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Comment: Well, the broadcasting is on "public airwaves," but

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In reply to comment: Don't get me wrong (see in situ)

Well, the broadcasting is on "public airwaves," but

via the networks, i.e., corporations (who will benefit from advertisers, that is, other corporations, through commercials airing during pre- and post-debate coverage, and likely commercial breaks in the middle). And what I found was that the cost of hosting these debates is funded primarily by private corporations (who'll obviously get mentioned on air for doing so). What the candidates receive is ALL THAT FREE PRIME-TIME ADVERTISING, well, NOT free, but paid for by corporations. So I don't think it's an issue of misappropriation of federal funds. There was a lawsuit that said it SHOULD be federal funds. At the NVRI website, see "Challenging the Illegal Corporate Funding of Partisan Presidential Debates: Becker et al v. FEC." They lost the suit. In 1907 Congress tried to prevent corporations from being involved, but there's apparently some loophole. And I agree that it's probably not a matter of free speech rights, at least not per se. Free speech means that you don't get dragged away in handcuffs for WHAT you say (at least in theory - ask Brandon Raub); it doesn't guarantee you a platform to express yourself. The way it is now, it IS IMMORAL. There's no DOUBT that U.S. CITIZENS in a FREE SOCIETY should have the RIGHT to HEAR all the candidates debate, and that candidates should have a right to PARTICIPATE in debates - not as a "free speech" issue but as a PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION ISSUE. The current system is NOT in the best interest of this country and its people. It goes AGAINST what is in our best interest. And that's why I love our founders. They understood that principle. (It's why I urged people to read about the history of corporations.)

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir