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Forum Post: Occupy the media “Expand the debate” at Democracy Now!

Posted 9 years ago on Oct. 8, 2012, 11:50 a.m. EST by zacherystaylor (243)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

By now many of you have heard that Democracy Now! Has done an “Expand the debate” segment that included Rocky Anderson and Jill Stein and she also did a show exposing how the Presidential commission on Debates hijacked the debate process and put it under corporate control. This has been mostly if not entirely ignored by the corporate media and even many of the alternative media outlets declined to cover it although many others did provide some coverage. Many of the highest profile alternative media outlets that did cover it only provided a token amount of coverage to it and didn’t feature it on their front page like Huffington Posts and Current TV. In the case of Current TV they also declined to provide any coverage to this on their TV show.

Many of these media outlets have been criticizing the major candidates for declining to cover many of the most important issues but they simultaneously decline to point out the fact that while the major candidates haven’t addressed these issues the alternative candidates have. In many cases I have found that people have been coming in on the comments section of some of these articles to let people know about the “expand the debate” coverage. This could be the beginning of a grass roots movement that could let them know that many more people want more coverage.

The candidates that the corporate media present to us don’t cover many of the most important issues and they agree on many of the issues when it comes to the best interest of the corporate interests that donate to both political parties and the candidates that do address the issues can’t get coverage from the corporate media.

My suggestion is that many more people could go around to web sites that cover the debate and their face book pages and ask them to provide coverage to the “expand the debate” segments and to alternative party candidates in general. Also it might help to let the people at Democracy Now! Know that you support them, assuming you do, and ask that they continue doing this since I haven’t heard them say for certain that they will cover all the debates yet although I suspect they will.

Spamming should be avoided if possible; what would be better would be to read articles that are important and related to the debate or the election at least to some degree and add comments that include a request to expand the debate. One exception might be Facebook pages where they ask for general input from their listeners or readers. These requests could be made to both the mainstream media outlets and to alternative media outlets that haven’t provided what many people might consider sufficient coverage. Also it would be helpful to let those that do expand the coverage of this that they have support.

This doesn’t need to be limited to the “Expand the Debate” series, assuming Democracy Now! Continues it; it could include coverage of alternative candidates in many other ways.

The following is the discussion about how they hijacked the debate with transcripts:

http://www.democracynow.org/2012/10/3/ahead_of_first_obama_romney_debate This is the “Expand the Debate" segment with transcripts:


If enough people speak up the control of the debates could be put in the hands of the public where it belongs; although there will be some organizational issues to deal with there is no doubt that we can do much better than we already are.

Frankly I would also like to request that the people running the Occupy Wall Street web page provide more coverage on this as well. I know that you don’t advocate for a single candidate nor do I think that a spokesperson representing a large group of people should without consulting with the group they represent but it seems to me that they could cover the improved coverage and ask for it without endorsing a specific candidate.

Edit: just after posting this it has come to my attention that NPR has also done some additional coverage of this with what might be considered an "Expand the Debate" segment with Gary Johnson. If you agree that the word should be spread about the Democracy Now! segment it might be worth considering adding this as well. I haven't listened to it but you can judge how worthy it is for yourself.


The fact that I had to hear this from the alternative news indicates that it needs more coverage from the corporate media as well.

Edit 10/12/2012: Democracy Now has declined to do an additional segment for the Vice Presidential Debates but they are doing more segments for the Presidential debates and it would help to let more people know about it. The following is their schedule:


Also the operators of this web site have come up with an related article on the subject that is worth a look.


Edit the following links are to additional segments of the "Expand the Debate" series and related subjects including the vice presidential segment and at least one debate hosted by the Independent Voters Network as well as material about the secret contract about the debate and more about how they shut out alternative parties.


Related material




Recently I recommended that they cover the "expand the Debate" coverage which I found was covered here in the following string.


Also in a follow up we could consider what I originally thought about posting about now.

Occupy the Daily Kos and other pseudo progressives

I don't expect everyone to agree with me but many progressive sites have been advocating for Occupy Wall Street and in opposition to censorship. But when it comes to real reform they have often declined to push for them or made arguments that have been opposition to real reform and they have often suppressed speech when it isn't what the moderators promote. I have found that at times the Democratic Underground has done this to some degree although at other times they have been allowed more dissent.

