Saturday, October 13, 2012

Firedog Lake: Political censorship in Delaware

Firedog Lake takes up both the Ralph Begleiter/UD debate exclusions of third parties and the Wilmington News Journal's refusal to publish candidate responses of third party candidates in its voter guide.

From a personal standpoint, here's the scoop on media and third parties in this state (from worst to best):

1.  The News Journal.  With the exception of the story about the UD debates, the News Journal has refused to cover any third party news other than Alex Pires.  They refused to print an announcement of the Libertarian VP candidate Jim Gray coming to DSU, despite the fact that they received press releases from both the LPD and DSU Public Relations.  Although I have several friends on staff at the WNJ, it has clearly been the most hostile major media outlet to third parties this cycle.  (I would give Delaware First Media this title, except that I don't consider them major media.)

2.  WDEL radio.  Some good news:  they invite all candidates to their debates.  Then the bad news:  for months their Electionwatch page was a complete and utter travesty, and the fact that I complained publicly about it is probably why it now lists IPOD and the Green Party but not the Libertarians.  Repeated requests to WDEL news and talk show hosts about the possibility of interviewing Jim Gray when he was here were not refused--they were just never answered.

In other words, two of the major media outlets in New Castle County simply refuse to cover third parties no matter what.

3.  Delaware State News.  Their platform is difficult to work with, but they have been much more willing to cover third parties than their cousins upstate.  A recent piece on the US House election focused on John Carney and Tom Kovach, but also gave considerable space to Libertarian Scott Gesty and Green Bernie August.  They covered the Libertarian/Republican controversy in the 32nd District between Will McVay and Ellis Parrott.

4.  WHYY television.  Co-sponsor of the debate with WDEL that allowed everybody in, and also did a ten-minute interview with Jim Gray when he was in Dover.

5.  WGMD radio.  WGMD News has been good about covering Libertarian press releases/news stories (and has proven capable of passing on my more "puff" efforts).  WGMD also covered the Sussex Libertarian Party Meet and Greet, and the staff there was trying to pull off an interview with Jim Gray but we couldn't make the logistics work.

But the grand prize goes to

6.  The Cape Gazette.  The CG has treated the Libertarian Party with total parity compared to the other political parties.  They ran an extensive article on our Libertarian candidates back in June, and have consistently been willing to pay as much attention to our press releases as they pay to the Democrats and Republicans.  For example, they have covered the following:

--Libertarians at the State Fair for Delaware marriage equality
--US House candidate Scott Gesty on education reform, ethanol mandates, and debate exclusions
--35th State Rep candidate Ronnie Fitzgerald receiving the endorsements of Delaware Right to Marry and the Delaware Liberty Fund

They have also been generous in printing letters from pro-Libertarian writers.  The interesting thing about the Cape Gazette is that they don't pick winners and losers for the voters--they seem to view their enterprise as informing people as much as possible about everything going on.

Damn shame other "news outlets" don't feel the same.

No comments: