CNN sets debate criteria 1% above Kucinich's latest poll results, campaign files complaint with Federal Communications Commission
For Immediate Release - Saturday, January 19, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC - The Kucinich for President campaign filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission yesterday against CNN and its parent company, Time Warner, Inc., for arbitrarily establishing criteria for its scheduled Monday Presidential debate that will exclude the Democratic candidate from participation.
On Wednesday, the campaign was notified by CNN that its criteria included a showing of 5% or better in a national poll. In two polls completed earlier last week by CBS News/New York Times and by the Pew Research Center, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich scored 4%.
"The CNN criteria specifically exclude the diverse and anti-war voice of Mr. Kucinich and his grass-roots supporters," according to the complaint. "The exclusion of Mr. Kucinich undermines the purpose of the (Federal Communications) Act and is a blatant violation of the Act, including its equal time provisions." Also, "Mr. Kucinich is a successful candidate because of his anti-war message and strong criticism of the American healthcare system, issues that are not championed by his presidential primary opponents. In these and other policy issues, his opponents share very similar policy platforms that differ from Mr. Kucinich."
The filing also points out that Kucinich was invited to participate in the upcoming South Carolina debate by the Congressional Black Caucus, which is co-sponsoring the event. The invitation, which he accepted on May 20, stated, in part that Kucinich "will be guaranteed a rare opportunity to present your message to millions of voters unfiltered by any political organization or by any news organization."
The complaint also argues that the Monday event "is not a true presidential primary debate without including all credible candidates. Instead, it is effectively an endorsement of the candidates selected by CNN" and is a breach of the federal requirement "to operate in the public interest and to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of issues of public importance."
The campaign is asking the FCC to order CNN to allow Kucinich to participate.
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