Kennedy Is Locked Out of CNN’s Illegitimate, Rigged Debate

Kennedy Is Locked Out of CNN’s Illegitimate, Rigged Debate
Louis Conte | June 20, 2024

By Louis Conte and Adam Garrie, The Kennedy Beacon

It’s official: CNN has shut down Americans’ democratic right to participate in a free and fair election by shutting out presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. from the network’s June 27 presidential debate.

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A Kennedy campaign protest rally will be held in front of the CNN Building, 30 Hudson Yards, New York City, on June 21, at 11 a.m. and at Warner Bros. Discovery, 100 S. California St., Burbank, CA at 11 :30 a.m. PST.

The debate, if one can call it that, will be 90 minutes long, with two commercial breaks, and will not include an audience. CNN hosts Dana Bash and Jake Tapper will moderate.

Tapper is on record stating he will never allow Kennedy to appear on any show he is hosting on CNN because Kennedy has expressed concerns that mainstream media is excessively influenced by the pharmaceutical industry. Big Pharma advertising dominates CNN. It will be interesting to tabulate the number of drug company advertisements that appear during the debate’s two commercial breaks.

CNN’s Biased Criteria

To qualify for the debate, “a candidate’s name must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidency” and receive at least 15% in four qualifying national polls prior to the eligibility deadline, according to CNN’s press release.

The “qualifying” polls as set by CNN unilaterally – the exact criteria for which were not explained – are those conducted by CNN, ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, Marquette University Law School, Monmouth University, NBC News, The New York Times/Siena College, NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist College, Quinnipiac University, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

RFK Met Polling Criteria

Kennedy has reached or exceeded 15% in four of CNN’s approved polls, including a poll from CNN itself. Other qualifying polls in which Kennedy surpassed CNN’s threshold are the April Quinnipiac poll and the May Marquette poll, as reported in The Kennedy Beacon.

An April poll from Monmouth University also had Kennedy at 18%. However, CNN excluded this particular poll because the relevant question was more nuanced than the traditional “horse race” question.

CNN poll, 16% (April 18–April 23, 2024)

Quinnipiac 16% (April 18–April 22, 2024)

Marquette 17% (May 6–May 15, 2024)

Monmouth asked respondents to choose levels of commitment to voting for Kennedy over Biden and Trump, ranging from “Definitely” to “Definitely Not.” This poll clearly reflects a preference for Kennedy that exceeds CNN’s 15% threshold, as confirmed by Monmouth in its summary and analysis of the poll’s results.

Worse yet, CBS News’ latest poll failed to even include Kennedy as an option in its survey of registered voters.

CNN’s blatant decision to not include Monmouth and include this CBS News poll for debate qualification is suspect at best, and bold corruption at worst.

CNN’s Double Standard

It is now clear that CNN has barred a legitimate candidate from participating in its debate, applying one set of criteria for the presumptive Democratic and Republican nominees – President Biden and former president Trump – and more stringent criteria for Kennedy, Jill Stein, and Cornel West.

This clear double standard emerges when one realizes that technically both Trump and Biden do NOT appear on any state ballots but are considered “presumptive nominees,” because their respective parties have not yet held conventions. On June 11, the Kennedy campaign issued a press release stating that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) “has now made clear that the phrase ‘presumptive nominee’ is ‘not in the FEC’s debate regulation.’

Due to the subjectivity of these criteria, the Kennedy campaign asserts, therefore, that CNN’s “presidential debate” is nothing more than an illegal, multimillion-dollar campaign contribution to both the Biden and Trump campaigns. President Biden and former president Trump are equally responsible for an FEC violation for agreeing to participate and colluding with CNN to exclude RFK Jr.

While CNN’s rigged and illegitimate “presidential debate” will be broadcast around the world, what is it that people will be shown? Will they see a full set of opinions, positions, and policies? Or will they see a carefully curated presentation far different from vigorous debates of the bygone past?

Neither Trump nor Biden wants to address the issues that are most important to the American voter: our growing national debt crisis, the corporate capture of corrupt government agencies, the chronic disease epidemic, the bifurcated economy that is leaving America’s middle class in the dust and cutting off future prosperity for our youth.

CNN’s process ignores the traditional role of the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates, which has organized every presidential debate since 1988. Prior to that, the nonpartisan League of Women Voters organized every debate between 1960 and 1984. CNN has stepped out of the standard of media into the realm of debate staging and all the rules that applied to the League of Women Voters and CPD must be upheld here.

What gives CNN the right to make its own rules, set its own agenda, and collude with one campaign to exclude the strongest independent candidate in any presidential election in 32 years?

As CNN’s rigged debate moves forward, Kennedy, other independent candidates, and the public must continue to fight for new opportunities to have their beliefs heard. At first blush, excluding Kennedy may seem like a loss. It is, rather, yet another energizing and galvanizing motivator for Kennedy to keep fighting to save our country from itself.

This is the debate we are left with, not the one most Americans want.

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