "corporate" is written a dozen times in these comments by various Dennis supporters). This debate is about giving people the information they need to choose our next president, and there are only three dems who stand a chance. Adding a fourth is a distraction.

Please include the candidate, Dennis Kucinich whom you invited to participate, in the Democratic debate tonight, Jan. 14, 2008. This is supposed to be a democratic country. I would hope you would have the dignity to include him, John Edwards and Mike Gravel This would be the right thing to do

It's always entertaining reading comments from people that don't connect these facts:

1. Media like ABC and NBC have kept many Americans from hearing and seeing Congressman Kucinich.

2. Many Americans haven't heard or seen Congressman Kucinich.

3. Many Americans don't get out to vote for Congressman Kucinich.

Un-electable is a recently invented concept. Here's how it works. You get yourself a big audience by pandering to everyone's baser interests and then you holler as often as you can "LOSER" about anyone that threatens your profits. Except instead of hollering "loser", which sounds so "high-school-cafeteria", you shout "UN-ELECTABLE" which is meaningless but new and sounds kind of world-wise. Its purpose is to convince people that something has already happened when it hasn't even started, so as to cripple anyone you consider threatening.

I'm not buying. I still subscribe to the old fashioned theory that in a democracy the election is determined by the Americans who go into the booth and vote. Then you find out who was “electable”.

If we want the President to be a person who represents Americans instead of corporations we're going to have to get used to the idea that we'll have to look for that person beyond the curtain that corporate media constructs.

This President of the people is unlikely to have a war chest (aptly named) of $100 million at their disposal, as Clinton and Obama do right now, and so the message of people like Congressman Kucinich is going to be that much harder to find and hear.

I also don't buy someone "looking Presidential". I'm not interested in my President's TV ratings. I'm interested in their character and their record on the issues.

By the way the suit that Congressman Kucinich brought against NBC was for breach of contract. NBC made a contract with Congressman Kucinich and then broke it. That was the judge’s ruling.

I know that the media is trying to push the frontrunners as much as possible, but I'm glad that Kucinich may be getting a seat at the grown-up table tonight in Vegas. I think his constant focus on education will force the other candidates to explain their own ideas in more detail. Of course, much of this depends on the questions asked by the moderator, and if you watched the N.H. debate, education was nowhere on Charlie Gibson's radar. However, I hope that good 'ol Dennis will make it a primary issue tonight (no pun intended).

The "Military-Industrial-Media-Political Complex" (in this case GE's NBC and MSNBC) are up to their antics... In their TV ads for the debates this evening, they are not showing or even mentioning Dennis Kucinich as being part of the debate! They probably won't ask him any questions and his podium will probably be off stage. Why may I ask... are they so afraid of him?
And don't give me the baloney about he is a distraction or there are enough people running as a Democrat.

They are afraid of Dennis just like they are afraid of Ron Paul and it is in what they are saying and what they stand for! They are for... 'we the people!'

You can bet big money that MSNBC and the rest of the corporate world doesn't want the voters of this country to hear what Kucinich has to say.

He'll breakup the the big media ownership groups and put the airwaves back into the hands of responsible journalists that will tell the the truth to the American people so that we can start fighting our way back to being the greatest country in the world instead of deteriorating into being a third rate banana republic run by a bunch of power hungry megalomaniacs like Bush, Cheney and the rest of the crime family that inhabit OUR capitol.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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