Tonight, on a cable news channel far, far away, there are a couple of GOP presidential candidate debates. As with the previous two, there's an under card, featuring the candidates who are in the race for reasons known only to them. The 'happy hour' debate, as some call it, featured Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, Lindsay Graham, and Rick Santorum, who have about as much chance as I do of getting the nomination. The rest of the gang is on the main card.
I won't be watching, because we have basic cable, and CNBC is not one of our thirteen channels. I know, I know - that's completely un-American, but it's the choice we've made. Similarly, we missed the Fox News Republican debate, and the Dem & Rep debates on CNN.
I'm wondering though, if these 'cable only' debates are an accident, or by design?
We knew the first debate had to be on Fox - that was a given. But CNN and CNBC?
Is the Republican hierarchy trying to limit who can see the debates, the same as they want to limit people's ability to vote by changing the rules for early voting, in-person voting, leaving the line to go pee while you wait to vote, and so on?
Or, I wonder, are the giant media companies behind the shift to their cable affiliates? Do they really figure the network prime time lineups are way too important to interrupt with something as silly as, you know, a debate between people who want to be leader of the free world? Especially when they can force interested viewers to their cable channels, jack up ad rates, and rake in a few extra million bucks for democracy's sake?
I don't know about you, but I think we can - and should -- do better.
These debates should not be money-makers for the networks, they should be free-for-all free-for-alls, open to all Americans who are interested in watching them. The last thing we need is to have media conglomerates gerrymander the debates the same as the politicians gerrymander their districts.