Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Open letter to OpenDebates.Org

This letter was sent to those at OpenDebates.Org.

I've followed your story. I've helped with some blogging. I think you are doing the right things. Now for some ideas:

Why not take 10 to 20 cities and help in 2005 with their democracy and debates for their Mayor's races?

It might be great if you had forums in various cities, and I would PUSH you to make Pittsburgh, PA, one such city. Then you could show the world how a real debate with real candidates and issues, should occur. You can tape the event, review it, offer analysis, and trouble-shoot -- both the process and the event itself.

If OpenDebates.Org wants to aspire to leading the national debates with the presidential race, we need you to prove yourself, be seasoned, be in the marketplace, and be with all the credit due to the task at hand.

Pulling together a debate is no easy matter, as I've done a few of them. I've been on both sides of the microphone. This is exciting, worthy and serious work.

Let me know if you want more insights and info. Please let me know how might I be able to push these matters to othes?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Open Debates Supporters:

Open Debates had a remarkable first year, and it’s time to continue and complete our reform campaign by preparing for the 2008 election.

Over the last year, Open Debates:

*Formed a genuinely nonpartisan Citizens’ Debate Commission that was endorsed by dozens of major newspapers.

*Forged a coalition of over 70 diverse civic groups to fight for debate reform, jointly issuing reports, drafting letters, issuing press releases, and holding press conferences.

*Released a book (“No Debate”) exposing the antidemocratic practices of the CPD.

*Filed unprecedented FEC and IRS complaints against the CPD (which are still pending). On August 12, a Federal Court ordered a full investigation of the CPD.

*Conducted over 100 radio interviews, and attracted major television news coverage, with stories about our work on Nightline, 20/20, NOW with Bill Moyers, ABC World News with Peter Jennings, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, Lou Dobbs Tonight and many other shows.

*Achieved important victories. For the first time in 16 years, the antidemocratic contract negotiated by the major party candidates – the Memorandum of Understanding – was made public. For the first time in 12 years, a diversity of moderators posed questions to the candidates, rather than just Jim Lehrer. And the networks refused to accept a demand from the Kerry and Bush campaigns to only air shots of the candidate speaking.

We dramatically transformed the debate over the debates this past year. During the first CNN interview of Open Debates’ Executive Director George Farah, the host asked, “Aren’t the debates just fine they way they are?” By contrast, during the most recent CNN interview of George Farah, the host began the segment with the following statement: “While there may have been some revealing moments that swung some voters this year, they happened in spite of a stifling sense of debate edicts drafted by the Commission on Presidential Debates, funded by corporate America, and controlled by the major parties. Enter the calls for reform.”

None of this would have been possible without your support. Thank you!

Now, however, it is time to construct an even more effective and broad-based coalition to break the CPD’s monopoly of our most important public forums. We have laid the foundations for the Citizens’ Debate Commission to take control in 2008, and it’s time to make that a reality.

We need your support to do so. Please make a contribution to Open Debates. We will send a signed, hardcover copy of “No Debate” to anyone who contributes more than $100. You can make a secure, online contribution at: http://www.OpenDebates.com/donate/

Or you can send contributions to:

Open Debates
P.O. Box 18881
Washington, DC 20036

Thank you!

- The Open Debates Team