WBUR

Controversy Grows Over Excluding ‘Outsider’ Candidates From Debates

Gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein of the Green-Rainbow Party speaks to a reporter after she was excluded from a gubernatorial debate in Braintree on Tuesday. (AP)

BOSTON — In the race for governor of Massachusetts there’s a growing controversy about just who should be invited to participate in the debates. Earlier this week, Jill Stein of the Green-Rainbow Party, who is on the ballot, was excluded from a debate sponsored by WBZ-AM. A consortium of news organizations, which includes WBUR, has also argued that Stein should only be included if she can demonstrate that she’s a viable candidate.

“People in charge of the debates have no business pre-judging election outcomes when they decide who to let in on a debate.”
– former independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader

In Braintree on Tuesday night, WBZ-AM’s Dan Rea welcomed Gov. Deval Patrick, Republican challenger Charlie Baker and Independent candidate Tim Cahill.

Jill Stein, The Outsider

A fourth candidate hoping to be governor — Jill Stein of the Green-Rainbow Party — was outside, along with a small group of supporters. Stein insists that because she met the legal requirements to be on the ballot, she should have been included in the debate.

“I’m running to give voters another choice outside of Beacon Hill. We’ve got a Beacon Hill boys club in there tonight,” Stein said.

Stein blames Boston’s media outlets for pre-judging her and short-changing the voters.

“They’re messing with the public airwaves and a really critical public process in our democracy. If we don’t have the responsible journalists expanding our debate, not shutting it down, not censoring it, then we are in real trouble,” she said.

The other candidates, including Patrick, agree that Stein should be allowed to participate.

“Pundits and pollsters and experts and all that, they’re busy trying to tell the public what the outcome is going to be before the public has had a chance to engage or even cast a vote. She’s a serious candidate — she ought to be in, I agree,” Patrick said.

WBZ’s Defense

In a written statement, WBZ says it made the decision to exclude Stein after considering a number of factors — including poll numbers, fundraising and whether she had a “reasonable expectation of winning.”

The Boston Media Consortium, which includes The Boston Globe, two local TV stations and WBUR, has similar standards and is planning two gubernatorial debates: one the week of Sept. 20 and a second in October.

“There just isn’t that much time if you have too many candidates,” said WBUR Managing Director of News and Programming Sam Fleming.

“We all know that from primaries where you have forums and everybody gets to speak for a minute here and a minute there. And at the end you really don’t have a true sense of where each the candidates is coming from.”

The Case For Lower-Profile Candidates

“People in charge of the debates have no business pre-judging election outcomes when they decide who to let in on a debate,” said Ralph Nader.

Nader is probably one of the most famous — some might say infamous — third-party candidates. The long-time consumer and reform advocate says locking legitimate candidates out of debates deprives voters of choice.

“Furthermore, these debates are on public airwaves, which are owned by the people. And there’s an obligation to recognize that if a candidate is ballot qualified candidate, as Dr. Jill Stein is, then she should be in the debates,” Nader said.

But Dan Payne — a Democratic political analyst for WBUR — says WBZ and the consortium are right to keep less viable candidates, such as Stein, out.

“Because Jill Stein will get one quarter of the time and camera and she has not a million-to-one chance to become governor. For her to be given a seat at the table is unfair to the voters, who will then have to wade through the clutter of a fourth candidate in the race,” Payne said.

Among the conditions set by the Boston Media Consortium, a candidate must have raised at least $100,000 by Oct. 1. Stein is well short of that. But because next week’s debate comes before that deadline, the consortium reversed itself and will allow her to participate in it.

But it will probably exclude her from the second one, so this debate will continue.

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  • nicole

    This is a mockery of Democracy……

  • Al Oster

    There is too much emphasis on winning. Elections are the only time when at least some of the electorate is paying attention. The more and varied opions they are exposed to the beetter. Third and fourth parties may not end up winning, but they often see their ideas co-opted by the eventual winner

  • Mark

    “For her to be given a seat at the table is unfair to the voters…” What a ridiculous thing for anyone to say, never mind that it came from the mouth of someone whose career it is to study and report politics. I suppose Mr. Payne thinks it IS fair that the voters never get a chance to hear what a long-shot candidate has to say? Maybe if you allowed these people to be heard, they wouldn’t be such long-shots. Also, from what I gather from listening to the news, the populace is sick to death of the fact that someone must be wealthy to be able to run for any elected office. To have a monetary condition as one of the criteria to be invited to a debate only exacerbates that problem. Now tell me, just who is being unfair to the voters?

  • CHRIS

    How can she a chance to win if she is not given a chance to debate? So only winnable candidates are allowed to join in the discussion?? How is this democracy if viable candidates are shut out of the process?? She’s on the ballot, let her debate??

  • Cecile

    Dan Payne — a Democratic political analyst for WBUR states “Because Jill Stein will get one quarter of the time and camera and she has not a million-to-one chance to become governor. For her to be given a seat at the table is unfair to the voters, who will then have to wade through the clutter of a fourth candidate in the race.”
    I have a comment for Mr. Payne. Stop talking down to the voters like we don’t have a mind of our own to “wade through the clutter” of a fourth candidate. You are being extremely arrogant to think that political pundits and analysts have the right to decide who we hear from and how much “clutter” we have to “wade through.” Get off your high horse! I am an undecided voter and would love the opportunity to hear from all four candidates, especially how they respond to one anothers’ ideas. Please check your own arrogance!

  • Leanne Klaisner

    Driving to work this morning, my husband and I were listening to NPR here in Boston. I heard that the Democratic debate for Governor in Boston would NOT let the woman from the Rainbow party in to the debate. I don’t understand! I am OUTRAGED that someone who took the time and energy to legitimately get on the ballot would not be considered a contender due to some consortium deciding that she probably didn’t have a shot. Why is there an organization that makes these decisions. This is censorship that I didn’t VOTE for as an American. Who are these people??? Why do they have power??? I especially do not appreciate my news filtered to me. What do I need to do to get my voice or ANYONE’S voice heard!

  • miro

    Cahill also has no chance of winning whatsoever, but there is no question he will be part of the debate. Stein has a lot more to say than Cahill., who seems totally brain-dead.

    As much as we like Dr. Stein’s perspectives and they need to be on the table, in our winner-take-all system, voting for a third party candidate is a futile gesture. The Green Party can be nothing but a spoiler in this race, much like the role they played in the 2000 Presidential election with Ralph Nader as their candidate.

    THINK GREEN, VOTE DEMOCRATIC.

  • Mike

    I am appalled, as is everyone on this forum. Let her debate! This is supposed to be a democracy. We cannot silence the voice of the minority! I expect more from my beloved public radio station.

  • Leilani

    Dr. Stein has accomplished all of the criteria set out for the candidates EXCEPT for the raising of 100,000 by October 1st. Can the media not understand that it’s not yet October 1st? Do the people understand that Dr. Stein specifically asks, “We respectfully decline donations from registered lobbyists or from officers of corporations which employ such lobbyists.”? Here’s a candidate that has morals (imagine!) and follows the rules set out by the corporations that hold the debates. Can these media outlets please give back the respect that Dr. Stein so obviously deserves?

  • jack Ryan

    Dr. Stein is an articulate and thoughtful candidate. She make a lot of sense. I want to here what she has to say. Cahill has no chance of winning either and he doesn’t have any thing to say that’s intelligent. I am ashamed at the way our democracy is being abused.

  • Vincent

    I am ashamed of a political apparatus that would disallow a candidate from participating within the very system of rules it claims as a protectorate for its participants. We, the voters, are being protected from the “clutter” by shunting Dr. Stein, yet we must wade through articles posted on WBUR highlighting the exclusion. Dr. Stein isn’t a viable candidate thus preventing her from involvement, but how might she gain legitimacy when she is being stripped of her voice amongst the other candidates? The Boston Media Consortium should be embarrassed; and yes, this debate is not over.

  • Lovan

    I am appalled that WBUR would go along with the tagline of Dr. Stein not being a serious candidate. Does it not become a self-fulling prophecy if media organizations make that determination rather than the democratic process.

    I think that it is even more crucial since you are a public broadcaster that is listener supported. I support WBUR because I expect fairness from you.

    Even if Dr. Stein does not have a high probability of wining I think that she should be allowed as she will probably speak more honestly on the issues than the candidates that have more at stake.

  • http://www.kenpentel.org Danene Provencher

    The Ken Pentel for Governor campaign in MN is also being excluded from debates. Though we had a booth at the MN State Fair, on Sept 3rd we were not invited to participte (or sit up at the same lunch counter as the others)at a live debate at the fair hosted by Minnesota Public Radio. We bombarded MPR with hundreds of phone calls addressing their position of segragation of the candidates which is a form of political bigotry. As a consolation prize, they will allow the 4 minor party candidates on their show on Sept 20th, 11 am. Just a different drinking fountain we say and NO we do not want to sit at the back of the bus, either. Myself and another campaign volunteer proudly held up LET KEN DEBATE signs during the hour interview. When Tom Horner, the IP candidate asked me prior to the debate if I had a question, I said “Yes, why are you afraid to debate Ken Pentel?” He mumbled that he did coordinate the rules for the debate, and I said, “Nevertheless, you could invite him up to participate in his democracy”. Of course the coward wouldn’t.
    Note also, that non-profit groups won’t list us on their website and our public television network (TPT) sets criteria of having to have $75,000 in our campaign bank account to be included and the MN League of Women Voters is just as bad.
    Since they allowed Jesse Ventura to debate and he won the seat for Governor in MN in 1998, they have set up more barriers for gubernatorial candidates.
    Keep the pressure on!

  • i vote in every election

    Dan Payne is exactly what is wrong with our elections and the media’s coverage of those elections. “Professionals” like Payne are not interested in informing the public or helping to ensure that views are heard. They are interested in a sort of professional wrestling like spectacle. They want sparks, arguments, and if at all possible they want to be that questioner who asks the question that “gets” some politician and is played over and over again.

    Believe me, I know clutter. Jill Stein’s opinions are not clutter. It is unlikely I will vote for her, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from her. We aren’t talking about some whack job running for election. Then again, look around the country, seems even the whack jobs are getting more attention and respect that Stein.

  • Darlene

    Dan Payne, and all the other media pundits think far too highly of themselves when they wrongly assume that the voters need them to decide which candidates we should listen to. She’s on the ballot and should be heard. Maybe she wouldn’t be such a long shot of the ‘ole boys club stopped blocking a seat at the table.

  • David Wean

    Let’s see – WBUR is part of the consortium that is excluding from the debate a candidate who has met the state’s requirements to be on the ballot, based on criteria that include the amount of funds raised. I’m considering redirecting my WBUR and WGBH membership donations this year to Jill Stein’s campaign.

  • Shelby Silver

    I do believe that Jill Stein should be included in the debates. This is Massachusetts, for heaven’s sake. But in response to Leanne, I think it’s important to understand–and I say this as someone with 30 years of journalism experience–that this has nothing to do with voting (your vote has nothing to do with how media outlets provide information about candidates). It also doesn’t really involve censorship, which implies government control over media outlets releasing information.

    Rather, this is a case of a media organization making a decision that you may or may not agree with–but it’s made independently, without government control. If there’s enough outcry, the media organizations in question may reverse their decision and allow Stein to participate in debates. But don’t confuse this with censorship; they’re two different things.

  • Eva

    This is unbelievable. Shame on WBUR (up until now my favorite radio station). How dare you behave like this? Sam Fleming, where is your good judgment? Dan Payne, I don’t know how you can look at yourself in the mirror.

    I usually vote democratic, but I’m so outraged, I’m planning to vote for Stein.

  • Francoise

    How can Jill Stein be denyed the right of expressing the opinion for which she was endorsed by the people? I would be extremely desappointed at WBUR if it decides to be part of the sensorship group. How can it be Democracy?
    She ought to be heard!

  • http://democracydays.com Eli Beckerman

    I’ve said my piece in my comment on the Hub Bub article Equal Time for Jill Stein?.

    But to David Wean and anyone else interested in redirecting your WGBH/WBUR donations, take a look at DemocracyDays.com and think about building the clean money tidal wave we need to put Stein’s voice front-and-center in these debates that are critical for our future.

  • Michael Horan

    Wow. A “Democratic political analyst” and former advisor to Deval Patrick says it’s right to exclude … a challenge to Democrats? What a surprise.

    What’s fascinating is that here’s Dan Payne in January: “”Scott Brown caught the wave,” Massachusetts Democratic consultant Dan Payne said. “People are worried about jobs, angry about Wall Street bonuses, upset about the deals being made for health care legislation, afraid of nuts like the underwear bomber. Nothing seems to be going well except stock prices.”

    Huh. Pretty much what Jill Stein is saying, isn’t it, Dan? But now that kind of talk is simply “clutter?” What hypocrisy. But what else can we expect, when well paid “media consultants” are permitted to play the role of objective journalists.

    I wonder what role Dan played in WBUR’s vote as a consortium member.

  • Joe

    Ideology aside, it shouldn’t matter what a candidates “realistic viability” is, because such a thing is subject from person to person. What is absolute is the fact that she got more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, which in the eyes of the secretary of the Commonwealth qualifies her to be on the ballot. Voters deserve to know as much as possible about who will be on their ballots, so they can make the most informed choices possible. If we don’t even give people that benefit, what’s the point of running a democracy at all?

  • Joe

    By the way, she tied Tim Cahill in the latest Rasmussen poll: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2010/election_2010_governor_elections/massachusetts/election_2010_massachusetts_governor

    Who do you think “some other candidate” refers to?

  • donna

    If you are this upset why hasn’t anyone brought up Prof. Noam Chomsky (or mention any one of his books)- the man has been writing about Media and their inbuilt media filters for so long it isn’t funny. What are the messages we’ve been getting-insane levels of consumerism with its- buy this and do that without questioning mentality.

    Corporate america and politics have been so intertwined-who do you think gets all that lovely green stuff during the elections. Dr, Stein just doesn’t have a big enough bank balance to satisfy the “business’ of media. Sadly, our political system even limits challenges- with its requirements- bylaws-and so on. Its a miracle we even have a third party with Dr Steins’ Green-Rainbow group. I won’t even go into the ridiculousness of only 2 parties thinking they can represent the diversity of 250 plus million people.

    I’d recommend a video- parts of which you might be able to catch on Youtube called “Orwell Rolls in his Grave” or this video called “the Corporation”… to just see how well documented the abuses to democracy have become. The media “elites” ( just like at the radio station) take it upon themselves to make our choices for us- in the end we are only dumb sheep who need to be assisted to do what they tell us to. Equality/Justice/and the right to free speech in media has long been fading- self censorship and self-interest now rule the 4th pillar of Democracy.

    “Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices,” Voltaire wrote in 1767. Too few people now control the media outlets- Murdock and his ilk- with government if not assistance than with willful blindness to who they really work for-US- the people of the United States. The FCC, chaired by General Powells’ son, allowed with the Fairness in Broadcasting bill (I think it was called) to kill off competition all under the “holy” name of deregulation which has allowed such a dense concentration of owners like: Murdoch with his 1000 strong media Empire- Faux News.. oh i mean Fox news (now that word empire sends a shiver down my spine), as well as Fat Cat Weapons manufactures (like GE which owns either ABC or NBC- what brave soul over there will investigate corruption involving there own ‘boss’), even the oh so harmless Disney are media sharks0 whose production and distribut=tion networks are insanely powerful.

    These power houses that camouflage themselves under the guise of democracy. I teach a high school media class and regularly analyze media coverage. And i’ll tell you- it scares the pants off me. I’m not pulling for one side or another- i just want my kids(students) to have some power over their own lives and to make choices for themselves. I don’t want them to be blind to the fact that Democracy is getting hollowed out.

    If you are interested look up Fairness in Media- a great group online to read more about media, politics and corporations. Or if you want to search on your own start with googling “media studies” or “media ethics”. If we don’t inform ourselves- or demand to hear what our potential governor might have on her mind about the issues involving our life and our families- than who will?

  • John V. Walsh

    Dan Payne is in elections for the bucks. He is a political “consultant” for Dems which means it would be very bad for his pocketbook should elections be opened up to other parties. And Jill Stein is especially threatening to the power of Democrats who line Payne’s pockets. because she will take votes from Deval Patrick who is presiding over a failure of a health care system, which is a bipartisan affair, having been put together by Romney and similar to his buddy, Obama’s. Not to mention that Deval routinely sends the National Guard to their possible death in AfPak and Iraq, in wars opposed by a large majority in MA and a significant majority around the country.
    So voices like Jill Stein’s are absolutely essential – and it is essential for candidates like her to run even if she doesn’t win. Why? Because if the voters see she is right and see that her opponents are wrong as time passes, then she or a Green Rainbow successor can do better the next time. New parties are not built in a day or in one election. But if they are never permitted a first breath, then it is like smothering an infant in the cradle. That is exactly what Payne is doing as he realizes full well. And if he says it, his patron Deval and his buddies do not have to. Bad cop, good cop – and all that.

  • http://www.shirleykressel.com shirley kressel

    We are sending our military to fight and die in foreign countries so we can teach others how democracy works. So, this is how it works? The media decide which ballot-qualified candidates are worth a spot on the public platform, based on how much money they’ve received from corporations and lobbyists? And based on some biased pundit’s idea of who has a good chance of winning? We can’t hear the ideas of a clean candidate, who might reveal the facts the others are hiding and help us hold whoever is the “winner” more accountable for what he does to us?

    I will never donate to WBUR or WGBH again, and no one else who values open democratic debate should either. You are not public stations, and you should be treated like the rest. Give up your special media privileges, and go sell yourself to corporate sponsors, like the candidates you honor with your public forums.

  • Bill Berkowitz

    I agree with the sentiments raised by most posters preceding me. But I’d like to add that those members of the “media consortium” who presumably decide who does and doesn’t get a seat at the table are largely unknown to the general public. We may know the station or newspaper names, but the names of the actual decision-makers are more obscure. The consortium, or other journalists, should make those names easily available; for comments like those on this thread would be more effective if directed to the right people. At the moment, unfortunately, what we’ve got is mostly venting.

  • Diana

    I would ask the same question as a previous posting; i.e. Who are these people [media consortium]? Why do they have power??? I especially do not appreciate my news filtered to me.

    Is there a way that we, the public, can put our combined pressure on WBUR and the media consortium to require all state-approved candidates to be allowed to debate if a debate is to be allowed on our public airwaves?

    A WTTK (96.9) spokesperson told me that the FCC and federal court rulings allow them to determine “bonafide news events.” They (not their listeners or the public) have deemed Dr. Jill Stein not to be a “bonafide candidate.”

    What is the next step to put America back on the road to democracy?

    Shame on our news media.

    I’d also put a challenge out to the other three candidates. If they believe in democracy, they should refuse to debate unless Dr. Stein is included. Nobody is fooled by Charlie Baker’s comments that “it is out of my hands; I don’t make the rules.”

  • Meghan Cryan

    I think anyone who gets the signatures to be on the ballot should be in the debates.
    It is important to be able to make an informed decision when choosing an elected official, and a great way to do that is by watching and listening to the debates. The debates are useless unless they contain all the candidates.

  • Renata

    this is a travesty. who gave the media the right to filter out candidates? wbur ought to be embarrassed. my donation to wbur has already gone to stein’s campaign. she was endorsed by the people and she should be heard by the public in all the debates. jill stein will ask the questions, and speak about the issues that baker, patrick, and cahill will not. She is ON the ballot.

  • Amy

    Keeping third parties out of debates is key. They might get votes if they are allowed to participate in the campaigns!

    If they are allowed to participate, then pundits, parents and friends will shout “A spoiler steals votes!” And so most people who actually agree with Dr Stein’s policy recommendations won’t vote for her. How is that fair to any of us? How is that democratic?

