A News Tip to the Seattle Media

Stephen VanDyke had the right general idea when he posted the following about the Bruce Guthrie campaign in Washington:

I’m getting damned sick of these damned collusive rules that are aimed to keep Libertarians and other third parties off the public’s radar screen.

Mr. Guthrie, if KING-TV keeps you out of the debate, I strongly suggest you buy hundreds of chicken suits and pass them out to some paid supporters for them to just dance around in front of media stations and your opponents’s offices until election day.

If we can’t get fair media coverage running fair and issues-based campaigns, then maybe it’s really time to start acting like revolutionaries and take to the streets in mass protest of this nonsense.

He missed one key point. According to the article he quoted, KING-TV and The Seattle Times are the co-sponsors of the debate. It’s no wonder the Times did a slash-and-trash job on the Libertarian candidate; they are co-conspirators in the project.

As some commenters on VanDyke’s posting have suggested, a lawsuit is within the realm of possibility. They are trying a similar one in Texas right now. From The Brownsville Herald:

The Libertarian candidate for Texas governor plans to sue Belo Corp. for excluding him from its televised debate scheduled for Friday, he said on Tuesday.

James Werner said the exclusion amounts to an illegal campaign contribution under the Texas Election Code since Belo is donating free airtime to four of the five candidates on the ballot.

“If Belo goes ahead with this, it is essentially making a huge campaign contribution to my opponents,” he said.

Werner must wait until after the debate happens to file a lawsuit accusing Belo of breaking the law, he said.

Werner and Libertarian Party attorneys sent a letter on Friday to Belo threatening to sue for $4.6 million in damages. On Tuesday, he said the actual lawsuit may ask for more, depending on how much airtime each candidate gets during the debate.

I don’t know Texas election code, but if it is structured similar to federal code, this case could be interesting indeed.

In the meantime, Libertarians aren’t afraid of chicken suits, either. If I ran a competitive media outlet in Washington state (hint hint), I’d be dressing the Times and KING-TV in chicken suits in my headlines tomorrow.

posted by Stephen Gordon
  • Cezar

    Dropping down to the Republicrats level and suing for breaking a law most Libertarians wouldn’t agree with (Limiting contributions) is not something I would support. The worst thing that a Libertarian can do is to only apply the philosophy when it benefits them. It makes the one doing it no better than any other statist.

  • Stephen Gordon

    Cezar,

    I understand your point. One counterpoint might be: If we are to have to play by the rules, shouldn’t our opposition have to play by the same rules?

  • http://libertyforamerica.net/blog/24 Equal Opportunity Cynic

    I haven’t seen it mentioned yet, but perhaps I just missed it: According to Wikipedia, Belo also owns KING. Could explain a bit….

  • Stephen Gordon

    EOC:

    Interesting…

  • http://www.pnar.org Tom Blanton

    Cezar writes:

    “Dropping down to the Republicrats level and suing for breaking a law most Libertarians wouldn’t agree with (Limiting contributions) is not something I would support.”

    And Mr. Gordon has it right:

    “If we are to have to play by the rules, shouldn’t our opposition have to play by the same rules?”

    Another issue is whether corporations should be able to contribute a dime to any political cause. Freedom of speech is a natural right, allegedly protected by the 1st Amendment. Corporations have no natural rights – they are fictitious entities created by statute. They can’t vote, can’t “speak”, can’t go to prison, and can’t think – they are a piece of paper.

    It is my understanding that during an earlier time in this country, corporations did not contribute to politicians as it was considered bribery. The unholy alliance between corporations and government has resulted in a fascist economic system in America.

    Sue the corporate bastards and boycott them too!

  • http://libertyforamerica.net/blog/24 Equal Opportunity Cynic

    To give credit where due, I noticed that Greg Clark made the same point in a post I had missed.

    Maybe they file a class-action suit along with other Libertarians around the country, getting systematically snubbed.

  • http://freelancify.com Nigel Watt

    Hm. Belo owning KING makes it far more suspicious. I say sue their pants off. They wrote the rules.

  • Timothy West

    of course, it has been vast media deregulation and the abandonment of the airwaves viewed as a public resource instead of something to be owned that has created this problem. Reagan turned the FCC into a wholly owned subsidary and whore of the NAB and like minded asshats, who lobbyed against true citizen radio and TV broadcasting and continue to fight it.

    I believe the dereg of the media had the exact opposite effect that was intended. The media today is worse by far than it was when the Fairness Doctrine was enforced.

    Broadcasters use a common public resource ( radio & TV spectrum space ) to make billions from each year – they should be required to make usage payments directly to the people they serve for that privledge. Corporate usage of common resources without payment to the true owners of those resources, all of us, is disgusting to me.

    I say bypass government and pay the people directly for the
    usage of natural resources. Spectrum space is one of those things.

  • Greg Clark

    Yes, they did write the rules. KING 5 said if we raised $1.2 Million then Bruce could be in the debate. Now they are saying that they aren’t sure anymore.

    The LPWA has a legal fund set up for just this kind of problem. We have already defeated the state government on election law in federal court and had our attorney’s fees paid so we are fully prepared to go the distance on this.

