TOPICS > Politics

Have Your Say: Political Convention Coverage

BY Admin  August 29, 2008 at 2:02 PM EST

This year, the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer is offering complete coverage of the conventions and has expanded its online offerings to include Web -only videos and forums where viewers can ask party officials and analysts their questions.

The NewsHour is not alone in devoting its news resources to these stories and media critics have been busy assessing the result. The New York Times reviewed most television offerings and the Washington Post has critiqued newspaper coverage. Then there is Slate’s Jack Shafer who has questioned the need for any press coverage at all.

Also, the viewers have not been shy to share their opinions. Here’s what some have had to say so far on PBS’s coverage.

Ryan wrote on Aug. 26:
THANK YOU!!!! As a viewer, who does not have cable or satellite, it is so refreshing to be able to view the Democratic Convention in greater length than other networks. The in-depth coverage and conversation in-between speeches is outstanding. I cannot wait for similar coverage of the Republican Convention!

Barb and Dave wrote on Aug. 25:
ARE YOU CRAZY TO OFFER A FULL WEEK OF the NewsHour featuring the DNC? What makes you think that the average American wants to spend his dinner hour watching a bunch of egotistic politicos, including the much- maligned Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy??? Where’s the world news? HOW CAN YOU SO MISINTERPRET what people want? The Democratic National Convention? Who are you kidding?! Monetary contributions will go down again.

Carolyn wrote on Aug. 28:
Thank you for your intelligent, complete coverage. Your team is not more concerned with your own ideas and impressing people than the event. You are giving us the convention. Thank you. I do have one suggestion. The first night Mark Shields and David Brooks were concerned that it was not “dramatic or emotional” enough. In the first place they were wrong, it was emotional. The historians got it right. However, I think perhaps a different perspective would help.

But what about you? Do you think the coverage has been appropriate? Has the NewsHour done its job or done too much? What about other networks and media outlets?

More NewsHour Viewer Comments 

Posted: 10/2/08 at 04:04 PM jb : Third party candidates should get equal time on PBS. Ralph Nader for example should be allowed to debate with Obama and McCain. He should be allowed to be on “Fresh Air”. PBS is Public broadcasting, not just Democrat and Republican broadcasting. 

Posted: 10/1/08 at 05:52 PM Maria Ramirez : I was very upset at the moderator Gwen Ifil, as a Hispanic female voter, the comments and questions for the Presidential election were offensive. As a minority and woman this totally one sideded “moderator” for a station that depends on public funding was a disgrace and should have been replaced with a true moderator or it should have been titled the Campaigning for Obama. 

Posted: 9/28/08 at 02:03 AM JMe : Please, please, please, give the American public what we want: to see the candidate who stands for what we want in the presidential debates. Ralph Nader (along with other candidates polled above 1%) should have equal opportunity to present their campaigns publicly and nationally. They try so hard to campaign, but none of their accomplishments media-wise compare to the corporate-run media attention of Obama/McCain. PBS is the one public station that broadcasts variety (not just local trivialities). You guys depend on your viewers for support. So do the alternative candidates. You should put your similarities together and host a debate with ALL the candidates running (above 1% nationally). Are Obama and McCain afraid that what Ralph Nader has to offer might appeal to the majority of Americans; thus, they’ll lose and Nader will win? Well, they should be because we want that to happen. Nader has a chance. It’s up to you to give him that chance. 

Posted: 9/26/08 at 10:57 PM Robert E. Lee : The flag was on the other lapel tonight. I think it always was a non-issue except in its pettiness. 

Posted: 9/21/08 at 05:47 PM Nikki Blum : Re: the Vice-Presidential debate Gov. Palin herself would say that her views are certainly informed by her faith. I, for one, would like to know in what ways an End-of-Days scenario directs her foreign policy outlook. A fair question that I hope Gwen Ifill will ask as moderator of the debates. 

Posted: 9/21/08 at 04:39 AM Adam Avikainen : Bert and Ernie would vote for Nader if they knew about him. 

Posted: 9/20/08 at 10:45 PM Disgusted in San Diego : For Gwen Ifil. I just read an article that says McCain campaign asked the debate between the VP’s (to put it mildly) be dumbed down because they don’t feel Sarah could handle a real debate. This is disgusting and very sexist. How are we going to find out what she is really like. I hope you take this into consideration. You are a very fair reporter and I would think that you would like to keep the standards of the debate intack. Thank you 

Posted: 9/19/08 at 01:48 PM rostapher : PBS is remiss in not covering third party candidates. The American people deserve a voice, not the corporate voices of Obama and McCain. The “twins” are the evil of two lessers. All we are asking is let the 3rd party candidates debate McCain and Obama. PBS should host a debate for all candidates who have support above 1% in polls. More voices will be heard and democracy will take a huge leap forward. Stop the media blackout, cover 3rd parties and let them debate the corporate juggernauts. So far the most successful candidate in garnering votes has been Ralph Nader, even though he has had almost a complete blackout of his campaign by the Main Stream Media (MSM). In fact he’s polling at up to 10% in some states like Michigan. Think about if he actually had media coverage! (maybe that’s why so much of the corporate-run media is scared) Over at NPR, CNN, Fox and MSNBC every 10th word is either McCain or Obama. MSM why do you waste voters time with lipstick, pit bulls, pigs and other inane distractions? Why not talk about the issues, about defending the constitution and the freedoms it give us. You know, the issues that ACTUALLY matter. Nader’s positions on issues are actually supported by the majority of US Americas, yet the US voters don’t know it. PBS should do everything in its power to balance the media’s coverage. The media’s job “should” be to report what is out there and let the people decide, not make a decision for the people. In a real democracy all voices are heard. 

Posted: 9/18/08 at 07:54 PM timothy edwards : i’m trying to warch the lehr report on cable: channel 10 on charter. the signal (both audio and video)is intermittent; every few seconds the video goes black and the audio stops for a second or so. charter says the problem is you guys. the other two pbs channels i have are showing non political stuff, and have no problem. its as if a monkey, or carl rove, was sitting with a blip button having fun. the same thing happened on pbs political commentary programs in’04 in columbus, ohio. tfe 

Posted: 9/18/08 at 08:13 AM Shell Rowe : I found this direct link to The Newshour on the main site: It is the feed back form in case the powers that be do not answer that specific question Maureen and others. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/letters.html 

Posted: 9/18/08 at 07:42 AM Maureen : Just wondered if there will be any response from PBS regarding the numerous comments made here (on the “How are we doing?” section) regarding third party coverage, and representing the public’s desire. How do we contact someone directly? Who decides these things? PBS, please include coverage on viable third party candidates’ campaigns, and set up a debate yourself so we can hear their views on national television. There is no other way to make an “informed” decision!

Posted: 9/16/08 at 11:12 AM poweob : PBS and the rest of the media is complicit it force-feeding the public this apparent lack of choice this election. It’s disgraceful. Nader will be getting my vote as will most third party candidates from active thinking/reading politically concerned citizens. The percent vote third parties and independents receive is a direct reflection of how many non partisan hack Americans actually pay attention to what’s going on in this country.

Posted: 9/15/08 at 08:42 PM Heidi Post : There is nothing wrong with the American people having a CHOICE in who to vote for. As far as I am concerned there should be 20+ choices for president. Why should there be more choices in what toilet paper to buy and only 2 for president. It’s upsurd.

Posted: 9/15/08 at 03:19 PM Jessica V. Cortez : I’m beyond disappointed with PBS. See what happens when you guys caved and took corporate money? Now you don’t have the wherewithal or chutzpah to cover emerging-party/independent candidates? You’ve lost the admiration of long-time believers of PBS. By the way, I’m sick at the presence of McDonalds and Chuck E. Cheese commercials on PBS Kids. You guys were my last hope at letting my children watch cartoons without growing up commercialized; so that’s over. I guess now, we citizens who are for the proliferation of ideas and free speech will have to start up a new, REAL public broadcasting service, since you succumbed to the corruption.

Posted: 9/15/08 at 03:18 PM Ross : You did not do a good enough job covering the protests and abuse of protestors. You also did not do a good enough job covering minor party conventions, like the Libertarians and the Greens.

Posted: 9/15/08 at 10:33 AM Shell Rowe : I forgot to mention that’s little if any differences on ending poverty between the 2 candidates. Both are not willing to create a living wage for its citizens unlike Nader for one who would.

Posted: 9/15/08 at 10:24 AM Shell Rowe : In reply to Concerned Voters comments, a third party candidate up to now does has not been able to win cause they have not had fair coverage or debate privileges. Up to a few years ago, a candidate only had to be at 5 percent to be on the debates. But after Perot got millions of votes the ruling changed. Also, in the We coalition there are 4 candidates. Supposedly, many Nader and Cynthia Mckinney. voters would otherwise vote for Obama. Well, to balance out these votes, we have conservative candidates Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin who many people are supporting this election. This country tries to enforce their brand of democracy in other countries while a great many countries have fair elections. If we are to be a true democracy, viable candidates;those that are eligible to be on the majority of ballots should have equal coverage and debate privileges. Also, the 2 candidates are very similar in practiCe on many aspects. MCCain like his Bush and Regan claimed to oppose abortion but like Obama did nothing to make it illegal( Chuck BAldwin would however “Under my administration, we could end legal abortion in a matter of days, not decades. And if Congress refuses to pass Dr. Paul’s bill, I will use the constitutional power of the Presidency to deny funds to protect abortion clinics. Either way, legalized abortion ends when I take office.” (http://baldwin08.com/Issue-The_Sanctity_of_Life.cfm) Then there’s the Patriot act which both Obama and Mcain support. Aslo both McCain and Obama will not end the war immediately unlike Nader, BArr, Mckinney and Baldwin. The 2 covered candidates present rhetoric and hype but lets have the facts of issues covered, thank you.

Posted: 9/15/08 at 09:49 AM ConcernedVoter : Dear PBS, You are doing a fine job.A third party candidate cannot win & would only cause the ‘good guy’ to lose.A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for change…not EXCHANGE…exchange Bush for McSame. Thank you.

Posted: 9/15/08 at 01:56 AM JS : Very disappointed that the media is shutting out 3rd party candidates like Ralph Nader. The American people deserve to hear more voices.

Posted: 9/14/08 at 06:32 PM Maria Gaglione : I would like to see more coverage of the third party candidates running for 2008 Election. It is my understanding that there is a unity ticket with all the candidates from independent, green, libertarian and constitutional parties on specific issues. It is so important to know what they have to say. I hope to see more about them on the news hour in the coming weeks.

Posted: 9/14/08 at 05:11 PM Blonduxo : I wish to echo the numerous comments made herein that challenge PBS on their fairness as demonstrated by the failure to cover the third parties candidates and strong voices of reason (Ron Paul)who talk about the real problems facing America. Issues such as ending foreign wars and global occupation and presence by American forces, the erosion of privacy and implementation of detremental policies such as FISA, the Patriot Act, etc and the unitary presidency, the National debt and the illegal Federal Reserve. Your coverage of the conventions far exceeded the networks and cable offerings but there is more to this election than what the Republicrat duopoly dishes out.

Posted: 9/14/08 at 03:55 PM Jennifer Moore : Ralph Nader is a real candidate and needs to be included in ALL the debates. Shame on your lack of reporting the full story!

Posted: 9/14/08 at 11:32 AM Mark Hivram : Shame on you! In a time which sees the American people feeling more unrepresented by their leaders than any time in the last 40 years, you could be an example – a model of free debate that would force other mainstream news media to play catch-up. Encouraging a debate including 3rd party candidates may not result in a 3rd party president, but that’s not the point. The point is that the frustrated American deserves to look on his/her tv screen and see a candidate bringing issues to the table that have been completely ignored by our two leading candidates. The point is that while the voices of those who would challenge the established corporate-controlled system (on both sides) neither candidate can be expected to challenge themselves. The point is that the Democrats and Republicans have had no serious competition but each other for so long that they have grown fat and corrupt taking turns every few years “leading” this county. They both have a vested interest in perpetuating the majority of the status quo, much of which is unsustainable and corrupt. A debate including candidates who do not answer to big business and do not answer to established party pressure to marginalize themselves (as we have seen both Obama and McCain doing in the past few months) may not result in a 3rd party president, but would hopefully send a message to the ruling parties that the citizens of this country are reaching a point where ignoring our less convenient concerns is no longer an option, no matter who is lining your pockets.

Posted: 9/14/08 at 10:35 AM Hive_monkey : Let me add my voice to the choir and criticize your snubbing of 3rd party candidates. I understand that the majority of Americans consider 3rd party candidates to be inconsequential and perhaps even dangerous “spoilers” in a two-party system. This is a misconception that is fueled by ignorance, and that ignorance is caused by the censorship practiced by the mainstream media. C’mon guys, I expect this from Fox News, but I have my entire life believed PBS to be a truly impartial forum. It’s disappointing to see your coverage policy falling in line.

Posted: 9/14/08 at 09:21 AM Cliff : I thought the DNC, RNC coverage was OK. More time could have been spent on the atmosphere outside the arena. Now, however, there is a real lack of substance and to me this is inherent when focusing on just the two patries, think ‘he said, she said’ or ‘tastes great! less filling!’ PLEASE PBS, you are the third party candidate of news TV, accountable to your members and not just the corpporations that control your party. Consider solidarity with the third party candidates, organize a debate, get them on the TV, they have real ideas and the stakes are high. Regardless of your coverage, alternative candidates will be a factor in such a close race, and are polling as such in key states. Ignoring them will not make them go away, and the fear politics of “at least ones better than the other” is not playing with all voters.