Recently when I joined the Daily Kos I assumed that it was an open forum that allowed a variety of views and even found them advocating against censorship when I looked around. But that doesn't appear to be the truth. I quickly found out that they do more to promote the Democratic Party than they do to address the issues and they seem to do this primarily by attacking the Republicans; not by presenting alternative ideas.

I also went on to promote my own views which is what Blogs or, as they called it diaries are for. It turns out that advocating for a third party candidate is banned according to their rules and I was banned. These rules weren't made clear as far as I could tell and there was no objection to a large amount of people behaving like trolls and disrupting things on many locations in addition to the response I received.

My point is that if a web page pretends to be progressive they should allow progressive ideas and allow opposing points of view to be discussed. If they pretend that they’re progressive and many people believe it but then they censor or troll those that dissent then it can be blatant propaganda disguised as a free exchange of ideas. In the case of the Daily Kos it seems to be one of the most popular web sites that is presented as the view from the left but I and many people probably believe it. Before being banned I was totally unaware there was a problem but after searching for it and discussing it I have found that many other people including some that I know are quite reasonable have also been banned for their political views.

One possible way to Occupy the Daily Kos, or if other people think they have the same problem with the Democratic Underground or other web pages them as well, would to be for many people to create accounts their and express reasonable views that might be dissenting and let people know when they get censored. This would hardly be worth it if that was all people want to do and it would take time so this idea would probably be better to mostly let people know that some of these grass roots sites aren’t nearly as progressive as they pretend to be. If they pretend to be open forums that allow different points of view then they shouldn’t be censoring people for their views while allowing the trolls with authorized views to continue posting propaganda.

If many more of these sties are propaganda sites that don’t allow dissenting views then it would be helpful for more people to know so that they don’t think they’re getting a diverse point of view when it isn’t true. If I was caught by surprise there are almost certainly many others that have been as well. This shouldn’t be a personnel vendetta and I don’t intend it to be that way. Trolling shouldn’t be the way that we get messages out; when they’re the ones that do the trolling then any reasonable person can see that the person being banned isn’t the troll but. Or at least I like to think that I’m not.

The following is my follow up Blog on the subject which includes links to one other person that may have been banned there and my own page which includes what I consider surprising amount of trolling by people that weren’t banned while I was.


The greater priority In my opinion should be to spread the word on the “Expand the Debate” segment since it relates to the election and the more coverage it receives in the next couple of weeks the bigger the potential impact it has in the long run whether an alternative candidate wins or just does much better than expected.



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[-] 2 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 9 years ago

I always thought it was funny that the Kos floods their pages with Buy Gold and Silver ads, which is usually associated with the RP crowd by progressives.

[-] 1 points by zacherystaylor (243) 9 years ago

The gold and silver ads are what I call a media scam and it is done by the corporate government. Both the Democrats and the Republicans benefit from them and the media uses them to finance their campaigns. They used to be much more common on Fox but lately they've been just as common on other channels especially Merit financial. FWIW I went into this more in the following blog:


[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 9 years ago

Ya, Goldline and others charge an outrageous amount of money for their gold, which is funny, because any shmoo SHOULD be able to do the math and figure out if they are getting a good deal or not.

[-] 1 points by zacherystaylor (243) 9 years ago

What I wrote focuses on the fact that if tehy ahve to advertise to sell their gold then it costs a lot of money and that expense ahs to be passed on to the consumer so even without knowing the price of gold it should be easy for rational people to recognize this as a scam; and I go on to indicate that it is probably the media that profits more from it. But on the subject of Occupying the Media and "Expanding the Debate" it doesn't appear as if Amy Goodman is announcing any more plans to hold more of those; which I consider unfortunate.

I don't know why she wouldn't do this or even acknowledge it as the next step but so far that is what she seems to be doing. If I don't hear from her more on this I'll make a few more requests. I can't believe she hasn't considered this and letting us know if she is doing more is the obvious thing to do especially since she seems to be increasing her fund raising requests based on this.

