Jill Stein Responds to Corporate Media Debate “Exclusion” Standards
August 12, 2010 in State Wide Elections
The Jill Stein Campaign for Governor of Massachusetts received notice from a consortium of Media outlets that she was “invited” to participate in two gubernatorial debates, assuming she met the following demands:
1. The candidate must have an established campaign headquarters with at least three paid staffers and communicates, on a daily basis, with recognized non-partisan media outlets such as television stations and newspapers.
2. The candidate must have raised at least $100,000 between January 1 and October 1 for the purpose of running for governor. .
3. The candidate must receive 5 percent in a poll conducted by a media organization or academic institution that is recognized by the Boston Media Consortium.
The memo to the Stein campaign gave no indication as to whether their own polling would include Jill Stein when polling voters, but nonetheless, the conditions they set run contrary to the standards demanded by the Stein Campaign. Here is Stein’s response:
BOSTON – “Politicians shouldn’t be allowed to eliminate their competition by pushing them off the debate stage” according to gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein. Stein was responding to proposals from Deval Patrick and Charlie Baker to organize debates that would be confined to the three men against whom she is running.
“We can’t let the two candidates who bear major responsibility for the mess we’re in restrict the debate to just their own voices. If we do, we’ll hear more excuses for failure and more proposals for staying on the same course toward fiscal and environmental meltdown. ” said Stein. “Voters deserve to hear that there are alternatives that can put us on the right track. Those alternatives are never going to be discussed in a Baker/Patrick debate.”
Stein reiterated her campaign position that “All candidates that have qualified for the ballot under the election laws of the Commonwealth should be invited to participate in debates that use the public airways. We also think that fair treatment of all candidates is to be expected from the media corporations that are taking advantage of the privileges our society accords to journalistic enterprises. Those privileges are based on an assumption that journalists will contribute to the free and open dialogue that is essential to a healthy democracy. Journalists should refuse to be parties to any attempt to restrict the flow of information that voters need and deserve.”
On Tuesday, a consortium of nine media organizations invited Stein to participate in two major televised debates, providing she met certain criteria including raising $100,000 in campaign funds and achieving at least a 5-per cent score in election polls. Stein said that her campaign expected to satisfy these criteria, but she did not agree that any candidate should be excluded on the basis of such requirements. “Polls shouldn’t be used to decide whom voters get to hear. Debates should drive the polls, not vice-versa.”
Regarding polls, Stein noted that “Just because voters are leaning toward one candidate doesn’t mean that they want to be kept in the dark about their other choices. Poll after poll shows that voters want to see all the candidates having a free debate. I’ve been talking to voters all over the state and I can assure you that voters are not that enamored with Deval Patrick and Charlie Baker. And they certainly don’t want to hear them go on and on without letting the other candidates have a word.”