Posted: 9/14/08 at 03:36 AM Rep for Nader in Florida : Ditto, Ditto, Ditto on this guy’s excellent remarks (see below after my comments). When I watch The NewsHour… I noticed CHEVRON is one of your Corporate sponsers … I question if that’s why PBS is not allowed to offer 3rd party and Independent Party coverage? Or is it because PBS is also controlled by our evolving police state. It seems to be some obvious treacherous threats as evidenced from the total black out of Nader/Gonzales Ticket, Green Party ticket and others from all television media???? Does PBS really want to be in solidarity with FOX and the like? It’s like Bill Moyers said “THE STAKES HAVE NEVER BEEN HIGHER”! – Get with it or you’ll be part of helping “the people” lose their democracy and Country. Maybe if you covered 3rd parties you would have enough public funding so you wouldn’t need a CHEVRON sponser. Marlow : The Newshour puppets push the line of the welfare/warfare/corporate/fascist/military-industrial-media complex elite that pull its strings, no different than FOX, MSNBC, CNN. All TV media obediently omit all coverage of any candidates other than those vying for control of the US’s one party system, this go around being McBama and O’Cain. And the typical voter – not being as smart as your average rock – dutifully do as instructed by the “respectable” media, and only consider either of the interchangable Repulicrat or Demopublican candidates.

Posted: 9/13/08 at 06:01 PM Maureen : I just read someone else’s comment, and wanted to add to mine, support for their suggestion of PBS hosting a national debate with all the candidates. What steps would need to be taken to make this happen? It would be historic and change the face of politics in this country. I also agree with some of the others that any candidate who has gone through the rigorous process of getting on enough ballots to win should be included – that seems fair. Please keep the public updated with what is going on with this clearly important issue. Thank you!

Posted: 9/13/08 at 04:10 PM Shell Rowe : Please post this feature back on the front page so other viewers can see the comments and respond as well.

Posted: 9/13/08 at 06:33 AM yossarian : Not including 3rd party candidates in a national debate is simply one more way of sinking democracy. Citizens deserve to hear all the candidates.

Posted: 9/13/08 at 12:05 AM Garrett Lambrev : Evem conservative Time magazine has included Ralph Nader in its list of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century, an individual who has to his credit accomplishments that are the envy of presidents. Yet the Presidential Debate Commission, controlled by apparatchiks of the one party with two faces, will not let him debate. PBS which represents not the parties but the public interest has a signal responsibility to include him in its coverage. Please honor the trust which the citizens of this country have invested you with and make sure that you pay serious attention to what this gentleman has to say about the affairs of our beleaguered republic.

Posted: 9/12/08 at 11:06 PM Jim Antaki, PhD : Lipstick!?! Are you serious? Do you think we’re all morons? That we could so easily be distracted from real issues that affect our lives, and plague our society? And noticing the fact Mr Nader is a bona-fide candidate… who is on the ballots of 45 states and is polling at over 6% in CNN’s own poll? Your irresponsible coverage of this election will only accelerate the inevitable exodus from mainstream media to the internet as the primary purveyor of news.

Posted: 9/12/08 at 11:06 PM Jim Antaki, PhD : Lipstick!?! Are you serious? Do you think we’re all morons? That we could so easily be distracted from real issues that affect our lives, and plague our society? And noticing the fact Mr Nader is a bona-fide candidate… who is on the ballots of 45 states and is polling at over 6% in CNN’s own poll? Your irresponsible coverage of this election will only accelerate the inevitable exodus from mainstream media to the internet as the primary purveyor of news.

Posted: 9/12/08 at 08:59 PM Shell Rowe : Several years back, you aired “A Man With a Plan” the inspirational comedy about a man with a fourth grade education that beats many odds. That was just great. well lets show a real life scenario! Thank you!

Posted: 9/12/08 at 02:39 PM DYNAMO : Where’s the coverage of Ralph Nader? He’s a major contender to the 2008 Campaign. He’s made it on the ballots of 45 states and is polling @ 6% in Michigan and 4% in N. Hampshire. Let the people hear what a candidate who isn’t funded by corporations and endorsed by movie stars has to say. If I had my way, I would have all polititans wear those branded suits that NASCAR drivers use, that way we all really know who we are voting for.

Posted: 9/12/08 at 01:53 PM rds : Please cover Ralph Nader. The people have a right to choose. The media decides the election not the people. We came to this country because of democracy… what has happened.

Posted: 9/12/08 at 12:29 PM BENNY : Hey PBS,respectfully prove that you aren’t just another (less benign) arm of establishment PROPAGANDA,and cover 3rd party candidates.I personally stopped watching the ‘NEWS HOUR’ a year or so ago,because I prefer the TRUTH.And for that I go to DemocracyNow,Bill Moyers and the INTERNET.

Posted: 9/12/08 at 11:42 AM Maureen : PBS: I have always been a fan and supporter of public television (it is the only thing our children watch) and I look to you to present fair, unbiased coverage of all things going on regarding the elections, since you are ostensibly not beholden to corporate sponsors. Please give the viewers what they want and need to see, which is a broad picture of presidential contenders. Ralph Nader (among others, McKinney, Barr) is a legitimate candidate, on the ballot in 45 states, which is not an easy task as a third party, so I am baffled as to why we hear virtually NOTHING about his campaign. The media has the power to turn people’s attention to whatever they deem important (Sarah Palin was unknown until weeks ago, and now we know trivial details about her personal life!) so it seems irresponsible to not use that power to fairly present all the choices we have as Americans, so that we may make an informed decision. I have gotten reactions like, “Ralph Nader? Is he running?” And, “Is he still alive?” This is a shame in the “information age”. Nader has a solid platform, that converges with what a MAJORITY of Americans want, so why would you, as a neutral news source, NOT highlight those issues for people to assess???? 60% of eligible Americans are not thrilled with their choices, which is a huge number. Those people who are lukewarm about the process and feel that no candidate represents their views ought to know that there ARE candidates who are listening and basing their platform on what the VOTERS want (what a novel idea). PLEASE, PBS, pay more attention to these legitimate candidates, and cover their campaigns with equal time. We are counting on you!

Posted: 9/12/08 at 11:26 AM dg : I love PBS.Why haven’t you given Ron Paul and Ralph Nader & others, a fair amount of exposure? These guys have had to fight for everything; doesn’t the media see we like these people?

Posted: 9/12/08 at 10:43 AM orangutan : If the citizenry does not have accurate and comprehensive information, then there is no such thing as an informed opinion, and democracy becomes meaningless. The two things that you need to do are (1) cover important issues and the candidate’s stances on them in serious depth, and (2) give voice to the serious alternatives to the Republicans and Democrats, namely Ron Paul, Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader. What possible justification could there be for not doing these two things?

Posted: 9/12/08 at 10:09 AM Paul Armentor : Please cover Ralph Nader with the same energy and respect you show to Obama and McCain and watch the polling numbers start to change. If you do this, it will be obvious that you rose above the normal multi-decade blackout and played an important role in properly informing the electorate as to it’s alternatives. Go for it!

Posted: 9/12/08 at 09:38 AM powerob : What does it take for news to actually report news rather than read press releases from campaigns or party representatives such as the Commission on Presidential Debates. The media is failing its duty of being the fourth branch of our government. Ralph Nader’s polling significant numbers in the midst of a media blackout and he will be on more ballots than he was in 2000 election. This is shaping up to be another election where they tell Nader he is too irrelevant to be in the debates then will turn around and blame him for being too relevant by effecting the election results. Please do some third party coverage lest we are doomed to 24 hour news coverage of lipstick campaigns.

Posted: 9/12/08 at 08:11 AM StephenS : Your coverage of the political campaigns is no better than the other TV media in the US: you pay no attention to third party candidates, even though the two so-called main candidates speak increasingly alike. McCain, who voted with Bush over 90% of the time, is now the agent of change? Obama offers “hope” but keeps changing his position on everything, giving us the choice of tweedle-dee and tweedle dum. Your coverage feeds the lie that the Dems and Reps actually stand for something other than more of the same. I reluctantly accept the greed and ignorance of most of the American electorate, but cannot understand how those whose business is to ferret out the truth can abrogate their responsibility to do so.

Posted: 9/12/08 at 05:03 AM David W. Deitch : In the interest of democracy and fair play you need to provide more coverage to third party candidates, especially the leading figure, Ralph Nader. I am voting absentee ballot from France.

Posted: 9/12/08 at 03:02 AM Jonathan in Portland-OR : I frequently enjoy PBS, especially the plethora of documentaries, but I am quite disgusted that PBS has made a deliberate effort to limit coverage of the 2008 Presidential race to just the Republican and Democratic Party candidates. I enjoyed watching the DNC and RNC via C-Span, CNN, etc. and try to stay well informed. However, I am increasingly becoming frustrated by what I see—or more importantly, what I don’t see. I will admit to being very enthusiastic with Obama at first, but with his selection of Joe Biden as the VP choice and a continuous dilution of his primary rhetoric to more centrist positions, I feel alienated. Am I supposed to believe that I have only two choices? As a Democrat I will probably reconcile and stick with Obama, but I am quite riled by the same routine I saw in 2000 and 2004. When it comes to third-party candidates, I am starting to agree more and more with their uniform claim that they are being denied virtually any mainstream media coverage. What I once took as a little whining and paranoid delusions are becoming increasingly credible. Although I was surprised that even Lou Dobbs offered a little coverage, it’s a sad day when PBS is little better than the FOX News/MSNBC/etc. mainstream news services. Alternative news services like DemocracyNow! and international news services like the Guardian UK, CBC (Canada), etc are increasingly taking priority over NPR, OPB and PBS. I’m not asking for much, just what most Americans seem to feel they are entitled: an unfiltered look at the candidates and the election, whereby we hear all the candidates and make a decision based on the facts. If these third-party candidates really aren’t serious choices and present themselves with quixotic positions and deranged ideas then they will be “weeded-out” by the voting public—just like the party primaries weeded-out flakier choices like Mike Gravel (D—now I/Lib) and Fred Thompson (R). By presenting only two candidates you are doing the public a disservice and it might easily be perceived as a paternalistic stance of censoring and unfairly influencing the public’s choice for president. I’d like to see Bob Barr, Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, Brian Moore etc. get some air time, even if I don’t agree with them. As for the debates, when 1–5% of the national vote should be attending the debates. Now whenever I see a nationwide survey, I have to wonder why the combined percentage of support for Obama or McCain rarely passes 87%. Are that many Americans really “undecided” or supporting someone else—and why isn’t this being discussed? Like I said, I’m more than a little riled, I’m disgusted.

Posted: 9/12/08 at 02:03 AM Lyle : Shame on you PBS for undermining Democracy in America by not including election coverage of all the candidates.

Posted: 9/12/08 at 01:52 AM AG : One of the reasons this country is becoming a third world country is because of the lack of third party candidates by the mainstream press. Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney are legitimate candidates with critical statements, and not publishing them is a matter of national security. It will continue the trend to becoming a police state unless voices like these get published in mainstream press (including PBS). You cannot have a corrupted government without a corrupted press. We have a corrupted government. www.NotOneMore.US

Posted: 9/12/08 at 01:29 AM Ed Brandt, Ph.D. : The only programs I watched regularly are Jim Lehrer’s News Hour and BBC World News. But you are not serving the public by failing to provide much more coverage about Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin. These candidates cumulatively have the support of 10% of those who vote, despite an almost total blackout by the self-censoring media, including PBS. This self-censorship also totally ignores the large number of Jewish and non-Jewish groups who advocate true and just independence of Palestine, e.g., Rabbi Michael Lerner, who publishes Tikkun and often mentions Christians and Muslims who also advocate a just peace. (I have never seen any coverage anywhere which covers the key items on which the four mentioned candidates, including both the four items on which they all agree (as well as their differences on issues or their emphasis) are running. But at least 90% of mostly poor non-voters in need of government assistance don’t vote because they see no difference in their often miserable lives, regardless of whether the Democrats or Republicans win. Widespread stereotypes are usually false and derogatory terms like “spoilers” ignore the fact that the right of voters to vote as they please (or to regret how they voted) are the essence of democracy. I was a liberal Republican who served in the US Foreifn Service and in Minesota’s former non-partisan legislature. I was a pioneer advocate of civil rights, an early supporter of environmental protection and, above all, an advocate of the needy. I also cherished traditional moral values, such as the importance of keeping families together (harmed greatly by no-fault divorce), considering compassion as the highest moral value and a tee-taller. But all of that ended with the end of the Cold War, since Clinton and G.W. Bush were the worst presidents we had, at least since Coolidge (the real architect of the Great Depression). But I despised Reagan’s economic policies and regretted the failure of George H. W. Bush to support his true values in deference to the Reaganites. Since 1992 I have voted for Perot, Nader or cast a write-in ballot. Thus the notion that Nader hurts the Democrats more than the Republicans is false, just as is the notion that other “minor” candidates (who actually would be major candidates if the received fair media) hurt either major party is an offensive and anti-democratic perspective for those who believe that democracy means more than the secret ballot and fair counting of those votes in Iran and Russia.

Posted: 9/12/08 at 12:42 AM Publia Padena : I enjoyed your convention coverage. I hope you will cover the serious 3rd party candidate, Ralph Nader, as well. Additional viewpoints are in the best interests of the American people and I would like to hear more. I would also like to see at least one debate where we have more than Republicans and Democrats.

Posted: 9/11/08 at 11:40 PM Derek R : Please cover Ralph Nader and other 3rd party candidates! Denying these candidates, all on enough state ballots to theoretically win, media coverage makes a mockery of our “democracy”. The Dems and Reps control the debates and are subjecting the American people to a no choice election once again. PBS is no better than the corporate cable networks if they don’t extensively cover the 3rd party candidates as well. Another 8-16 years of the same 2 parties running the show and this country is finished.

Posted: 9/11/08 at 10:51 PM Eliza : Where is your campaign coverage for the rest of the presidential candidates PBS? Aren’t you supposed to be presenting all of those running for office, not just the NWO selected two? Where is your equal time for Cynthia McKinney, Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, you know, the same Ron Paul who is on the ballot in several states, Chuck Baldwin and Alan Keyes? How about sponsoring a series of REAL debates??? Please put our tax funded airtime to better use. Invite ALL the candidates. I like the empty chairs idea mentioned for Obama and McCain, should they prove themselves to be elitist noshows. Empty chairs for empty suits! How about reviewing some of the exciting rallies and conventions, the town hall meetings of these third parties and the numerous events from the archives of the Ron Paul Republican Party. Find those on http://www.CampaignforLiberty.com. You have a lot of catching up to do PBS, having presented only republican-democrat conventions, and many weeks of their hoopla. This is only one side of the campaign. You take our tax money. You want our donations. Yet, so far, you’re a noshow. Where are the rest of the candidates?

Posted: 9/11/08 at 09:47 PM Dr : I think you are doing a grave disservice to our country by not providing more in depth coverage of the third party candidates and their unique point of view. People like Paul and Nader who are each starting to Poll 5-10 percent in swing states should be allowed into the democratic commons. By ignoring them you willfully choose to be political bigots. Why don’t you do a poll of your viewers to see how many people want more coverage of third party points of view?

Posted: 9/11/08 at 09:41 PM NPT : Please include Nader and other candidates in your coverage. You become much less credible when you pretend that there are only two options for President.

Posted: 9/11/08 at 09:21 PM Josh from Michigan : PBS stands for PUBLIC!!! broadcasting corporation. The public wants 3rd parties in the debates. All media that consistently deny coverage to 3rd party candidates are complicit in denying democracy to America. 3rd parties do not spoil elections, the two-party corporatocracy and the mainstream media spoil our elections and thus our democracy. I have lived in two foreign countries, Finland and Chile, and am saddened to bear witness to the fact that the USA has a democracy of far less strength.

Posted: 9/11/08 at 08:43 PM John : Cynthia McKinney and Nader must be included in all valid commentary and reporting on the 2008 Presidential race. Today, I heard a story on Michigan, where McCain and Obama are virtually tied. Even though the story claimed that a small town could swing the whole state, there was NO MENTION of Nader, who is today at 6% in Michigan. Censorship or incompetence in reporting, I do not know. John M. Wages, Jr. US House of Representatives, MS-01 www.VoteJohnWages.com

Posted: 9/11/08 at 07:16 PM paul siemering : There are two really urgent issues that need attention. First there are the endless wars being waged by the U.S. Ms. Palin has heard from God that killing Iraqis is what he wants. I’m not sure about Afghans, but my guess is he likes that too. So i need to know if the woman is hearing voices. And I think that’s a fair question. Also God wants her to drill the Alaskan wildlife refuge, or anywhere else. But no alternative or renewable energy. Just as urgent is the need to stop talking about the idiotic trivia that has been the exclusive focus so far. Hockey momism is no an issue. Family is not. Moose hunting is not.Ask her which Iraq war lies she likes best- the one about the weapons, or the ties to al-Qaeda,and therefore to 9/11. Ask Obama why he wants more mayhem in Afghanistan, if the civilian deaths so far are not more than enough.

Posted: 9/11/08 at 06:52 PM R Krause : My message didn’t go through becuase I’ve “sent too many comments.” This is the first time I have been to this website!

Posted: 9/11/08 at 06:49 PM R. Krause : In a country of 300 million people we have only two candidates for president, one who endorses a 100 year war in Iraq, if that’s what it takes, and the other who wants to win a war in Afghanistan. Please include third party candidate so Americans don’t have to be wedged between the criminality of two illegal and unconstitutional wars. Why not let Nader speak?

Posted: 9/11/08 at 06:13 PM Alex in Idaho : Your coverage of the duopoly perpetuates a fraud on the American people when you exclude other candidates from the discussion. As an independent voter, I watched quite a bit of your coverage of both conventions but had to turn elsewhere when I wanted coverage of Nader’s super-rallies and other third-party goings-on in the host cities. This blackout does a major disservice to the American public and PBS/NPR/CPB will get no pledge money from me as long as it only gives any substantial coverage to candidates from the two parties who have spoiled so much of our political system. Rather than your paternalistic filtering, I want you to give all candidates, or at least those candidates on enough ballots to win, equal coverage and let the voters decide. Although I used to have a lot of respect for Gwen Ifill, I now consider her complicit in this fraud for hosting the VP debates put on by the sham Commission on Presidential Debates. I encourage Ms. Ifill to tell the CPD to jump in a lake. She should contact the League of Women voters and work to bring back non-partisan (not just bi-partisan) debates for Americans. If this election is so important, Americans should get a full hearing of all the issues and all our choices.

Posted: 9/11/08 at 05:47 PM JBlotz : How about PBS sponsoring a debate on their own, inviting Obama, McCain, Nader, Barr, Balwin & McKinney. Then have two empty chairs for Obama and McCain if they are afraid to debate. Let the candidates ask a few questions of the other candidates.

Posted: 9/11/08 at 05:40 PM Please Cover 3rd Parties! : I found your coverage of the conventions to be excellent, but now I’m asking you to PLEASE cover the 3rd party candidates and do everything in your power to get them in the debates. Why shouldn’t the American people be allowed to see a debate among ALL the candidates? As Ralph Nader has said, if his run for presidency is so insignificant that it doesn’t deserve media coverage, then how is it that the Democrats blame him for “spoiling” elections? Can’t have it both ways. Please help educate the voters by hosting a debate with all the candidates.

Posted: 9/11/08 at 05:37 PM John : Coverage of politicians making clever statements with not real content is not really coverage. The two parties have become extremely adept at saying nothing, but making it sound important. That’s why they’ve agreed to block out third parties. Open the debates for Ralph Nader. His approach is consistently based on an actual platform with substantive planks. This fact, of course, is why McCain/Obama do their best to ignore him. They certainly don’t want to debate him in front of the American people. Please, rather than devoting untold resources to meaningless rallys full of platitudes, do a story on the changes in the political process, including WHO controls the discourse, in the media, and in the two corporate parties.

Posted: 9/11/08 at 05:34 PM Art Delgado : The lack of coverage for Ralph Nader–and all third party candidates–is disturbing, does not educate voters, and it allows the so-called “major” candidates to get away with mindless “lip stick on a pig” squabbles while the major issues in this nation go unaddressed. While I have come to expect corporate media outlets to fail in their fourth estate obligations to our republic, I expected more from public media. I guess real public discorse is dead, and the fourth estate is now little more than lipstick on a pig.

Posted: 9/11/08 at 05:33 PM Buk : Sad… While the PBS stations are looking for more funds for programing “for the people”, the lack of equal{or any} time for third party canditates is a sham. I’ll not be sending donations until this changes. I think that I’ll send it to Ralph Nader instead. By the way… Why wouldn’t we vote for someone who DOESN”T OWE ANYBODY ANY FAVORS???

Posted: 9/11/08 at 05:25 PM mimi : Please provide 3rd party coverage!! Where is Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, Cynthia McKinney and all the other candidates? Until we have a multiple party system we will never have a true democracy. Until the media ALLOWS us to see and hear the many other points of view being offered we will never really have a choice and therefore we will never have health care, education and our civil rights protected. Please PBS allow us to hear all of our options.

Posted: 9/11/08 at 05:15 PM Richard Dubin : Never before in the modern history of this nation has the need for third party representation been greater than it is today. With both major parties become beholden to those who provide the ever increasing need for money to buy elections the presence of third party candidates pledged to shun such donations is essential to our continued democracy. I would beg you to provide coverage for those candidates who work diligently for our nation and do so handicapped by the blackout of their efforts by the media.

Posted: 9/11/08 at 05:07 PM Tony : The whole truth and nothing but the truth.Everything else is opinion and you know what they say about opinions

Posted: 9/11/08 at 01:29 PM oakknot : Though I didn’t watch News Hour, I can fully believe that PBS (along with the rest of Mainstream Media) would MARGINALIZE any third party candidate for the same lame reasons MSM does: they don’t have enough money. Thanks to the Corporate Sponsorship of PBS, anyone who doesn’t have several million dollars in campaign funds and also is focused on anything other than Business As Ususal is automaticaly disinvited, uninvited, and generally marninalized from any sort of meaningful coverage. I’m not merely talking about Nader. McKinney-Clemente is the Green Party President/VP pick-I TRULY doubt that PBS has even mentioned this pair, let along had them on News Hour for a meaningful interview/debate. Dennis Kucinichg had the same pox on him: MSM (including PBS) refused to give him any time, but his sin was denouncing the Corporate Sponsors of PBS et al and proclaiming PEACE as a Vital Need for The World. The U.S. SHOULD BE leading the way to a Peaceful World. But alas, none of the networks of MSM will have any of it. Don’t contact me begging for funds; they will be sqandered.

Posted: 9/11/08 at 11:14 AM Nate in NH : Many say politics is about compromise, your glancing mention of Rep. Paul yesterday missed the whole point, and continued marginalization of 3rd party candidates is compromising our democracy. At least 3 third party candidates from opposite ends of the spectrum came together to agree on the most important issues of today. Each has enough ballot access to win the election and deserves your coverage. I believe Mr. Shields would agree they should be permitted to debate and add to the scope of our civic discussion. Living in northern NH, I watch CBC News. Please take a cue from them, as no one expects the Green, NDP or Bloc Quebec candidate to win, the Canadian society is better off for the fair inclusion and diversity of opinion gained by coverage of all candidates and open debates. As we can see in the corporate media, focus on two front runners with little substantive difference is bound to deteriorate into coverage of churches, lipstick and lappel pins. Thank you.

Posted: 9/10/08 at 10:59 PM Tolli : You really need to cover the third party debates and the event like the Campaign for Liberty held today with Ron Paul, Nader, Baldwin and McKiney. Those 4 people agreed on 4 base principals to challenge the primary parties with. This needs to be covered. The 4 agreements need to be published and discussed. Go forth and investigate.

Posted: 9/10/08 at 10:33 PM Priscilla : Coverage has not been complete. Where is coverage on 3rd parties? The American people deserve to hear all candidates and make an informed choice. No more two party only choice(?)! Americans are tired of being bullied by this “two” party system that is leading us down the wrong path toward facism/socialism/communism!!

Posted: 9/10/08 at 09:02 PM Nathan : For as fair and unbiased as PBS claims to be I can’t help but wonder why they not only chose to not cover any 3rd party conventions, but failed to even mention the happenings in the 3rd party camps.

Posted: 9/10/08 at 09:01 PM Your former contributor : Not covering other candidates is a shame. As a former contributor, I regretted that we send our hard-earned dollars to you. From now on, I am going to persuade as many people as I can NOT to contribute anything to you.

Posted: 9/10/08 at 06:47 PM Gordon : There is no reason that Nader rallys have not been covered. It started as a small movement that has gained a lot of momentum. Please start covering Ralph Nader and Ron Paul for that matter. Third party candidates should be an option. Please do not silence the voices of the Americans that are tired of the same retoric from the Rebublicans and the Democrats.

Posted: 9/10/08 at 02:10 PM Shell Rowe : Its curious that after several posts have been made regarding the unequal representation of the presidential candidates that now the section of “Have Your Say: Political Convention Coverage” is now not advertised on the main site. Why is that .Do you feel that other viewers will also be critical of your coverage process and lack of even though you specifically asked:”Do you think the coverage has been appropriate? Has the NewsHour done its job or done too much? What about other networks and media outlets?” This is another example of PBS/ The Newshour at an attempt to silence the voices of the political nonconformers.

Posted: 9/10/08 at 12:18 PM Justin Jeffre : You do our country a great disservice by excluding the only candidates that represent the views of millions of Americans. Ralph Nader held “Open the Debates” counter rallies during the DNC and RNC that had big names like Sean Penn, Cindy Sheehan, Jesse Ventura etc . and you didn’t bother to cover them. You should take the “Public” out of PBS because you don’t represent the public interest while you use our public airwaves. History won’t judge you well!

Posted: 9/10/08 at 12:11 PM montag : There was a time when the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour was the only news show I would watch. I continued to be a regular viewer when Jim Lehrer took over the program, but in recent years the broadcast has gone steadily downhill and I now find myself watching Jeopardy more often than the News Hour. How can you call yourselves journalists when you’re not covering third-party candidates like Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney, and Bob Barr? I fully expect CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox to exclude these candidates since the mainstream media is controlled by the corporations that the third-party candidates are so valiantly railing against, but PBS? You are supposed to be Public Television broadcasting in the public interests. That means keeping the public informed. In this, you have failed miserably. Give Nader and the other candidates a voice!

