Secret Control of the Presidential Debates

by Project Censored
Published: Updated:

Researched by Kerry Headley and Natalie Dale

The Obama and McCain campaigns jointly negotiated a detailed secret contract dictating the terms of the 2008 debates. This included who gets to participate, as well as the topics raised during the debates. Since 1987, a corporation called the Commission on Presidential Debates has sponsored the debates and has refused to make public the contracts between it and presidential candidates. Much of the money that finances the debates comes from private corporations that have regulatory interests before Congress. The current structure enables corporations to give money to both the Democratic and Republican parties, which essentially supports their duopoly over the political process and excludes third party voices that may be hostile to corporate power. The co-chairs of the Commission consist of a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry and the nation’s leading gambling lobbyist.

“No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates” Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Democracy Now!, 10/2/2008