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2004-07-29

Jimmy Breslin: "The Media Should Have Their Licenses Revoked" for Lack of Convention Coverage

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We speak with Pulitzer prize-winning columnist Jimmy Breslin about the intense scripting of John Kerry’s coronation ceremony at the Democratic National Convention. [includes rush transcript]

John Edwards’ speech focused on the theme he has hammered away on since he first declared his candidacy for president-the theme of two America’s, one for the rich and powerful, the other for the rest of Americans. And in many ways, what has taken place inside the FleetCenter in Boston has been a tale of two conventions: one a highly choreographed ceremony with vetted speakers and pre-approved speeches, the other a floor full of delegates from across the country-the overwhelming majority of whom are antiwar and anti-patriot act. The public face of this event has been one of unanimity. But on the convention floor, many of the delegates express their frustration that the messages coming from the podium have not reflected their views, particularly on the invasion and occupation of Iraq. As we have reported this week, some delegates report having their antiwar signs or placards taken from them because they were not part of the officially-approved and coordinated message. We caught up with Pulitzer prize-winning columnist Jimmy Breslin from Newsday to get his thoughts on the intense scripting of John Kerry’s coronation ceremony.

  • Jimmy Breslin, Pulitzer prize winning columnist for Newsday.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: What’s taken place in the Fleet Center has been a tale of two conventions. One, a highly choreographed convention. The other, delegates who are anti-war and anti-Patriot Act. The public face has been one of unanimity. But on the floor, many delegates have expressed their frustration, but the messages coming from the podium have not reflected their views particularly on the invasion and occupation of Iraq. As we have reported this week, some delegates report having their anti-war signs taken from them because they aren’t part of the officially approved and coordinated message. We caught up with Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Jimmy Breslin from "Newsday."

AMY GOODMAN: So what did you think about this convention?

JIMMY BRESLIN: Too nice.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean?

JIMMY BRESLIN: How can you have this many people, this many issues, and nobody complains? One woman got up on the floor last night when Teresa Heinz was talking and she said what about bringing the boys home from Vietnam now. And they assaulted her. The police, the security, the crowds, they dragged her off.

AMY GOODMAN: We got the videotape. Medea Benjamin of Global Exchange. We played it on Democracy Now!

JIMMY BRESLIN: It happened. I know somebody who saw it and was trying to stop it.

AMY GOODMAN: So what do you think of no dissent in the Democratic platform?

JIMMY BRESLIN: I don’t like it. It’s a sure way to lose. Absolutely. They got a sure thing and they’re trying their best to screw it up. You can’t be this nice. I’m not this nice to you. You know what I mean?

AMY GOODMAN: So what is your column tomorrow?

JIMMY BRESLIN: I don’t know. But there’s no — you need sparks. And there’s no sparks here. Outside of Obama. But he’s not for this year. He’s for some year, but not this year. And what else? There’s nothing. Carter was good, but he’s not for this year either.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of all that Michael Moore has exposed and how he has been treated?

JIMMY BRESLIN: It’s a movie. It’s a movie. This should be — this is American politics.

AMY GOODMAN: What do you think of the corporate networks saying there’s no story here?

JIMMY BRESLIN: I think what should happen is people should go to their local stations and challenge the license.

AMY GOODMAN: Why?

JIMMY BRESLIN: Because they didn’t fulfill their role in public service by running the politics of the country at a crucial time. They should run this, and then they’re going to cut down on the Republicans, too. You oughtta make coalitions. They go after licenses. They don’t deserve a license. They did not run, history will show, they did not put Barack Obama on the television last night. And for sure, whether he wins the race, he’s going to run for president on this party some day. There’s no more Hillary, there’s no more anybody. There’s one guy. And he’s going to be it and they didn’t have him on television. You should go after their licenses. I don’t know how you deal with the network. I know you could go after channel 7 in New York or someplace. Go ahead. They didn’t run it. It’s a sacrilege and nobody complains.

AMY GOODMAN: Some say that because it’s so scripted, there’s nothing to talk about.

JIMMY BRESLIN: I don’t care. That’s none of your business what it is. Your business is to write it. If it’s lousy, then you’re running a lousy convention. If it’s good, you run a good convention. But you are running a convention of the Democratic Party, which is producing a candidate to run for president and you don’t want to cover it? You don’t have it on your air? Then you shouldn’t have the station. Awful. That’s a tremendous thing that happened.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think that this goes hand in hand with the way the media covers the lead up to the invasion?

JIMMY BRESLIN: Exactly — they don’t care. They got good jobs. These people are too well off. Ever look at them? There is no curiosity. Their curiosity is where they are going out tonight or what party they go to. There’s no curiosity here. None whatsoever. And also, they can’t write too good. 37 words in a lead sentence, and they expect the public to follow and read. Norman Mailer would do 16 or John Steinbeck 14, they do 47 to show that they went to Tufts and they did 10 papers before this.

AMY GOODMAN: Pulitzer Prize journalist Jimmy Breslin. He writes for "Newsday."

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