[-] 2 points by Karlin (350) from Nelson, BC 9 years ago

You have hit on something big here!!

The Two-Party system is showing it's willingness to keep control even at the expense of any and all principles of democracy.

The "Third Party debates" are a great idea, but it would mean even more if Obama and Romney are on stage with Rocky and Jill and a Green and an OWS debater. There were 5 people on stage during Canada's fed. election debates [it didn't end up helping - conservatives won, but still].

Your experience of being banned from some of the most popular Alt News sites might indicate that when an alt news site gets popular enough they become willing to censor - either to protect their growing ad revenues, or threats from the "Dems/Reps/Corporations Together Forever" [establishment] powers.

[-] 1 points by zacherystaylor (243) 9 years ago

I was only banned from the Daily Kos but have encountered others that were banned from more. At the Democratic Underground I had one post deleted without explanation presumably because it advocated for a third party in general. It was only then that I had the rules pointed out to me there. At least they were available for me to find if I had looked for them but they were unreasonable and they restrict the political views that can be expressed on the board which should be considered censorship. I can understand banning for trolling or threats and spamming but for political views expressed reasonably is censorship. In that case I didn't push it and can still go back but tired of the trolling and rarely do. Actually I could easily create new accounts at the Daily Kos if I wanted to but they could tract IP #s and it would be petty.

As I said the third party debates is the more important issue especially in the short term. Which is why I'll go post a few more comments elsewhere before doing much more here.

I hope others will join me in letting them know we want more views discussing all the issues. I know some people have started dong this before I even asked which gave me the idea.

[-] 1 points by Karlin (350) from Nelson, BC 9 years ago

If they are willing to censor or otherwise "play the game" that authorities or advertisers ask them to, we should definately boycott them. Those who remain might be enough for them to carry on, but it is our own personal morality that is at stake - DON'T SELL OUT, GET OUT. And you did, bravo.

[-] 1 points by zacherystaylor (243) 9 years ago

Boycotting them wasn't actually what I had in mind but when it comes to reading their material that is what I'll do. What I meant was that it would be a good idea for other people to create blogs or diaries there without giving them money and express important points of view that are being omitted; although this shouldn't be done in a confrontational manner. If you look at what I posted on there, which is still up although I can't post more there, you'll see the first response I had was a recipe for something which is off topic yet he wasn't banned presumably because he held the right views.

If this happens and people see what is being banned and what isn't they will recognize it for what it is. Propaganda!

[-] 2 points by Karlin (350) from Nelson, BC 9 years ago

I stand corrected - I did imply that you boycotted them, sorry.

It is a practise of mine to not patronise websites, or products for that matter, that offend my sensibilities.

My thinking with Daily KOs is that they get ad revenue based on how many daily "page views" there are, and so if we don't visit the site, ad revenues drop. I dont know that for sure, I just assume it works that way.

In any case, we all have our ways of fighting the good fight, and you are certainly doing your part, one way or the other.

[-] 1 points by zacherystaylor (243) 9 years ago

No need to apologize your intentions were clear and the goal is the same. You're right about not increasing the ad revenue, I assume, although that is minimal since it is based on thousands if not more views. I gather they can run these web pages very inexpensively although they don't want us to know that. the most expensive thing is to provide content.

[-] 3 points by Karlin (350) from Nelson, BC 9 years ago

Well that is the crux of it - one less viewer doesn't make much difference, and there really are not many who would boycott. Likewise, product boycotts don't seem to keep certain items off store shelves {I boycott products with Palm oil, HFCS, MSG, Aspartame, etc - not just for my own health but for those who don't know better.}

[-] 1 points by zacherystaylor (243) 9 years ago

I don't buy things that I don't need and make damn sure that I get my moneys worth for the merchandise that I do buy now. Thirty years ago when I bought a pair of sneakers after a year the shoelace used to break and I replaced it and wore them for a second year; fifteen years ago the entire sneakers fell apart after one year. One and a half years ago I decided I had enough and wasn't going to take it any more and started saving receipts and returning the crappy pieces of garbage during busy hours and letting them know that they were now going to have to match their quality and price from before they consolidated into oligarchies and stopped trying to do a good job. I wrote up information on the tactics they've been using to scam consumers.

They replace them fast and get me out of the store before I can talk to much because if they let me educate the consumers they could have a mulch-billion dollar class action suit on their hands.

But back on the issue of this string; I'm happy to see that the OWS supporters of this site have come up with "Seize the Discourse: #OccupyTheDebates"


[-] 1 points by Karlin (350) from Nelson, BC 9 years ago

Hmmm, we did stray a bit off topic, lol... but one idea that has been used in Canada now and then is for the public to submit questions for the candidates... but the media people can choose the questions that suit them.

SO - Maybe a special online forum to submit questions, the best ones pared down by discussion on forums, and then the top 20 questions would be identified, if the registered online participants agree, then have a strict vote on selecting 10 of the 20.

[-] 1 points by zacherystaylor (243) 9 years ago

I'm not a stickler for that rule myself and issues often stray to related subjects. The idea that the media should be allowed to screen the questions is absurd in a sincere democracy. If there was some accountability for they media it might be partially justifiable but the public shouldn't have their questions screened at all although I would prefer less light jokes like the boxers or briefs question and more issue oriented questions. I think the debates should allow citizens groups to participate. At the local level it would be much easier and people could organize some of these groups into issue related groups or regional groups and the candidates should have to attend to qualify for the ballot. At the state or national level there should be diverse groups accountable to the local groups or something like that.

Also Amy seems to have done an abbreviated version of the "expand the debate" for the vice presidential candidates after all. It isn't as good as the full length version that I was half expecting but better than nothing for now. I appreciate what she has done but we should still push for the full length version with participation from other groups as well.


[-] 2 points by gsw (3400) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 9 years ago

Excellent post.

Daily KOS looks like a Democratic Party site. http://www.dailykos.com/news

And it is confusing as there is no "about" section.

But yes. Third parties are blackballed. And the corporations don't want us to think. Just buy.



[-] 1 points by zacherystaylor (243) 9 years ago

They referred to the rules when they told me I was violating them but didn't say where they are and I couldn't find them. Also one of the links that I provided is from "The Truth About the Daily Kos" which was written by someone that seems to know more about it than I although I didn't hear about him until I searched for it.

[-] 2 points by gsw (3400) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 9 years ago

David Nir's Profile

Click Elections and see "profile"

Daily Kos Staff

Formerly known as DavidNYC. Political Director of Daily Kos. Life-long New Yorker & Democrat, attorney, and publisher of the Swing State Project, which is now Daily Kos Elections. Email: davidnir [at] dailykos [dot] com

So it's another blogger's site.

Good job shaking their tree. That's why there is an occupy site, so we can seek and find the truth.

[-] 1 points by zacherystaylor (243) 9 years ago

According to "the truth About the Daily Kos" Markos C. Alberto Moulitsas ZÚÑIGA the founder of the Daily Kos is actually a Republican for what it is worth; not that I think it matters they both sold out to the corporations.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 9 years ago

Gr8 rant - but he got it wrong in one aspect - it would be nice for the president to speak out and join with the people - but it is not necessary - The People need to speak out - starting locally in each state and uniting across the country to make the necessary changes.

[-] 1 points by zacherystaylor (243) 9 years ago

The second segment of the Expand the Debate series is going on now and I have added several links to that and related subjects including another independent debate that is being hosted by the Independent Voters Network.

As of this edit there are more coming and the second presidential "Expand the Debate" segment is in process; Democracy Now hasn't added all the permalinks to the shows in the past twenty four hours but I expect they will soon and some of that is available on the front page in the meantime.

The real debates that invite the legitimate candidates that get their support from the grass roots level, instead of campaign contributions from corporations, and actually address many important issues aren't available on the mainstream media.

This won't be democratic until people start getting the information they need whether it is from the alternative media or a reformed media or elsewhere.

[-] 1 points by gsw (3400) from Woodbridge Township, NJ 9 years ago

Maybe we need to take profiteering out of the media.

Or everyone, stop your paper, cable, subscription.

[-] 1 points by zacherystaylor (243) 9 years ago

And do much more to rely on alternative media outlets including the ones by Occupy Wall Street but not necessarily limited to any one source.