Posted: 9/10/08 at 11:15 AM boo PBS : I used to watch your shows, until I realized that you are nowhere near fair and balanced. You consistently left out news regarding 3rd party candidates. I get my news now from various sources on the Internet. I can no longer trust anything I hear/read and its very saddening.

Posted: 9/10/08 at 09:40 AM Paula : There are 3 infomative programs that I watch on PBS POV, Bill Moyers, Wide Angle. And I am amazed that your Corporate Sponsers let you get away with that much honesty. Your entertainment programing is great. Your news coverage laughable. You call yourselves “public”, so where is that coverage? I hear mostly the same corporate proganda that I can get on the cable stations (just longer versions of selected portions of it) and the only Presidential Candidates that I have head from on PBS are 2. Where is the coverage of Nader, McKinney, Barr, Baldwin? Nader is on the ballot in 45 states is a write in candidate in 5 more, but I didn’t learn that on the “Public Station” Your political coverge shows corporate control firmly in place, not public. Just what portion of your programing does the public pay for? I have heard enough about Obama and McCain. I want to know more about Nader, Barr, Mckinny, Baldwin. I expect to get that information on my “PUBLIC” Station. Why don’t you hold a debate that includes all the candidates. If McCain and Obama don’t show up…so what, the public will learn more about the others.

Posted: 9/10/08 at 09:32 AM Craig C : To the candidates. Please stop the negative ads and give us your reforms. Oh yea what happened to Social Security reforms?

Posted: 9/10/08 at 09:16 AM People : It is a shame on America and a shame on Democracy that Ralph Nader is virtually excluded by the national news coverage! What are you afraid of? The candidate or the People?

Posted: 9/10/08 at 02:25 AM Maureen Sheimo : In an America with liberty and justice for all, the people’s Public Broadcasting Service would host open balanced Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates including all of the party and independent candidates who have qualified for the ballot. They wouldn’t be hosted by the milk toast softballers Jim Lehrer and Gwen Ifil but by Bill Moyers and Tom Broccacio who demonstrate on a weekly basis how to conduct and present invesigative journalism. It is shameful that your comprehensive coverage of the Democratic and Republican conventions excluded the thousands of conscientious citizens outside the auditoriums and the outrageous black boot tactics of the “Homeland Security forces”. Your failure to report on the frightening violations of the freedom of the press, calls into question your status as an ethical public news institution. Obviously, you feel bound to comply with the demands of your corporate sponsors and the corporate Congress, but don’t you have children and grandchildren too? Don’t you ever lay awake at night wondering what will happen to this nation and the planet if we fail to break the deathgrip of the fascist Republocrats and their spiraling greed and violence? At this critical moment for our nation, wouldn’t this be a good time to declare your independence and place the needs of people above the needs of the sociopathic corporations?

Posted: 9/10/08 at 01:11 AM ShiftThePower : This is public television, right? How dare you give unequal coverage to all publicly funded candidates. The American people deserve to hear from all the candidates they are paying for. Nader, Barr, McKinney and Baldwin are all out there campaigning, addressing the needs and rights of the people. Wed.Sept. 10th they’re going to come together in an uprecedented way in a press conference with Ron Paul. What a great opportunity to get started giving them the coverage they deserve, and we deserve.

Posted: 9/9/08 at 11:04 PM Sgt Harold Tottem : There are no words to describe the depth of my absolute disrespect for your “news” show. Excrement comes to mind. You’ve never done a day of hard work in your lives, obviously. Only when you stop caving in and giving a voice to those who need and deserve it least – the two terrorist political regimes which tyrranize this country – and make up for your ways by devoting full coverage to the Cynthia McKinney / Rosa Clemente and Ralph Nader / Matt Gonzalez campaigns (and others, such as a pro-animal rights party, like the Dutch have) can you call yourself a news hour offering objective news.

Posted: 9/9/08 at 09:35 PM Marlow : The Newshour puppets push the line of the welfare/warfare/corporate/fascist/military-industrial-media complex elite that pull its strings, no different than FOX, MSNBC, CNN. All TV media obediently omit all coverage of any candidates other than those vying for control of the US’s one party system, this go around being McBama and O’Cain. And the typical voter – not being as smart as your average rock – dutifully do as instructed by the “respectable” media, and only consider either of the interchangable Repulicrat or Demopublican candidates.

Posted: 9/9/08 at 08:38 PM nader paul kucinich gravel : The National Press Club. nader paul kucinich gravel mckinney ventura perot charts rage

Posted: 9/9/08 at 06:48 PM Leslie Webb : Why does the media ignore third party candidates and give millions of free dollars in coverage to the Democratic and Republican candidates? Take all the candidates who are on enough state ballots to be able to win the electoral college vote. Cover these candidates equally and fairly for two months and then see who is ahead in the polls.

Posted: 9/9/08 at 06:13 PM Jive Dadson : Both parties set up a virtual police state to corral and imprison protesters and even reporters. How much coverage did PBS give to that?

Posted: 9/9/08 at 06:06 PM Jive Dadson : Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty had a rally across the river from the GOP convention. It drew 12,000 enthusiastic supporters. How much coverage did PBS give to that?

Posted: 9/9/08 at 06:02 PM Jive Dadson : PBS does its part in perpetrating the political stranglehold that the two big parties have on this country. PBS has a veneer of intelligence that the likes of Fox News lack, but blather is blather and complicity is complicity. Whether the reporting comes with proper grammar and complete sentences, or with flashy graphics, yelling, and swooshing noises, the country is ill served by acquiescence to the duopoly that is utterly destroying it. There is no voice for small government and liberty.

Posted: 9/9/08 at 05:57 PM Jim : Although not surprised, I am disappointed there was not more coverage on two very telling aspects of both conventions: 1) the extent to which corporations funded and lobbied delegates, and 2) the police action taken against journalists attempting to report on relevant issues, albeit ones the party leaders don’t want to expose.

Posted: 9/9/08 at 03:24 PM More voices : Why have Nader, McKinney, and Barr been excluded from any coverage at PBS? It’s this a form of political bigotry, isn’t it? Nader is blamed for costin Gore the Presidency, but these same people insist his campaign is “insignificant.” Which is it? Political bigotry.

