Last night around 2am, in my sleep-deprived state (having a newborn, 2 year-old, 6 and 10 year-olds as well), I was watching C-Span and an interview with Ralph Nader. I believe I heard him say that he has been attempting to get Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh to debate him in a neutral setting. He called them out as “Cowards” for refusing him to this point. He also called their format/style as that of “Cowardly Silioquy” whereupon they silence any question they don’t like by switching off guest’s mikes.
I think this challenge should be answered- no matter where you stand or who you prefer in this mix, I have to give the man who calls for an honest debate the winner -in my own estimation- until someone steps up and accepts the challenge. It would seem a fair fight given the vocations of all of these men- if someone is going to be a public media figure who specializes in political material- that puts them in a category where they should be able to manage a genuine debate scenario.
I found it reprehensible that Nader was excluded from the Presidential Debates in 2000- both the major parties were complicit in that – the fact that many Americans only real exposure to the candidates running for President is the series of public debates on national television- made it seem very undemocratic and underhanded to keep someone like Ralph Nader, who has been around the national stage for decades, out of the Presidential Candidate Debates. The idea that one can exclude candidates based on early polls is a dangerous rationale. The mass media and powers-that-be in the Democratic and Republican parties can easily direct attention to certain candidates and away from others, so that the majority of Americans, who still look to the mass media for their primary worldview and information about political campaigns, are simply kept in the dark about candidates that do not strike the fancy of the media and party “elites”. This criticism goes in many directions- left and right. The treatment of Nader by Gore et al was repugnant as revealed in Nader’s book – Crashing the Party- and the way Ron Paul has been treated by Hannity et al has been quite disturbing. I recall how in the Republican debates, the polling of Fox News was showing Ron Paul doing extremely well, while Hannity et al were simultaneously trashing him and belittling him- seemed like they were trying to force people to not like or want Ron Paul- hardly a role for any neutral media.
In any case, I would like to promote Nader’s challenge in conservative media circles- to keep everyone honest- Nader is not someone who should be instantly dismissed, he deserves a hearing in my opinion, and given that Hannity, Limbaugh, and Beck have strong views and large audiences, they should debate Nader in the quest for truth because having a public influence has a great spiritual influence for good or ill. There can be no doubt that all of these public figures have varying degrees of public influence which has affects on the Common Good- which is the heart of Catholic Social Doctrine.