FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates

Photo by Tony Webster | CC BY 2.0

Photo by Tony Webster | CC BY 2.0

 

The corporate vice grip on the presidential debates is tightening.

As usual, the thousands of reporters covering the debate last night at Hofstra University were treated to free and unlimited beer and dinner at the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten just a stone’s throw from the debate hall.

The reporters were also given free AB beer glasses and free AB water bottles — gotta hydrate after all that beer. AB even had a hashtag for the event — #BrewDemocracy.

Not that reporters at the event — except for maybe the Anheuser Busch executives — had on their minds the issue of corporate consolidation — like the proposed merger between Anheuser Busch and SABMiller, a merger that would create the largest beer company with 30 percent of world beer sales.

CNN’s debate night coverage was sponsored by Vote 4 Energy — a front group of the American Petroleum Institute.

Vote 4 Energy wants us citizens to ask the candidates questions like — Do you support government policies that encourage developing more energy resources, specifically oil and natural gas, here in the U.S.?

And — Do you support energy policies that would allow for additional oil and natural gas production on federal lands and off our coasts?

Frank Fahrenkopf took to the stage minutes before the debate to thank the Commission on Presidential Debates corporate sponsors — including Anheuser Busch and AARP. AARP is of course that insurance company that until just last month was a dues paying member of the American Legislative Exchange Council. (Can’t let single payer get it’s foot in the door, now can we?)

Fahrenkopf, for years a lobbyist for the casino gambling industry, also sent a shout out to Commission on Presidential Debates board member Dorothy Ridings, who from 1982 to 1986 was president of the League of Women Voters.

Ridings was out by 1988, the year the League got evicted from running the debates by the two corporate parties.

At the time, the League put out a press release calling the debates a “fraud.”

“The League of Women Voters is withdrawing its sponsorship of the presidential debate scheduled for mid-October because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter,” League President Nancy M. Neuman said at the time.

“It has become clear to us that the candidates’ organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and honest answers to tough questions,” Neuman said. “The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.”

Not that Lester Holt would know.

More articles by:

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

February 18, 2019
Paul Street
31 Actual National Emergencies
Robert Fisk
What Happened to the Remains of Khashoggi’s Predecessor?
David Mattson
When Grizzly Bears Go Bad: Constructions of Victimhood and Blame
Julian Vigo
USMCA’s Outsourcing of Free Speech to Big Tech
George Wuerthner
How the BLM Serves the West’s Welfare Ranchers
Christopher Fons
The Crimes of Elliot Abrams
Thomas Knapp
The First Rule of AIPAC Is: You Do Not Talk about AIPAC
Mitchel Cohen
A Tale of Two Citations: Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and Michael Harrington’s “The Other America”
Jake Johnston
Haiti and the Collapse of a Political and Economic System
Dave Lindorff
It’s Not Just Trump and the Republicans
Laura Flanders
An End to Amazon’s Two-Bit Romance. No Low-Rent Rendezvous.
Patrick Walker
Venezuelan Coup Democrats Vomit on Green New Deal
Natalie Dowzicky
The Millennial Generation Will Tear Down Trump’s Wall
Nick Licata
Of Stress and Inequality
Joseph G. Ramsey
Waking Up on President’s Day During the Reign of Donald Trump
Elliot Sperber
Greater Than Food
Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
Rob Urie
The Green New Deal, Capitalism and the State
Jim Kavanagh
The Siege of Venezuela and the Travails of Empire
Paul Street
Someone Needs to Teach These As$#oles a Lesson
Andrew Levine
World Historical Donald: Unwitting and Unwilling Author of The Green New Deal
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Third Rail-Roaded
Eric Draitser
Impacts of Exploding US Oil Production on Climate and Foreign Policy
Ron Jacobs
Maduro, Guaidó and American Exceptionalism
John Laforge
Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption
Joyce Nelson
Venezuela & The Mighty Wurlitzer
Jonathan Cook
In Hebron, Israel Removes the Last Restraint on Its Settlers’ Reign of Terror
Ramzy Baroud
Enough Western Meddling and Interventions: Let the Venezuelan People Decide
Robert Fantina
Congress, Israel and the Politics of “Righteous Indignation”
Dave Lindorff
Using Students, Teachers, Journalists and other Professionals as Spies Puts Everyone in Jeopardy
Kathy Kelly
What it Really Takes to Secure Peace in Afghanistan
Brian Cloughley
In Libya, “We Came, We Saw, He Died.” Now, Maduro?
Nicky Reid
The Councils Before Maduro!
Gary Leupp
“It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby”
Jon Rynn
What a Green New Deal Should Look Like: Filling in the Details
David Swanson
Will the U.S. Senate Let the People of Yemen Live?
Dana E. Abizaid
On Candace Owens’s Praise of Hitler
Raouf Halaby
‘Tiz Kosher for Elected Jewish U.S. Officials to Malign
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Deceitful God-Talk at the Annual National Prayer Breakfast
W. T. Whitney
Caribbean Crosswinds: Revolutionary Turmoil and Social Change 
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Avoiding Authoritarian Socialism
Howard Lisnoff
Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Anti-immigrant Hate
Ralph Nader
The Realized Temptations of NPR and PBS
Cindy Garcia
Trump Pledged to Protect Families, Then He Deported My Husband
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail