Today’s The Day John Edwards Grabs The Gold

A little less than a week ago, it occurred to me that something was wrong. Something was wrong with the veneration of pundits best known for their failure to deduce anything correctly. Something was wrong with the media deciding who is a viable candidate and when an election is over. Something was wrong with voters being treated like afterthoughts whose participation was merely incidental. And consequent to these observations, it also occurred to me that there was something wrong with the fact that Ron Paul held the record for the most money raised in one day.

I concluded that one way to stuff the spin of the know-nothing punditocracy back down their arrogant throats was to demonstrate the narrowness of their vision. They needed to be knocked down a peg or two by circumstances over which they had no control. I knew that if the people stepped up to thumb their noses at the press, the press would have to pay attention. And since their noses were already so firmly planted in the back end of the horse race schema, a competition for cash was just the ticket. I thought that if Ron Paul could raise six million dollars in one day, John Edwards ought to be able to raise seven.

Despite his relative success and obvious contributions, John Edwards was being edited out of the electoral picture by a pack of myopic politicos. He had beaten Hillary Clinton in Iowa and finished in double digits in New Hampshire. The popularity of his platform was forcing his opponents to adjust their own positions to be more in line with his. With a base of support from progressive Democrats that went back to his campaign in 2004, Edwards had a realistic opportunity to compete in the upper tier of candidates. But the media wouldn’t let him. Edwards himself has taken note this orchestrated media blackout. They marginalized him; they disparaged him; they mocked him. And through it all, he continued to garner support and respect. So they had to resort to ignoring him.

nullThe Project for Excellence in Journalism recently completed a study of the amount of time the media allotted to the presidential candidates. Edwards came in last amongst the Democrats, and next to last amongst all major candidates. The survey was conducted in the days following the Iowa primary in which he finished a surprise second. But that apparently wasn’t enough to persuade editors that Edwards deserved to be covered.

So I wrote a little diary that I posted at DailyKos proposing a grassroots effort to help Edwards set a new fundraising record. In all truth, it was more of an academic suggestion to ponder the possibilities of such an endeavor. Possibilities, being what they are, exceeded my wildest expectations.

The proposal picked up steam at DailyKos getting elevated to its “Recommended List.” This was followed by a steady stream of follow-up diaries by other authors acting on their own initiative. Then it began to spread to other blogs. At the Democratic Underground I found multiple instances of the proposal. Some added creative touches to expand on the theme. One member pledged to donate an amount equal to the number of recommendations the posting received (it was over 300 last I checked). I saw postings on the Edwards Blog site. I saw comments at various news sites, including one at Fox News.

I have no idea what will happen today. I have no clue how much the campaign will raise. If they break the record the media will have to take notice. But no matter the final tally, this has been an exhilarating experience. I have had so many well wishers and expressions of support. Literally hundreds of blog commenters pledged to contribute. And that is only those in the small bloggerhood in which I reside.

People are also becoming more aware of the toxic influence of a media that seeks to shape the news rather than report it. When Edwards talks about the harm being done to our country by greedy corporations he knows that chief amongst the members of that club are the giant media conglomerates. So regardless of how this unfolds, we must continue to fight for reform. Because if we don’t succeed in reining in the power of these monopolies they will forever dictate to us how we should feel, what we should buy, who we should hate, and what our choices are in our formerly free democracy.


10 thoughts on “Today’s The Day John Edwards Grabs The Gold

  1. I’ve added my $100 and have posted info to my Democratic listserv as well as sending emails to friends who will done and spread the news.

    Thank you!!!

  2. Kudos to the Go For the Gold Campaign idea. Why you were able to get me and many others to get movin’ is beyond me. A little luck, a little skill. I’ve just bookmarked your page!

  3. Although I am an ardent Edwards supporter, your wonderful idea goes beyond any one candidate, and shines light on such an important, timely, and urgent issue – one that threatens the Democratic freedoms that we still hold dear.

    Those of us who do not read a wide variety of sources may not realize the Media Manipulation that goes on; the damage that is done through the sins of omission.

    We are deeply grateful to you for bringing this front and center, and now that it has seen the light of day, let us continue to be ever watchful, and unafraid to speak out.

  4. One fact that all of us need to remember about the Corporate Mainstream Media: these are the same, very same people who helped George W. Bush sell the Iraq war.