Posted: 9/9/08 at 03:19 PM gov4corporadoes : NEWS FLASH! Presidential candidates Nader, McKinney, and Barr are personae non grata at PBS, given its refusal to recognize these candidates’ right to be heard. PBS practices political bigotry of a sort. Why, I’d like to know, since each of them will be on enough state ballots to represent a significant voting bloc and each having the potential to WIN the presidency. Nader 8% could explode into the 20% range with regular exposure, given any kind of fair treatment. The latter fact is likely the reason why PBS quakes at the very mention of the names Nader, McKinney, and Barr. Oh, I’m sure we’ll hear their names at PBS at some point or other but it will happen “with the proper frame,” using demeaning or self-fulling mild epithets. PBS is consistent. Too bad it’s consistently anti-democratic.

Posted: 9/9/08 at 01:56 PM Susan : I, for one, stopped watching any of the network coverage of the conventions because I quickly tired of the long-winded comments of the commentators, especially the hot-headed crew on MSNBC (and not just Matthews and Olbermann). After a while, they repeated themselves for lack of new information. CSPAN and the Lehrer show gave me just enough analysis.

Posted: 9/9/08 at 12:31 PM Oregon viewer : I was discouraged to see continuous commentary dominated by white males. This was most obvious after Hillary Clinton’s speech and six men commented before going to the female reporter on the floor of the convention. I would like to have heard from more women and more people of other color. It’s time for PBS to get with the times and open up!

Posted: 9/9/08 at 10:08 AM Shell Rowe : PBS puts out many wonderful programs aimed at specific groups and people. Why not then host the independent conventions which millions of citizens/ voters are involved in and affected by? Also, when doing the republican and democratic conventions, polling figures were brought up continuously, however, no mention of the independent polling. Therefore, a complete coverage of the elections are not being offered. Please listen to the voices of the millions that are supporting/ voting for 3rd party candidates as well as those who are dissatisfied with the two candidates that the major networks including yours are showing and would support a viable 3rd party candidate like Ralph Nader!

Posted: 9/9/08 at 09:39 AM Nicolas Lomas : It is rediculous that PBS would think that everyone is either democrat or repbulican. There are better options out there than the current one party system. I feel it is very biased of PBS not to give any of the third party candidates any air time so that they can give their views. I use to be a democrat then a republican and the more I learn about them the less I trust them and the more I want to vote for third parties. I am now with the constitution party which I believe stands for truth and not for B.S. that democrats and republicans dish out. Why don’t the dem’s and repub’s write an essay on where they stand on the issues. This way the american people can see if they actually have a good plan or a bad one. If democrats and republicans can’t discuss the issues, then they are unworthy of running our country. Nicolas

Posted: 9/9/08 at 04:34 AM gina : Shields and Brooks, a panel of historians, and The Newshour gang in full force for two weeks?! What’s not to love? The return to standard fundraiser programming has never felt so painful. Cheers for airing the full speeches and for providing a functional environment for well-rounded commentary. I must admit my bias: I find the network coverage appallingly inadequate. thanks for your help in maintaining my faith in humanity. P.S. Would also have enjoyed hearing more about the events and shenanigans going on outside the auditoriums, but I understand that may require us to donate more money.

Posted: 9/9/08 at 04:19 AM Barbara and John : We watch from Australia and found the conventions interesting. So different from the way we do it here.

Posted: 9/9/08 at 12:27 AM Stuart : We watched CNN during the Democratic Convention. They were good in many respects, but we got tired of missing speakers we at least wanted to hear some of, as well as some of the things going on in the hall. For the Republican Convention, we switched to News Hour and were delighted at the mix you provided. Admittedly, Daniel Brooks and Mark Shields aren’t as pretty as Campbell Brown and Donna Brazile, but Jim Lehrer can, unlike Wolf, ask questions of a reporter or interviewee without a monologue that answers the question he asked. Hats off to your team! Now, if you can just get that interview with Sarah . . .

Posted: 9/9/08 at 12:20 AM Sandra : I watched the Democrat & Republican Conventions from a far (in Australia). We only got an hour each night but it was organised to cover the main speakers. I found the coverage fascinating. Please allow me as an outsider to make some comments. 1 I was so impressed with Michelle Obama’s speech. 2 I watched carefully as the cameras panned the audience. At the Republican convention I could count on one hand the number of African Americans. Is this a fair representation of a party that supposedly wants to govern all the American people? 3 Forget the racist and feminist bias, my opinion is purely ageist. At 72 John Mc Cain is too old.

Posted: 9/8/08 at 10:36 PM Kerrygold : I thought your coverage of the conventions was the best of all the others. For me there was no possibility of stomaching the others, in fact. I am always shocked when I inadvertently am exposed to other news broadcasts than the News Hour because they are so vapid, superficial, etc. I came to this site tonight, however, because I am so distressed at the outright lies that are being uttered by Palin especially, and if I hear from John McCain once more that he is a maverick-well, what can I say? The man has completely capitulated to the “base” and it really is BASE in the true sense of the word. I only hope that this time the American people will take the time to read and inform themselves of the facts, and maybe tune in to the News Hour rather than the other newscasts that are devoid of any real information.

Posted: 9/8/08 at 10:33 PM coast11 : I like the “behind the scenes” look at how the election campaigns work. It is easy to find out where a candidate stands on the issues, but to see how strategy is being applied is fascinating and sharpens my critical thinking skills. Most importantly is that most of your contributors can disagree without loosing their temper and shouting at each other.

Posted: 9/8/08 at 09:16 PM Victoria Horton : I really enjoy listening to the analysis of Shields and Brooks. It is the only time I can really hear a Republican opinion. I am a Democrat but I want to know what the Republicans think on important issues. I think that citizens should understand both sides of an argument even if, ultimately, they must choose how they feel about a certain issue. The problem is that the Republicans always seem so angry that it is hard to know what they are thinking. Democrats and Republicans do not communicate with each other. I want to listen to what the Republicans have to say, but so often I cannot because they are yelling. David Brooks is a Godsend to the Republican Party in this way. I can listen to what he says. I don’t always agree with him – that’s true – but it is the only time I can really listen to the other side. Most of the time, I agree with Shields but I like to hear what Brooks has to say.

Posted: 9/8/08 at 08:00 PM Lyle S. Chapman : I watched the News Hour tonight and was very disappointed that most of the reporting on the presidential campaign was concerned with the mechanics and horse race aspects of it. Please, PLEASE do not waste our time in this way,and use your opportunity to serve the country by presenting us with accurate and factual information about the candidates and their positions on the issues.

Posted: 9/8/08 at 07:19 PM Lois Phemister : Thank you for the excellent coverage of the conventions. The three historians were terrific. They were thought-provoking, humorous, and informative. Shields and Brooks are always level-headed and honest in their reflections. Obviously each has a preferred way to look at the world that can be different from the other. Never the less, they are willing to admit when the other one has a good point. When they disagree they are polite about it with no demonstrative contortions to register their disagreement. They are pleasant. They are a model in how political dialogue should take place. Thanks, keep it up. We will keep tuning in.