Context | HILLARY ‘TOWN HALL’ TO BE HOSTED BY EX-CLINTON STAFFER STEPHANOPOULOSJust hours before the Indiana and North Carolina presidential primaries, ABCNEWS has offered to air a ‘town hall’ meeting with Hillary Clinton — to be hosted by former Clinton staffer George Stephanopoulos! Embracing and racing through a brave new era of journalism, it is not clear if ABCNEWS will inform viewers of Stephanopoulos’s past employment. Stephanopoulos helped run Mr. Clinton’s first presidential election campaign and acted as his press secretary and advisor on policy and strategy before joining ABC NEWS. An executive at a rival network mocked, “We look forward to ABC holding the next town hall meeting with President Bush, hosted by Karl Rove!” ABC will air the hour-long Hillary forum live from Indianapolis on Sunday. Incidentally, “George has interviewed all the candidates time and time again and has put tough but fair questions to each,” said a network spokesman. “Expect the same on Sunday.” The network hit controversy last month over the decision to allow Bill Clinton’s former press secretary to moderate a debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — without any disclaimer. Obama is scheduled to appear on NBC’S MEET THE PRESS, where he is expected to receive a traditional grilling by host Tim Russert.
The media is doing a skillful job of making Rev. Jeremiah Wright the focus of the Presidential election. However, this election is not about Rev. Jeremiah Wright–it is about issues that affect working Americans, families, small businesses, youth and the elderly. It is about resolving the War in Iraq, energy prices that are escalating, the US dollar that is falling, and food shortages that threaten people at home, and all over the world. But, recently the media has been on a crusade to villify a passionate Minister and to confuse the public. Some of the media are even using subliminal messages and hysteria to promote ratings. Instead, the media should be required to feature the presidential candidates and their positions on critical issues.
Admittedly, one benefit of the media exposure featuring Rev. Wright is that America can learn from this scholarly and erudite man who teaches more history in one speech than most people can learn in a year. But, while we may enjoy his sermons, interviews and speeches, it is important to remember that this election is about winning the White House and installing a new and effective President of the United States. Regardless of what conservative talk show hosts say, this election is not about Rev. Jeremiah Wright or the role of the Black Church. What ever happened to the separation of Church and State?
Let’s get back to the issues at hand–we need a new President of the United States who can harness innovation and technology and create a better future. Our nation needs a President who will lead a 21st Century Industrial Revolution that puts people back to work, invests in industry and small business, provides college education for our youth and protects baby boomers moving towards retirement. And, we need a leader who is committed to closing the tired old gaps that divide races of people in America–for heavens sake–can’t we all get along?
In my view, conservative talk show hosts are way over the line when it comes to partisanship and outright campaigning over the airwaves that belong to all of us. These days, we barely hear or see Senator Obama discussing issues. Instead, he’s having to defend the words of his former Pastor–words he did not say. No wonder Rev. Wright feels that he has to defend himself on national TV. Yes, Rev. Wright is a fine honorable man but, he is not running for President of the United States.
During the next few months of this campaign, we need to change the nature of the public discussion. If you belong to an advocacy organization I encourage you to actively protest the lack of “equal time” on local TV, Radio and newspapers in your City. Media outlets should be required to present other points of view and not be allowed to air and publish endless diatribes against Rev. Wright and Senator Obama. We need balance in the public discourse about this Presidential election.
If you, your church or organization want to do something constructive to raise the quality of this Presidential Race, actively protest to the FCC and local media, the lack of “Equal Time” in this campaign.
It’s time to get away from personalities and on to the issues!