January 28, 2016

DNC bullies weak media

The press corps used to consider itself independent of not only government but or organizations like the Democratic National Committee. But now, it would appear, the DNC gets to tell the press who it can host debating whom. Not exactly a free press. 

Examiner - The Democratic National Committee is predicting that a new, just-announced debate by MSNBC and the New Hampshire Union Leader for Feb. 4 will not be happening.

A DNC source made that prediction to the Washington Examiner less than a day after the two media outlets announced the non-sanctioned debate.

It's unclear whether that means the DNC would work to block the debate somehow, or whether Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., would decide not to participate. As of Wednesday, only former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has said he would attend.

The DNC seemed to publicly back up that prediction with a Wednesday morning tweet that implied it's sticking to its six-debate format, and wouldn't be adding any more.

"To be clear: Democrats have a debate schedule and we're sticking to it. Our next sanctioned debate will be on [Feb. 11]," tweeted Amy Dacey, CEO of the DNC.

DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz also released a statement on Tuesday, after MSNBC and the Union Leader announced plans for the debate. She said that the DNC has "no plans to sanction any further debates" ahead of the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 9.

The DNC released the sanctioned debate schedule last fall, which many Democrats, including Sanders and O'Malley, complained was too limited and intended to protect the front-runner, Hillary Clinton. Wasserman Schultz, however, has said several times that the schedule will not change.

The DNC's decision to put its foot down puts some pressure on Clinton and Sanders, who may face calls to participate. But DNC rules say that any candidate who participates in unsanctioned debates will be prohibited from future debates authorized by the DNC.

Trent Spiner, executive editor of the Union Leader, said the debate will happen. "We're definitely hosting a debate," he told the Examiner. "Hillary Clinton said she would take part if the other candidates are there, Martin O'Malley said he would be there no matter what."

Sanders and Clinton, however, have suggested in separate statements that they would like to attend but on the condition that the debate is sanctioned by the DNC.

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