Less than an hour before showtime – NBC Won its Appeal – Debate went on without Kucinich

 Does the Media have the Power to Squelch a Candidates

LAS VEGAS — Representative Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio flew here
on Tuesday, hoping to join the leading Democratic presidential
candidates at a debate, but his wishes were dashed by the Nevada
Supreme Court less than an hour before show time.

One day after a lower-court judge had threatened to block the
debate from being broadcast if MSNBC did not provide a space on stage
for Mr. Kucinich, the network won its appeal to the state Supreme

The lineup had remained uncertain even as the other candidates
were arriving on site at the Cashman Center, not far from the Las
Vegas Strip.

Many debates set inclusion criteria  for debates that
essentially eliminate candidates free speech. 

Contested Debate Turns Into Major Battle

By Ira Teinowitz

Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich—who got
invited, then uninvited, to participate in MSNBC’s Democratic
debate last night in Las Vegas—is angry.

Lisa Howfield, general manager of Sunbelt Communications’
KVBC-TV, NBC’s Las Vegas station, isn’t thrilled, either. She
wanted to air the debate live, and 45 minutes before it started
learned that she couldn’t.

In one of the more unusual campaign fisticuffs of the presidential
year, MSNBC’s presidential debate fight last night became as big a
fight in the hours before the debate as during it.

It also became a bit of a mad scramble for KVBC-TV and KRNV-TV in
Reno, Nev., also owned by Sunbelt, with both stations aborting plans
to carry the debate minutes before they were to air MSNBC’s

While the debate, hosted by NBC anchor Brian Williams and “Meet
the Press” host Tim Russert, turned into a polite discussion among
Sens. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards, the
pre-debate fight was far more forceful and longer, too. It erupted in
two Nevada courts over several days, ending just minutes before the
debate began.

At least it appeared to end. The issues in the fight could yet
have reverberations in Congress and at the FCC.



Appeal Filed in Kucinich Debate Lawsuit

By KEN RITTER – 1 day ago

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Nevada Supreme Court was considering an
appeal Tuesday from NBC Universal Inc. to overturn a judge’s decision
that Dennis Kucinich must be included in a debate of the Democratic
presidential candidates on MSNBC.

The network argued that a Clark County District Court judge lacked
jurisdiction to order the cable TV news network to include the Ohio
congressman or pull the plug on broadcasting the debate Tuesday night
with Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.

“Mr. Kucinich’s claim … undermines the wide journalistic
freedoms enjoyed by news organizations under the First Amendment,”
Las Vegas lawyer Donald Campbell said in a filing submitted to
Nevada’s high court, which hears all state appeals.

The state Supreme Court made no immediate ruling, and no hearing
was immediately scheduled, a court clerk said.

Meanwhile, Kucinich hailed the lower court judge’s order before
boarding a flight from Cleveland to Nevada to await the results of
the legal showdown.

“I can just say, ‘Thank God’ for that judge, and hopefully
his ruling will be sustained,” the Ohio congressman told

So what is the deal?  Does the news industry support the
first amendment or just use it when it is works to their end? 

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