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The ITT List

Wednesday, May 31, 2006, 9:02 am

It’s Still Democrats vs Republicans Plus Press Double Standards And Frequent Bias

By Brian Zick

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Steve Soto posted a short but important commentary yesterday, about the upcoming election, and the now-routine media practice of partisan favor for Republicans - and disfavor of Democrats - in its coverage of events. Via Atrios, Joe Conason has an appropriately scathing rebuttal, in the New York Observer, to the Big Foot DC Media's smutty voyeurist obsession with the Clintons (but nobody else).

Back in 1998, Paul Wellstone formed an "exploratory campaign committee" to determine whether he would run for President in 2000. I had the great privilege of attending one of his fundraisers (typically Wellstone, even though he appeared at the home of Los Angeles luminaries Stanley and Betty Sheinbaum in posh Brentwood, he made it affordable).

After his speech, the Senator made a point to speak to everybody who wanted to speak with him. And when he turned to me, I suggested he have debates with reporters, as well as other candidates. I believed the force and authority of his knowledge and ideological perspective would be enormously persuasive. But that he had to directly confront the press - in one-on-one debates - to effectively convey his message (well, and also to expose certain reporters as the half-wit pompous know-nothings that they are).

The Senator laughed and appreciated the suggestion. But he had doubts about the wisdom of such a confrontational campaign strategy.

I still believe Wellstone could've won - despite all the typical "too liberal" labeling. However that may have been, I believe now more than ever that Democrats need to directly confront and debate the press. Certainly on the talking head shows. But also in specially arranged one-on-one debate formats. Reporters should be called out by candidates, and challenged to debate their reporting on a given topic. Or, for that matter, in ad hoc debates at news conferences, individual reporters could (should) be challenged on the premise of their questions. And then obliged to engage in extended question and answer exchanges, to force the reporters to respond to the candidates, as a means to fully examine a given issue and to effectuate a genuine communication of ideas.
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