This Will Not Be Televised 

Dennis Kucinich Scolds ABC For Pulling Reporters

Supporters for presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich are wondering whether national news reporters are actually becoming newsmakers. Last week, after a brisk exchange between Congressman Kucinich and ABC anchorman Ted Koppel during a Democratic Presidential debate, ABC pulled reporters from the Kucinich campaign, as well as those of both African American candidates, Rev. Al Sharpton and Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun. During the exchange between Kucinich and Koppel, the candidate, to loud applause, chastised ABC's anchorman for "trivializing the issues" and spending more time talking about endorsements and campaign funds.

ABC has defended its decision to pull three producers from the three campaigns by saying that those candidates have a slim chance of winning. But with primaries and caucuses still months away, pundits have pointed to Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign, when he was dubbed the "comeback kid" after moving from the back of the pack in the New Hampshire primary to second place.

On Monday, about 30 local supporters for Dennis Kucinich took their complaints to the closest venue they could find: KATU, the local ABC affiliate along Sandy Blvd. Gathered in the brisk evening, the protesters waved signs and chanted at rush hour traffic, "How do you spell biased? A-B-C."

"The major issue is that no commercial media is providing information on where the candidates stand," said Liz Copeland, a volunteer with Kucinich's Oregon campaign. "[We're here] so that voters can be informed and that Ted Koppel doesn't make choices for them."

Even though Kucinich, a congressman from Ohio, is the only Democratic candidate to actually vote against the Iraq war resolution, major news outlets like the New York Times and CNN have latched onto the concept that Howard Dean is the "anti-war candidate." Most national media outlets have focused their attention on Dean, Wesley Clark, and John Kerry, while Kucinich has been largely marginalized. For example, after a debate in which Kucinich spoke at length about the Iraq war and healthcare, the subsequent New York Times article focused largely on the candidate's dating life. (Interestingly, it reported that Kucinich is dating Dean's first cousin.)

On Friday, the Kucinich campaign hosts a dinner at Unitarian Universal Fellowship in Vancouver, 4505 NE 18th, 6:30 pm, $25. Peter Bergel, Director for Oregon PeaceWorks, will speak.

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