    I’m betting Belo corporate won’t play chicken with us. If they do, they will crash.

  • Stephen Gordon

    Perhaps something else worth looking into is who owns Belo.

  • http://wesbenedictforlnc.blogspot.com/ Wes Benedict

    I don’t have much time to debate this debate. However, in theory, I think Belo should have the right to broadcast whatever they want. However, the laws against it were created by the Republicans and Democrats so I don’t have a problem with imposing their bad laws upon all involved.

    I caused lots of legal trouble for my non-LP opponents in the Austin area related to campaign finance laws in the past. I usually stated that I thought the laws were wrong, but that they were their laws so let them suffer the consequences. The City of Austin changed some of theirs as a result.

    The Austin police still hold a grudge:
    http://austinpolice.com (scroll down past the prom photos and the dance advertisement for whining about Libertarians)

    Werner’s attorney uses the following signature note on his e-mails:

    “The more laws we make, the more snares we lay to entrap ourselves.”
    -Sir Francis Bacon

    I smell bacon!

  • Timothy West

    BELO seems to be owned by nobody but it’s shareholders. These guys have the biggest shareholder stake in BELO.

    http://www.private-cap.com/about/about.asp

  • Timothy West

    PCM owns 19 percent of the San Jose, Calif.-based publisher, whose newspapers include The Miami Herald, the San Jose Mercury News and The Philadelphia Inquirer. PCM also is the largest outside shareholder for Belo, The New York Times Co. and McClatchy, Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Ginnochio said Wednesday in a research report.

  • http://freelancify.com Nigel Watt

    Jesus shit, who are these PCM folks not connected to?

  • Timothy West

    NIgel,

    the media is a big CF these days. A very good case can be made that due to centralization of ownership and money allowed by the dereg of the industry, we are worse off instead of better. BELO is just the tip of the iceberg – the industry is so rotten with payola and graft you cant count it all.

  • http://freelancify.com Nigel Watt

    “Deregulation” only caused a problem because it wasn’t really “deregulation” – it was more like a favor to the big companies. Real deregulation would increase competition.

  • IanC

    SG / SVD, et al — an idea just occurred to me.

    We’re all complaining that Mr. Guthrie is being excluded from the debates…. However, I wonder if the airtime for the commercial breaks corrollary to the debates are up for grabs still, any of it.

    I’m just left with the impression of, “Hello, my fellow Americans. This individual commercial cost me personally blah thousand dollars to air; I care that much. If you are tired of the either-or presented in the debates which I was excluded from, please consider me for the Senate this year. I put my home up as collateral to reach you. Isn’t it time that you were represented by somebody with more on the line than their pride and ego? A vote for me is a vote for change. For freedom. For yourself.”

    … something like that. :)

  • disinter

    IanC – I like that idea very much.

  • Stuart Richards

    Yeah, that’d rock.

  • disinter

    Perhaps something else worth looking into is who owns Belo.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/mh?s=BLC

  • IanC

    Now to get through to Mr. Guthrie’s campaign manager w/ said idea. lol…

  • disinter

    IanC,

    They are very accessible. In fact, I received a call from Mr. Guthrie just about an hour ago. Here is their contact info:

    http://www.bruceguthrie.com/contact/

  • http://www.frankworley.com Frank Worley

    The good news is that Blogs and Internet sites like HoT are undermining the credibility of major media. The more we continue to hammer away at alternative points of view not represented in major media, then the more people will eventually lose faith in major media and begin looking for alternative candidates.

    Althought the chicken suit is a real good idea. In your face marketing is often the only way to go.

  • IanC

    Mike — fired away. Be interesting to see what happens. *s*

  • Michael H. Wilson

    I hope to see Guthrie on Sat. and see what I can do to help.
    But in the meantime Mr. Blanton have you written more on the point you bring up about corporations that being and I quote, “Another issue is whether corporations should be able to contribute a dime to any political cause. Freedom of speech is a natural right, allegedly protected by the 1st Amendment. Corporations have no natural rights – they are fictitious entities created by statute. They can’t vote, can’t “speak”, can’t go to prison, and can’t think – they are a piece of paper.” (A questoion mark needs to be in there somewheres). ;)>
    This is something that needs to be discussed more by Libertarians and I tend to lean a bit in this direction, although not all the way.
    Thanks and lets give them hell whoile we can.
    M.H.W.

  • http://www.lpalabama.org/blog/14 paulie cannoli

    Althought the chicken suit is a real good idea.

    Yep!

    But in the meantime Mr. Blanton have you written more on the point you bring up about corporations that being and I quote, “Another issue is whether corporations should be able to contribute a dime to any political cause. Freedom of speech is a natural right, allegedly protected by the 1st Amendment. Corporations have no natural rights – they are fictitious entities created by statute. They can’t vote, can’t “speak”, can’t go to prison, and can’t think – they are a piece of paper.” (A questoion mark needs to be in there somewheres). ;)>
    This is something that needs to be discussed more by Libertarians

    Excellent point and 100% correct and yes, it does.

    We should not allow people to confuse our position for the corporate regiimist one.