    So what’s key for citizens? Here are three:
    1. A publicly funded campaign system. [Not likely.]
    2. A secure voting machine. [EASY! Let's DO this NOW!]
    3. A ballot that would eliminate the spoiler problem.

    I want to cast my ballot for who I really want, and then also the one I will settle for.

    I want to vote for Dr Stein. But.

    By the way, in 2001 they found that Gore probably DID win Florida. That is, if the politicians or citizens of Florida had forced a count every uncounted ballot. (Many ballots were separated from the counted ballots because there was some irregularity, but usually a bipartisan panel can easily agree as to the voter’s intent.) Don’t believe me? That’s reasonable, you don’t know me. The article to search for is
    “Florida Recounts Would Have Favored Bush But Study Finds Gore Might Have Won Statewide Tally of All Uncounted Ballots”
    By Dan Keating and Dan Balz
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Monday, November 12, 2001; Page A01

    Here’s the link if this is allowed:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A12623-2001Nov11.html

    Those who demonize Ralph Nader ignore his huge gifts, including clean air to breathe, good water in the pipes. They need someone to blame and can’t point at the whole Democratic party’s inability to stand up for itself. Their only rallying cry to those of us on the left side of right-center is “We are not them!”

    Maybe I will vote for Dr Stein.

  • Alexis

    I agree Jill Stein should be allowed to debate.

    However, all the comments here about third parties are a reminder that we will get polictics as usual until we reform the voting system. The advent of computerized vote counting systems allows for more complex ballots than in the past, and Public Citizen and other reform organizations have suggested we move to a prefernce voting system. In such a system, you cold list your 1st, 2nd, nth-1 choices in a N way election. When the #1 votes are counted, unless there is alredy a clear majority winner, the last place vote getter is eliminated, and the ballots are recounted except that anyone that voted for the ousted candidate as #1 now has their #2 preference counted. If there is still no majority, you eliminate the next lower vote getter, and so on (all tis is done in seconds by a simple computer program). The net result is that if everyone on this list that said “I’d vote for Jill but I don’t want Deval to lose to Charlie” chose Jill as #1 and Deval as #2, then they could stop worrying about “throwing away their vote”… and it could even lead to a huge upset :-)

    Please support preference voting!

  • David Holzman

    Although I agree with Miro, above, about the problems with the winner take all system, and the likelihood that Stein might indeed be a spoiler, I disagree that she should be kept out of the debate because of this. Among other things, she can talk intelligently about problems and solutions to the winner take all system. She has demonstrated time and again that she is far more thoughtful than most politicians, including her opponents in this race. She will greatly elevate the debate. And I say this even though I strongly disagree with her on the single issue I consider most important nationally (though not at the state level), immigration. (see http://tinyurl.com/imm-envt/, and select.nytimes.com/2006/04/09/opinion/09kristof.html/ )

  • Charles Rapport

    Welcome to fascism, boys and girls!

  • Steve Siegel

    The idea that money should be used in any way to determine who can debate is fundamentally anti-democratic. You might as well say the poor don’t have the same rights as everyone else. A criterion based on numbers of signatures collected or some other non-monetary threshold is at least plausible.

  • http://ancientlights.org Dr Jack Dempsey

    SHAME on WBUR and all of this “consortium.” Listen to Payne—”Stein won’t get air time so she’s not viable”–the man has his head up his own butt. This is nothing but more of THE MACHINE—business, politicians and power-freaks trying to shut out anybody who’s not already bought and paid for. What we CAN do is a PERMANENT BOYCOTT of ALL these media morons—They deserve no less and deserve worse for what they did to Nader (threatening him with ARREST in Boston!) and now again to Stein. This is the country teaching Afghanistan and Iraq how to have a democracy without corruption? GO JILL GO—GO JILL GO—and someday we will turn out all these self-serving creeps.

  • http://ancientlights.org Dr Jack Dempsey

    FYI, I made a lot of complaint calls to all members of this self-appointed consortium. (WHAT brought them together in the first place, a concern about “clutter” and “fairness” to voters?)The News Director did spend some time trying to explain the “criteria” but had not one outside-himself criterion for them—whereas Jill Stein is on the ballot, THE legal document that begins our next election of our lawful leaders from the street-petition upwards. As I understood this man’s attempts to explain, what it really comes down to (surprise) is MONEY. These media-companies don’t want to give any more air-time to a commercial-free program than they have to, and including Stein (this man implied) would “take too long.” “Unless you extended the program, since you do purport to be covering an election, not shaping it yourselves,” I answered. “Well…” he stammered. So there you are. If media were compelled to carry a limited period of political debate/messages, as in other countries already, candidates would not have to whore themselves to corporations and so corrupt the people’s business. Take it from an old man—I’ve been waiting all my life for Democrats to “listen.” They don’t and won’t without force. So, vote for Stein, and if the Dems lose because of that, maybe they’ll start to learn that whoring is not leading.

  • Let her debate

    She should be allowed to debate. This is a democracy with freedom of speech. The corporate run controlled media should not be allowed to silence a voice advocating for people’s rights.

  • Jennifer

    I will be taking money I would have contributed to WBUR and donating to Jill Stein’s campaign instead. I am very disappointed in the station management.

    Including Stein in the debate would be “unfair to voters”? Ridiculous! She has fulfilled the legal requirements to get on the ballot. She is no less a candidate than the other three are. She is not “clutter.”

  • Suzanne Jarnagin

    The media consortium perpetuates the difficulties of a candidate who refuses to take corporate money. It has marginalized Dr. Stein, who would easily have a considerably greater following and more funding, if people knew about her. Dr. Stein has outlined concrete ways to change a system that benefits the well-heeled and aims the rest of us at disaster. By excluding a candidate with no advertising budget because she refuses to take corporate monies, you are denying me and everyone else who wants a people before corporations government the opportunity to garner support. Or is that the idea?

  • Lynn Waldron

    Anyone who has listened to Dr. Stein cannot help but be impressed by her vision and competence. She has clearly elevated the debate. How could the consortium possibly exclude any candidate who is on the ballot?

  • http://www.tomneilsonmusic.com Tom Neilson

    The reality is that Jill Stein CAN win this election. She won the first debate, just like 8 years ago, when she was also denied access to further debates. It appears that WBUR, WBZ, et al, are scared of her message. What right does the corporate media have to decide who can be a candidate? Dr. Stein is the only candidate who supports labor, the environment, and what real preventive health care means. You punish her for being a clean elections candidate and for not being a tool of the corporate lobbyist.

  • Francisco

    I’m saddened, deeply saddened.

  • http://www.freeandequal.org Christina Tobin

    Please sign this “Open the Debates to All Ballot Qualified Candidates” petition! http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/open-debates-to-all-candidates-on-the-ballot/

    * Target: Debate Sponsor(s) and Candidates
    * Sponsored by: The Free and Equal Elections Foundation

    Often political debates set high thresholds for participation. When an independent or third party candidate manages to meet them, the thresholds are pushed higher. Democratic and Republican candidates often only agree to participate in debates that exclude other choices available to voters. Yet when a Democratic or Republican candidate unexpectedly fails to meet the threshold, it’s changed to accommodate them! The clear intent is to control the debate by excluding candidates, so that voters are left in the dark.

    Voters deserve to hear what every candidate on the ballot has to say. Informed decision making is fundamental to a healthy democracy. Candidates on the ballot should not be excluded based on the self-fulfilling prophecy that they are not “electable” — if they’re on the ballot, they are certainly electable if given a fair chance. Excluding candidates on the ballot from debates is contrary to the spirit of democracy and it must stop.

    The only threshold for participation should be successfully qualifying for the ballot under the various state election laws. Since the process has been clearly and shamelessly abused, no other threshold can be considered acceptable.

    We call on all candidates to accept debates with any and all of their ballot qualified opponents.

    We call on the media, debate sponsors, and all those involved in election debates to demand the inclusion of all ballot qualified candidates in debates, forums, political news coverage, and public speaking opportunities. All debates and media coverage of elections should include all choices available to voters.

    We call on citizens like YOU to demand accountability from politicians and the media by signing this petition!

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