PRESS RELEASE from Gravel for President 2008

Gravel Dismisses CNN, WMUR-TV And Union Leader Statement
Says Media Censorship Moving from Orwellian to Kafakaesque
Washington, D.C. March 19, 2007 Presidential candidate and former United States Senator Mike Gravel rejected a statement CNN, Hearst owned WMUR-TV and the Union Leader issued Friday, March 16th in justifying its censorship of Senator Gravel by excluding him from a planned debate of Presidential candidates. The Senator said, “This statement is woefully ignorant, void of sound judgment and Kafkaesque in its conclusion.” Gravel continued, “There are several points in the statement, the full text of which follows, that cannot go unchallenged. First, when the statement says that I have not demonstrated measurable public support, it reveals an abysmal ignorance of the dynamics of political campaigns that is truly hard to believe originated in such important media institutions. It is common knowledge that polling numbers at the outset of a campaign, ten months before the first of many state elections reflect little more than name recognition and are simply not measures of public support. This does not mean that other candidates do not have some public following but rather that such support has not been tested by the crucible of a long campaign in which these supporters are given a chance to assess other options. The only accurate measure of public support is election-day. Finally, for what it is worth, I have, in a recent Harris poll improved my standing from February to March and exceed, in one test, one of my rivals for the nomination who I believe has been invited to the New Hampshire debate”.

The Senator continued, “The statement said that there are literally dozens and dozens of declared presidential candidates. That is true but out of those dozens of candidates, how many are former United States Senators who have been given the stamp of legitimacy by the Democratic National Committee, SEIU, AFSCME, ABC, the Nevada Democratic Party, the Center for American Progress Action Fund etc? Only two, former Senator John Edwards and myself.
“Though this is not the only criteria for deciding the legitimacy of a candidate as other aspirants may have contributed distinguished public service as an appointed official or as an officer of an NGO or excelled as individual public figures such as Ralph Nader, the Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Reverend Al Sharpton making them eminently worthy, it is one indisputable criteria for defining a legitimate candidate.”

The Senator continued, “The statement confirmed that I had not received an invitation but said that I nor anyone else has been excluded from the debate. It went on to say that if I meet their criteria between now and the debate, I will be invited. What was Orwellian in my not meeting certain criteria which the media organizations would not divulge becomes Kafkaesque when I am now told that I have not been excluded and can still be invited if I meet this mysterious criteria. CNN, WMUR-TV and the Union Leader sent out invitations weeks ago. I did not receive one. I am told I have not demonstrated measurable public support, which, besides being a galactic misunderstanding of polling numbers ten months before an election is also a self-fulfilling prophecy since being included in the debate would provide me and any other candidate who may have not been invited an important opportunity to secure such public support.”

Senator Gravel concluded, “CNN, Hearst’s WMUR-TV and the Union Leader have been important sources of news for their listeners and readers. Why they want to deprive their audiences of differing political voices that aspire to the highest level of public service by exercising a form of insidious censorship, unbecoming a free society and a state with the motto 'Live Free Or Die' is a mystery.”

Mike Gravel, a resident of Virginia, is a former two-term Senator from Alaska with a distinguished record that includes successfully ending the military draft with a five-month filibuster, releasing the Pentagon Papers risking both prosecution and jail, playing the leading role in making the Alaska pipeline a reality, and ending nuclear testing in Alaska. He is the driving force and author of the National Initiative for Democracy, a proposal to bring the ballot initiative lawmaking process––already proven in many states as an effective and necessary check on unresponsive representative government––to the Federal level.

The three debate partners, closely following Federal Election Commission guidelines, established objective criteria to determine who we invite to the debates. Because there are literally dozens and dozens of declared presidential candidates, most of whom we have never heard of, we have to have a method of determining who is invited. Our criteria simply identifies candidates that have measurable public support for their campaign. Because Mike Gravel has not demonstrated measurable public support for his campaign to date, he has not received an invitation. But we have not excluded him (or anyone) from the debate. If he meets our criteria between now and the debate, he will certainly get an invitation.

Gravel For President 2008
Elliott Jacobson