Protest tonight at WMHT about debate exclusion
Members of the Green Party and supporters of Steve Greenfield's campaign for Congress in New York's 19th District will gather tonight at 7:00 p.m., outside the studios of WMHT in Troy, to protest the rescinding of Steve's invitation to take part in the debate. They will call upon the management of WAMC and WMHT, as well as candidates Kyle Van Der Water and Antonio Delgado, to allow Greenfield into the debate.
Video by Jon Flanders
Steve Greenfield For Congress
For Immediate Release
October 15, 2020
[email protected] (845) 532-0280
Back in midsummer, while the host, Dan Clark, was in the course of arranging a date on which all four balloted candidates could appear, Robert Altman, CEO of WMHT, a public radio and television outlet, suddenly intervened with an extensive set of "Candidate Inclusion Criteria" that included several items that only major party candidates with substantial financial backing, easy media access, and inclusion by pollsters could achieve. This came as a surprise both to Mr. Clark and Mr. Greenfield, who was not excluded from the joint WAMC-WMHT debate in 2018, and no "inclusion criteria" other than being on the ballot had ever previously been presented.
The financial, polling, and institutional criteria are made even more egregious by the fact that WAMC and WMHT are public media, unburdened by ratings interests, and burdened by licenses that require them to operate in the public interest -- in which there is no gray area when it comes to elections. Every candidate that met New York State's legal criteria for the ballot has met 100% of the public interest criteria needed for inclusion. The criteria sent by Robert Altman through his subordinate, Mr. Clark, can only properly be called "exclusion criteria," for that is their purpose, and they have been used to exclude Greenfield from the debate to which he had initially been invited.
Greenfield decried the suppression of viewer access to a completely new, effective set of emergency measures that would stabilize the nation's health, economy, and environment, while staging the fastest possible return to prosperity once the pandemic abates sufficiently for normal life to return, and the choice of the hosts of the debate to only allow access to the two candidates whose platforms are, despite all the overlapping emergencies in which we now find ourselves, are indistinguishable from those of 2018-19. Greenfield's timely campaign statement and 10 Point Plan can be viewed at www.SteveGreenfieldForCongress.com.
Greenfield stated to the management of WMHT and the Albany Times-Union, which collaborated on the criteria:
The criteria from your list in which you find me deficient are 100% -- not 99%, but 100% -- market criteria, and not news criteria. I more than fulfill the components that are not market criteria. I'm a public servant in many forms, including life-risking forms as a firefighter, in this district for 19 years. I have served in elected office inside the district twice, including within the last five years. I belong to a recognized national party that has been running Presidential campaigns since 1996, and has elected hundreds of members, including myself, to office, several of them within the 19th CD. I have communicated regularly with the media. I have done numerous interviews. I have traveled the district to the extent that COVID-19 has allowed. I have volunteers. I maintain an easy-to-use website and campaign social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. The only parts of your criteria in which I come up short are the market criteria.
"Had someone burgled a home, you would never ask them, or the police, to show you poll results, or take out paid advertisements, to prove there was audience interest. You'd just run the story, because it's something the public should know. That solutions for our district's crises exist is something the public should know. It's the most important thing the public should know. And, by ordinary, objective journalistic standards, and even marketing standards, it's as "man bites dog" as it gets -- and that's why you won't cover my campaign, or allow me to appear at your sham "debate." The electoral duopoly dogs -- or, more accurately, the cash cows -- can't be bitten, public need be damned. I get it. I majored in economics. Marketing makes the decisions, and the rest is the public relations required to somewhat conceal that.
"It's shameful that as paid gatekeepers of the media you are wilfully suppressing voter access to truly new, and viable, public administration proposals at a time of national emergency, rather than fulfilling your First Amendment mandate to facilitate democracy by informing the citizenry."