Commentary & Analysis

C-SPAN Retracts Promise to Air Colorado Governor Debate

Crossposted with permission from Free & Equal

C-SPAN was originally slated to re-broadcast the 2014 Open Colorado Gubernatorial Debate hosted by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation and the Greater Glendale Chamber of Commerce on October 8th, soon after the event. Free and Equal received confirmation from C-SPAN politics producer Shannon Rice.

Per C-SPAN’s request, Free and Equal overnighted an external hard drive to their offices — C-SPAN paid for the postage. A week later after leaving several messages, Free and Equal had not heard back from Ms. Rice. Free and Equal founder Christina Tobin contacted C-SPAN’s Steve Scully, senior executive producer, who said that he would look into the issue, and would put the video up on C-SPAN’s website. He followed up to say that C-SPAN would not air the debate, contrary to the original agreement. He first said it was because the major candidates did not attend. Then he said it was because they didn’t have room in their program schedule. Then he changed it to C-SPAN does not air material filmed by outside organizations, except for news organizations, despite the fact that the debate was was produced by news organizations Free Speech TV and the Open Media Foundation, in part for C-SPAN’s sake.

C-SPAN aired other Colorado Gubernatorial Debates featuring only the establishment political candidates, which were hosted by outside news organizations such as NBC 9 Denver on October 9th and a Senate debate by The Denver Post on October 7th, also featuring only the establishment candidates.

This is a direct contradiction of C-SPAN’s mission statement “To provide elected and appointed officials and others who would influence public policy a direct conduit to the audience without filtering or otherwise distorting their points of view.” Honest media is designed to remove political bias, providing viewers with a free and equal platform of choice. By preventing voters from hearing all ballot-qualified candidates, the media tilts the outcome of elections towards the establishment candidates and political parties. C-SPAN is taxpayer funded, a further mandate for impartiality and giving all candidates an equal voice. Americans turn to C-SPAN to hear from the voices who are ignored by corporate media.

This decision neglects the many people who dedicated time to this effort, such as popular former Congressman Dennis Kucinich who spoke prior to the debate via video, as well as Dr. Jill Stein (2012 Green Party presidential candidate), moderator Professor Griff of Public Enemy, hip-hop group The Soul Pros who performed after the debate, the organizers of this event, and the reputation of Free and Equal Elections.

Free and Equal encourages their supporters to contact C-SPAN and politely ask that they air the entire Free and Equal event before November 4th, so that voters can be truly informed about all their choices on their ballots:

  • Phone: Office – (202) 737-3220 (Mon-Fri 8:30am-5:30pm ET), Shannon Rice – (202) 626-4841, Steve Scully – (202) 626-7956
  • Email: desk@c-span.org, srice@c-span.org, sscully@c-span.org, online@c-span.org
  • Tweet @CSPAN

Free and Equal is here to bring about positivity and unity to help America move forward. Americans want open debates, and Free and Equal commends Free Speech TV and the Open Media Foundation for broadcasting this open debate along with the Free and Equal Network. It would be in C-SPAN’s best interests to remedy the situation and move forward in a positive direction.

“I just wanted to add my appreciation for C-SPAN’s unique coverage of third party debates in the past, and my hopes that C-SPAN can continue this vital public service now and in the future.” – Dr. Jill Stein, 2012 Green Party Presidential Nominee