The Strength of Our Democracy

Kerry reads the papers.

When it was mentioned that many Americans had expressed disappointment with the decision of the nation’s broadcast television networks to air only three hours of Democratic convention coverage, Kerry said:

“I share the disappointment. We’re a democracy, and the strength of our democracy is in the ability of citizens to be informed. If the major media are unwilling to inform – and simply because there is not a clash or a conflict or something doesn’t mean it (a convention) is not informative – I personally think it’s a derogation of their responsibility” that goes with using the broadcast airwaves.

In particular, Kerry said he was upset that the nation’s commercial broadcast networks – including ABC, CBS and NBC – decided not to air any coverage on the second night of the convention in Boston.

That was the night when U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama of Illinois gave a much-praised keynote speech, Ron Reagan criticized Bush’s restrictions on stem cell research, and Teresa Heinz Kerry delivered an address.

“My wife gave a wonderful speech, Ron Reagan, Barack Obama, it was a brilliant night,” Kerry said. “I think it’s very disappointing that the American people, at least the people who watch the networks, missed it. I talked to several of the anchors beforehand but, you know, that’s the way they decided. Obviously, I disagreed.”

I’ve said before that it’s ultimately up to people to inform themselves, and if the most easily accessible media aren’t doing it for them, they have to seek out other avenues.

But that doesn’t mean the networks, which like to cloak themselves in the whole “guardians of our discourse” thing when it fattens their pocketbooks and protects them from litigation, get off scott free here.