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TV Station Sets $$$ Threshold to Block NY Clinton vs Tasini Primary Debate

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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 01:20 PM
Original message
TV Station Sets $$$ Threshold to Block NY Clinton vs Tasini Primary Debate
For those of you who don't follow New York's political system closely, Ex-Union leader and writer Jonathan Tasini officially qualified to be listed on the New York primary ballot as a Democratic Challenger to Hillary Clinton in this September's Primary for her current Senate Seat. But now a local television affiliate of Times Warner, NY1, which is broadcasting debates for every other statewide Democratic primary contest, as well as the debate for the Republican Senate primary, is refusing to broadcast any debates involving Hillary Clinton and Jonathan Tasini. The reason? NY1 decided Tasini hasn't raised enough campaign contributions to warrant broadcasting him on "their" airwaves. Jonathan Tasini's right to debate the issues with Hillary Clinton is being held ransom for a half million dollars. That is the money NY1 says Tasini has to raise before they will let him participate in a public debate

People should know that Jonathan Tasini is the only Democrat other than Senator Clinton to directly qualify for the primary ballot. That part comes as no surprise, because New York has one of the toughest set of requirements in the nation for a candidate to formally be listed on a political party's primary ballot via petitions gathered, rather than designation by a party convention. While the New York State Democratic Party, as expected, nominated Hillary Clinton to run for another term as U.S. Senator, most conventional political observers were shocked when Jonathan Tasini turned in over 40,000 formal signatures from registered Democrats throughout New York State asking that he be placed on the Democratic Primary ballot also. That vastly exceeds the already difficult 15,000 signature minimum needed to qualify (almost twice as many signatures as Joe Lieberman needs to gather in CT to run on his own new Party there), and Tasini also met the additional threshold requirement for turning in sufficient signatures in at least half of NY's Congressional Districts. In other words, this isn't a case where NY1 TV has to worry if they allow Jonathan Tasini to debate Hillary Clinton, then ten more political wannabes will say I deserve to be included also. Only Hillary Clinton and Jonathan Tasini met New York States stringent requirements to run in the Democratic Primary.

The most recent polls taken in New York State currently have Jonathan Tasini, who face it is relatively unknown compared to Senator Clinton, pulling 13% of the vote in a primary race against Hillary Clinton. Not too shabby under the circumstances, and exactly the same percentage Ned Lamont initially polled early in his race against Joe Lieberman. So clearly the views Jonathan Tasini represents are resonating with a significant number of New York Democrats, many of whom are not yet even aware of Tasini's campaign.

The issue being raised here transcends whether or not one thinks Hillary Clinton is a great Senator and should be returned to office. It even transcends whether on not one thinks Jonathan Tasini has a realistic chance of defeating her in a Primary. It is about the value of debating issues in a Democracy prior to elections. It involves Free Speech, and who determines where and when it is allowed to happen. Most Democratic Underground members have heard of Elliot Spitzer who is running for Governor this year in New York as a Democrat. Far fewer have heard of his Democratic opponent in the September primary, Tom Suozzi, who almost no one thinks has a ghost of a chance of defeating Spitzer. But Suozzi has rich backers who have donated well over the TV1 half million dollar debate inclusion threshold to his campaign, so TV1 plans to broadcast a Spitzer/Suozzi debate.

The Tasini Campaign is demanding a clean and simple standard for deciding who should and should not be invited to a debate broadcast over NY's public airwaves. Did that person qualify for the official primary ballot? If yes include them, if not exclude them. If it's good enough for New York State, shouldn't that be good enough for New York One? Why do they now play the gatekeeper function over public debate in our Democracy, rather than the rules openly established through New York State's democratically elected institutions?

You may not care a lot about what happens with one New York State Debate, you may hope that Hillary Clinton runs away with the Primary Election, but is this the type power you think privately owned media should have in our Democracy? If you think NY1 is wrong, let them know how you feel. Here is what the Tasini campaign is urging you to do:

"We are asking you to immediately call Robert Hardt, NY1's Director of
Politics, who was one of a few media power-brokers who made this decision that is
closing off discussion and censoring debate. We are calling for a simple criteria for
participation: any candidate who has qualified for the ballot should be
allowed into the debate. Call or e-mail him TODAY: 212-379-3330 or
Robert.Hardt@ny1news.com and demand that NY1 revise its criteria."

For more information on and coverage of this controversy, go to Tasini's web site:
www.tasinifornewyork.org
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 01:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. k&r
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ceile Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 01:23 PM
Response to Original message
2. K&R!
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 01:26 PM
Response to Original message
3. K&R
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cal04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 01:27 PM
Response to Original message
4. just sent this to Tasini staff
Edited on Thu Aug-03-06 01:32 PM by cal04
this is the response I got
Thanks! We should have known.



Time Warner
Top Recipients Among Federal Candidates, 1990-2006

John Kerry (D-MA) $399,184

Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) $174,480

George W. Bush (R) 172,300

K&R
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 01:41 PM
Response to Original message
5. This reminds me of an earlier stage in our Democracy
When only land holders were eligible to vote, and when poor people were denied the vote because they couldn't afford the poll tax that existed for the one and only reason of making sure that poor, often minority voters wouldn't vote. At least those anti-democratic decisions were made by governments, and they could be challanged in the courts, or failing that the government itself could be challanged by those who still could vote.

Who can challange the mainstream media in today's society? Who can hold Robert Hardt and others like him accountable? When they say show us the money or hit the streets, are we ready to really "hit the streets"?
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Zodiak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 02:15 PM
Response to Original message
6. Let 'em debate
for christsakes!!!

I'm sorry, ut I am a political junkee....debates are like superbowls to me. I competed in High School, so I always see debating as a skill as well as a marketplace of ideas. It is healthy.

So the guy is polling 13%. Big deal.

I would imagine that Clinton's debating skills are quite good. If anything, a good showing at the debate will ensure her victory and solidify doubt amongst 13% of her Democratic voters. If her ideas suck compared to Tassini's, then it will be evident and Democracy will be served.

I also agree that this is the corporations basically saying that you have to have $$$ that only corporate-funded candidates have to play in their playground. It is an excellent case for corporations asserting that they should have MORE access in our beloved American government than citizens.
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saracat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 02:57 PM
Response to Original message
7. Interesting . It is almost the same amount the DCCC demands you raise in
Edited on Thu Aug-03-06 02:57 PM by saracat
order to support you. It is called "buying a place at the table" and they use funding to determine "viability" . It appears that the TV station is using the same standards as political parties. I don't like this at all. I don't like it when the parties do it and I sure as hell don't like it when a news media does it. This is information. The public has a right to know. Unfortunately, the Tasini Campaiegn is right. but they should have been able to raise the money before entering the fray. Unfortunately that is demanded of the candidates and a little research would have informed them. I will sign this but Tasini needs better management and info.He also needs money. It is impossible to go against the largest war chest in politics without any money. Unfair but true.
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 03:33 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. What I want out of the Tasini Clinton race
is an open and honest debate about the differences they have about the future of America and the Democratic Party. I consider it a win just to get that. That's why this move by NY1 pisses me off so much. I fully plan to support whichever of them wins the Primary come November, and I sure as hell know who the favorite it. But Tasini has some interesting progressive views on a number of issues that establish real differences between him and Clinton, and on some of those differences I am closer to Tasini and I don't think I am alone among NY State Democrats in saying that. Hell, I honestly think Hillary will benefit from being challenged on some of those issues, our leaders need to hear from those who elect them, and an election campaign is one of the ways that happens.

Tasin blogs at Kos with some regularity. He entered three diaries just this week. He touches on some of the questions in them that I would like to see debated:

http://tasini.dailykos.com /

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saracat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. I agree with you. I am a former New Yorker and I
have been following this. These issues need to be debated, and the voters have a right to know.
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saracat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:18 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. I emailed them and demanded they reconsider.
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Tom Rinaldo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Thank you. I just got off the phone leaving a message
Edited on Thu Aug-03-06 06:22 PM by Tom Rinaldo
on Robert Hardt's message machine demanding the same. I kept it civil but I had quite a few points to make, hope he has a long tape, lol.

P.S., I even told him I got his station on my cable and Times Warner is giving Clinton cash so for him to deny Tasini entry due to lack of cash was pretty unethical.
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mom cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:27 PM
Response to Original message
12. ACLU!
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