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  August 23, 2016

The Corporate Arbiters of Opinion

CBS and Fox News haven't even listed Jill Stein of the Green Party in their latest polls, says Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford
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Glen Ford is a distinguished radio-show host and commentator. In 1977, Ford co-launched, produced and hosted America's Black Forum, the first nationally syndicated Black news interview program on commercial television. In 1987, Ford launched Rap It Up, the first nationally syndicated Hip Hop music show, broadcast on 65 radio stations. Ford co-founded the Black Commentator in 2002 and in 2006 he launched the Black Agenda Report. Ford is also the author of The Big Lie: An Analysis of U.S. Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion.


JAISAL NOOR, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network, and welcome to this latest edition of the Ford Report. We're now joined by Glen Ford. He is the co-founder and executive editor of Black Agenda Report. Thanks so much for joining us again, Glen.

GLEN FORD: Thank you.

NOOR: So what do you have for us this week, Glen?

FORD: Well, we are looking forward, or maybe not, to September 26, which is when the first of those presidential debates occur. And it seems certain that these debates will be strictly a Democrat and Republican affair, because the Democrats and Republicans have made the rules, and they say that the Greens and the Libertarians, those parties will have to achieve 15 percent in the polls in order to have a place in these televised debates.

But they have designated five of these political opinion polls, and they really are not just the major polling outfits. They are the corporate arbiters of opinion. They are CBS and NBC, and ABC and Fox News, and the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, and the New York Times, and different combinations thereof.

So this is the corporate media verifying whether there will be any challengers to the two corporate parties. So in this case, the word 'major' is really just a euphemism for 'corporate', as Jeff Cohen and Sam Husseini, noted election reformers have pointed out, these polling organizations, really corporate media conglomerates, don't even ask the right question. They ask if the election were held today, who would you vote for? When the more revealing question would be, who do you want to be president? That's much more revealing. It would, in fact, show us what people really desire to happen in their political system, and not what they are resigned to happening in their system. It would talk about what they would like to see occur rather than what kind of candidate they'll vote for after holding their noses.

The whole process is further rigged, because CBS and Fox News haven't even listed Jill Stein of the Green Party in their latest polls. It was as if she didn't exist. And if they correct that in the next poll or two, that really doesn't make a difference, does it? CNN held a town hall last week that featured the Green Party, their presidential and vice presidential candidates. But they had already held two town halls for the Libertarian Party, and we know that the Libertarian Party's presidential ticket is comprised of two former Republican governors, and they accordingly get a lot more play from the corporate media.

NOOR: Well, so Glen, I want to challenge you just a little bit, because we know that Gary Johnson and his vice presidential running mate, former governor Bill Weld, they also are doing significantly better--in the same polls, admittedly--but they're doing better than the Green Party candidates. So how would you respond to that, and also the arguments--you know, some would say that where do you draw the line? Because I was looking at the number of candidates on the ballot, and there's dozens of candidates potentially on the ballot depending what state you're in. How do you respond to those type of arguments?

FORD: Well, the Libertarian Party has gotten a lot more coverage. I just cited CNN giving the freebie of two town halls before the Green Party even got one. But you can see it in the columns in the news that the Libertarians get more play. The New York Times poll even listed the Libertarians in their presidential preference without listing the Green Party.

Look, what people know is a function of what they are told. And when you have this monopoly, corporate-dominated information scene, people only know what they are told about. But even when they know about the existence of a Green or a Libertarian Party, they're certainly given the impression that these are very minor occurrences, that they really don't matter, because Donald Trump's wife gets more play. The corporate media, the same ones who do the polls, do more coverage of her personal habits and opinions than they do about questions of why the United States has nearly 1,000 military bases around the world, or fundamental questions about why there are no good factory jobs in the United States anymore.

These are functions of what the corporate media does, and the end result, finally, is whether--is that decision that a person makes. And remember, in the United States, fewer adults make the decision to vote than in any other country in the developed world. That final result is the product of a great deal of purposeful neglect, not just of minor party candidates, but of issues themselves, and a concentration on even the colognes that are worn by the corporate candidate.

NOOR: All right. Well, Glen Ford, thanks so much for joining us again.

FORD: Thank you.

NOOR: Thank you for joining us at the Real News Network.




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