    Bill Moyers did a great job pointing out who enabled Bush:

    So, let’s all be sure, the next time a friend mentions a poll that excludes Edwards, “aren’t these the same people who never asked one question about the run-up to Iraq?”

    Let’s give the MSM the credit they deserve…

  5. I’ve heard it called “Corporate-Owned Media,” or “Traditional Media Incorporated” – “TradMediaInc.” – all very apt, imo.

  6. Hey There,

    I’ve been a loyal reader of your blog and an, admittedly, too infrequent poster.

    I just wanted to voice my opinion that you are a little hard on Ron Paul. I don’t think Ron Paul’s ideas are harmless, but his ideas are certainly revolutionary – even if they are more armchair revolutionary than “pick up your guns” revolutionary.

    Ron Paul isn’t the perfect candidate, but the reason he’s getting the donations he’s getting is largely because the media won’t cover him. I think you, as an informed member of the grassroots press, realize to some extent just how far they will go to omit his name from being uttered – and somtimes – from simply appearing on the screen. It would be nice to see some appreciation for similar efforts of other grassroots movements. Rather, it seems like you marginalized Ron Paul and all his supporters when you said “it also occurred to me that there was something wrong with the fact that Ron Paul held the record for the most money raised in one day.”

    Now, admittedly, I’m being picky. Most of your work is both informative and very entertaining. This is your gig, so you can do whatever you want to do. I just wanted to throw in my 2 copper cents worth $.03 USD.

    • I appreciate your thoughtful and civil remarks.

      As for Ron Paul, I simply can’t respect a man with such a record of prejudice and extremism in libertarianism.

      I understand why he has become somewhat of a cult figure and I very much enjoy watching him make other Republicans squirm with his views on Iraq and government’s abuse of power. But that’s not enough to validate him as a presidential candidate for me. He is rabidly pro-life and is opposed to universal healthcare, two very important issues to me.

      He is a on the fringe because he does have the experience to be elevated to the presidency. It’s too big a leap from being a congressman to the White House. The same thing is true for Giuliani – he’s just a mayor who’s principle job was managing utilities and fixing potholes.

      But I do agree that Paul has been unfairly ignored by the media, particularly when he performs better in some polls than candidates like Giuliani or Thompson who get much better treatment. And that’s just wrong no matter who the candidate is.

  7. I’ve never voted republican in all my life but…

    The one problem with picking a man like Edwards, Obama or Clinton over (notice no (wo) denotation before man)Ron Paul is that our nation is headed into a very serious recession that will likely end up as our second great depression.

    I don’t know how well versed you are in economics, but the Keynesiesque way our government is bastardizing the money is bound to hurt our dollar and cause rapid inflation. Wages are going to stagnate because we are generally net owers and not owners. We also don’t produce much. We’ve been trading our wealth around over the last few years selling each other services. All those service sector jobs will likely stay flat in dollars, but go drastically down in terms of buying power.

    I don’t know how ready this nation is to stop consuming and start living more simply. But, it’s not a choice anymore because the economic reality is going to force people into doing so. Lines of credit are going to be tightened for a long time to come as values recede. We’ll most likely print money to dilute the value of bank debt so that dollars will flood the market and create misleading value in homes by 2010-2012 – misleading because the home will go up in paper dollars but go down in terms of asset value vs. other commodities and consumer goods. Our banking system won’t collapse this way, and will go on to reap healthy profits in the future – but they will experience nowhere near the growth of banks in developing countries. Thomas Friedman rightly states the world is flat, and because of that we are going to get a lot poorer and developing countries are going to become wealthier (while causing a larger percentage of world pollution/greenhouse gas emissions).

    Any democrat elected will likely expedite that process. Only Ron Paul would protect the wealth of Americans so that we won’t go into what is effectively a permanent decline in our living standard. Permanent as in it will last the lifetime of anybody who is alive and American today.

    In the end, ecology trumps economy… so I don’t give a durn. IE we needed to start cutting back a long time ago to save the future of this planet,so our temporarily economic status isn’t that big of a deal. However, I don’t know if Americans are ready for the severe inflation coming from this perfect storm of poor economic fundamentals in the American Economy.

    That’s all for now.

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