CNN, the most Soviet name in "news" (plants at Democratic debate)

Thursday's CNN Democratic debate featured more than wimpy questions and a CNN-approved lie. Some of the audience members who asked questions weren't just regular Joes and Janes. And, CNN failed to disclose those links.

From the transcript:

[Wolf Blitzer:] you're going to be hearing directly from voters here in Nevada. They're going to have a chance to ask these Democratic presidential candidates questions... [Suzanne Malveaux], you have some undecided voters who are ready to ask these presidential candidates some specific questions. Let's begin right now... [Malveaux:] ...I've had a chance to actually meet at least some of you here, and obviously I noticed when you were responding to some of the candidates you were shaking your head, wrinkling your nose. I'm not sure if they've answered your questions, and this is your opportunity to ask the candidates what you really care about.

Out of eight audience members selected, at least half had some form of undisclosed link:

* Khalil Khan (made unverified claim that he'd been racially profiled at the airport; Malveaux does say "he says" about those claims; the impression I received when watching it live was that she bought the claims)
- identified by CNN only as a "businessman"
- President of the Islamic Society of Nevada (
- Appeared in Paula Zahn segment (
- more

* LaShannon Spencer (asked about Supreme Court nominees)
- identified by CNN only as a member of a church
- someone with that same name was identified as director of political affairs for the Democratic Party of Arkansas (NYT, August 8, 2003, link)

* Maria Parra-Sandoval
- identified self at debate as a UNLV student
- former illegal alien (
- "In high school, she was active in voter registration, volunteered in a congressional campaign, and interned for Clark County. In college, she was selected to attend the Fifth Annual Public Policy and Leadership Conference at Harvard. She is also a Fellow of the National Latina Leadership Institute Summer Program in Washington, D.C. and was selected to intern in the office of the Honorable Harry Reid in Spring 2006." (

* Catherine Jackson (asked about Iraq war)
- described as an "local anti-war activist" when she was at a counter-protest in front of Harry Reid's Nevada office (Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 18, 2007, cache)

* George Ambriz (falsely claimed that "no terrorist has come from our southern border")
- Malveaux identified him as a UNLV grad student
- someone named George R. Ambriz claims to have been the president of the Western New Mexico University chapter of MEChA in 2002-2003 (link); WNMU was his former school:
- the former editor of that school's student newspaper confirms he was the president of that MEChA chapter:

* Jeannie Jackson (asked about private contractors in Iraq making more than U.S. military)
- a person with that name has left several emotional, Iraq-related comments:
link (March 09, 2007 letter to Las Vegas Review-Journal)

* Judy Bagley (asked vague Social Security and Medicare question)
- identified by Malveaux as a casino cashier
- has some involvement with the Culinary Workers Union (in response to her question, Barack Obama said: "thanks for the great work you do on behalf of the culinary workers; a great union here.")
- Whether she's just a member or an official with that union isn't yet known; if the latter, that would be yet another affiliation CNN didn't disclose.

* Frank Perconte (extremely vague question about "uniting" the country)
- identified by Malveaux as a UNLV student

And, there's more:

Eric Alterman says: CNN producers purposely ginned up the crowd to cheer over and over, as if they were pom-pommed cheerleaders at a high school pep rally. (

Then, per CNN: "The audience hooted and jeered at both Edwards and Obama as attacks continued -- when Obama accused Clinton of sounding like Republican candidate Mitt Romney and when Edwards repeated charges the front-runner took money from special interests." (

And, there was apparently some funny business involving how the tickets were distributed: here, here.


There's an Islamic Society in Nevada? Next you'll be telling me it's headquarters is in Las Vegas. It is. [1] Are there 'Halal' buffets in the casinos too?


_it's headquarters_ Should be its, of course.

Judy Bagley is an official with the Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas, which group the candidates have all visited.