Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

sunrise protesters

The youth-led Sunrise Movement launched a campaign earlier this month to urge the Democratic Party to hold a 2020 presidential primary debate about the climate crisis. (Photo: Sunrise Movement/Twitter)

'Our Pressure Is Working' Says Sunrise Movement as CNN and MSNBC Announce Climate Events for 2020 White House Hopefuls

"But we also want to be clear: these are not climate debates," the group added, reiterating its demand for a DNC-sponsored debate

Jessica Corbett

The Sunrise Movement celebrated Thursday as CNN and MSNBC announced climate-focused events featuring 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidates, but reiterated its demand that the Democratic Party sponsor a debate solely focused on the White House hopefuls' plans to tackle the global crisis.

"We know that only a DNC-sponsored debate—with all the candidates on the same stage, at the same time—will put the eyes of the nation on this crisis at the scale it demands."
—Sunrise Movement
For the past several months, environmental groups and activists—joined by some candidates—have pressured Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Tom Perez to support holding a presidential debate on the climate emergency. Despite Perez's opposition to such an event, the DNC is set to vote on the matter next month.

Earlier this month, Sunrise launched a seven-week slate of demonstrations at the local offices of DNC members across the country to urge them to vote in favor of the resolution calling for an official climate debate. In response to the CNN and MSNBC announcements, the youth-led movement declared in a series of tweets Thursday night, "Our pressure is working."

"But we also want to be clear: these are not climate debates," Sunrise added. "We know that only a DNC-sponsored debate—with all the candidates on the same stage, at the same time—will put the eyes of the nation on this crisis at the scale it demands."

"Americans want and deserve more than 15 minutes of discussion on the climate crisis," the group wrote, tagging Perez in its final tweet.

CNN revealed Thursday that it is inviting all Democratic candidates who hit at least 2 percent in four approved polls by Aug. 28 to join a climate crisis town hall in New York City on Sept. 4. According to the network, "the climate town hall will follow a similar format to ones CNN held earlier this year in Austin, Texas, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Washington, D.C., in which Democratic candidates appeared back-to-back across the course of the evening."

The Daily Beast reported Thursday that MSNBC is partnering with Our Daily Planet—which sends daily morning emails about environmental news—and the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service "to host a multi-day climate change forum with the 2020 presidential candidates."

According to the institute's executive director Mo Elleithee, the university has blocked out Sept. 19 and 20 for the event. Every single presidential candidate—Republicans included—has been invited to participate.

At this stage, each candidate who participates has been promised an hour of airtime—the first 30 minutes being a moderated conversation with MSNBC hosts Chris Hayes or Ali Velshi; the second half a Q&A session with students from Georgetown, other D.C. universities, and early primary states. The event is expected to be live-streamed on NBC News Now with parts of the event featured on Hayes' primetime MSNBC show over two nights.

These two events "will look different from the official DNC debates, which restrict candidates to timed answers and have strict guidelines in place for behavior and moderator questions," Grist noted. And there's a reason for that: "When Perez handed down his ruling in June, he said that participating in non-DNC-sanctioned debates will prevent candidates from engaging in the party's official debates."

In a trio of tweets Thursday, David Turnbull of Oil Change International and U.S. Climate Action Network welcomed the events but maintained that a DNC-sponsored debate "is critical" to demonstrate that the party understands the crisis and "allow candidates to challenge each other and educate voters on the differences in their plans."

While groups continue to call for a DNC debate, the newly announced climate events are ultimately being framed as victories for the movement. As Justice Democrats put it in a tweet: "We won. Organizing works."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

New Whistleblower Sparks Calls to 'Crack Down on Facebook and All Big Tech Companies'

Hours after another ex-employee filed a formal complaint, reporting broke on internal documents that show the tech giant's failure to address concerns about content related to the 2020 U.S. election.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Catastrophic and Irreparable Harm' to Wolves Averted as Wisconsin Judge Cancels Hunt

"We are heartened by this rare instance of reason and democracy prevailing in state wolf policy," said one conservation expert.

Brett Wilkins ·


West Virginia Constituents Decry 'Immorality' of Joe Manchin

"West Virginia has been locked into an economy that forces workers into low-wage jobs with no hope for advancement, and after decades of this our hope is dwindling," said one West Virginian. "The cuts that Sen. Manchin has negotiated into the agenda hurt our state."

Julia Conley ·


'Texans Deserved Better Than This': Supreme Court Leaves Abortion Ban in Place

The nation's high court set a date to hear a pair of legal challenges to the "horrific" restrictions.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Like It Never Happened': Federal Judge Tosses Trump Attack on Clean Water Rule

Denying a Biden administration request to temporarily retain the rule, the judge reestablished "the careful balance of state and federal power to protect clean water that Congress intended when it wrote the Clean Water Act."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo