Guthrie Will Still Get Cold Shoulder from Media

Bruce GuthrieUn-fucking-believable, that’s the only way to describe this.

The other day we applauded when Bruce Guthrie cleared the money hurdle in a spectacular fashion. but now it seems they are scrambling to throw another one at him for shits and giggles:

Combined with about $31,000 he has already raised, Guthrie’s campaign loan “” $1,181,700 “” is the exact amount that KING-TV and The Seattle Times, sponsors of the debate, require candidates to have.

Criteria for debate participation, provided to Guthrie on Aug. 30, say fundraising is an “indicator of seriousness of purpose and public support.” Candidates had to have raised at least 10 percent of the total raised by the 2004 Senate winner, Sen. Patty Murray.

Mike Cate, a producer at KING-TV, said station officials and others involved in the debate will have to determine whether a self-financed campaign indicates public support.

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.

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

  1. That is fucking bullshit. No fucking way.

    Chicken suits doesn’t even begin to describe the response they’d deserve…

  2. That’s absolutely insane! As a Republican I stand with you Libertarian Party guys 100% on this. If he’s excluded from the debate, you all need to go absolutely ape shit over this. Time for the Libertarian Party to get ghetto on their asses. Figures it’s PBS, huh?

    I think it’s time we libertarians start acknowleding that there’s a deeper reason the liberal media ignores us.

    If they start covering libertarians, it will make Republicans look like reasonable moderates. They lose their “Republicans are radicals who want to slash and burn state budgets and critical government programs” mantra.

    Libertarians put Republicans in the middle. And that’s the last thing the liberals want.

  3. I think simple economics play a role too. Republicans and Democrats spend piles of money every electoral cycle. TV stations don’t want to lose that, in fact can’t afford to lose that. I think that this is a big factor, perhaps the biggest factor, in how candidates get covered by TV news. It’s good business for the stations to ingratiate themselves to the two big party money machines by sealing other voices (however well-moeneyed they may be) out of the conversation. One threat from the RNC or the DNC about running future campaign ads elsewhere if they add the third candidate to the debate would certainly be enough to do the trick. More fundraising by the LP won’t change this. Better to make nice with the alternative media outlets.

  4. i would recommend to see if KING-TV televised any of Perots self financed debate appearances, and if so, spend some of that cash on legal action. That will in turn bring more coverage, as it turns it into a news story they cant not report on. If KING does not report on it, a few calls to competition will.

    They should also find any other former self financed candidate that used more than the amount of Guthries available money in any campaign and include them.

    I think it is time all of the minor parties banded together to bring a single national legal challenge to this, becuase the reality is that until we clear this logjam, none of us from Communist to Green to Prohibition to Libertarian are going to be elected except under circumstances that cant be predicted, like in TX-22.

    Oddly enough, the “free market” in letting the private media pick and choose who gets in debates is not working very well, is it? They always seem to pick the already entrenched and rich.

  5. I think it is time all of the minor parties banded together to bring a single national legal challenge to this….

    I agree 100%. This is a perfect issue for I call a third-party coalition strategy.

    In addition to legal action, it seems that concerned Libertarians should also be contacting KING’s advertisers. I don’t live anywhere near Seattle, but I see ads on their web site for Suzuki, (!),, and Capital One. Looks like their getting them from some ad aggregator, but maybe contacting the actual TV advertisers would be more effective.

  6. Besides the fact that the “free market” is hampered by insane FCC regulations and has to rent licenses from the government, there’s also the fact that “already entrenched and rich” are only “entrenched and rich” because they’re part of the government duopoly.

  7. If they start covering libertarians, it will make Republicans look like reasonable moderates.

    Of all the Dondaganda I’ve seen since I started posting here recently, I think this sentence takes the biscuit.

  8. Matt, that’s an absolutely brillant theory. You’re 100% correct. Never thought of it that way. You’re right, a big reason IS the Dems and Repubs spend all their advertising dollars with them.

    Please allow me the coutesy of taking your theory one step further?

    In this particular case we’re talking about publicly subsidized PBS.

    Who is it that controls PBS’s budget?

    Answer: Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

  9. Timothy,

    Allow me to strongly take you to task. You say that it’s “high time third party advocates ban together to protest this exclusion…”

    Tim, what about us Republicans who are outraged by this???!!!

    We want to see this guy and other Libertarians included in the debates too.

  10. Dondero, you are the only Republican outraged by this.

    As for mass street protests, that won’t be happening any time soon. Who would the masses be? Libertarians who? Oh, they won’t win anyway… they can’t get on TV.

    It’s pretty obvious that the powers-that-be are willing to engineer whatever they have to to keep the predetermined results happening. Anything that threatens that is a thret to their way of life and the system they have set up. Maintaining the pretext that the people are in control is all that matters to them.

    That’s the beauty of having control of The State. Time and again it’s demonstrated that when we jump through their flaming hoops, they just invent more. And that’s the way it’s going to be forever. They literally have unlimited money and resources. They are more than happy that we bog ourselves down in the political process rather than take other avenues, because it is their process – they own and control it.

  11. This is a big reason that the LP must always be a vicious opponent of fiat currency and fractional reserve banking.

    Because if we do ever get a breakthrough, then the party will be immediately coopted and assimilated by people with unlimited money. Opposition to unsound money should be made a permanent, irrevocable part of the platform or some other such governing document.

  12. I have news for Mr. Dondero: KING-TV is not, and has never been, a PBS station. Is it safe to assume that all your facts are this inaccurate? (P.S. It is not very difficult to find out what network KING-TV is, thus the fact that you could simply not be bothered seems to indicate that you are indeed a republican)

  13. Let’s go to the local home and garden store and see if we can think of creative ways to use a fresh bag of chicken organic matter.

    Seriously, they chose not to measure public support via e-mails, internet traffic or other methods. They chose to measure it in dollars. If the candidate thinks he has or can get enough public support to pay himself back, then he’s made the grade.

    What’s the downside? Don’t they know that he will boost their ratings?

  14. KING-TV looks at fundraising as an “indicator of seriousness of purpose and public support.” When they established that criteria, I imagine they had in mind funding which a candidate was going to use to reach voters. In other words, Candidate X raises or donates $900,000, and uses it to run television and radio ads, produce lawn signs and bumperstickers, etc.

    In this case it looks on the surface as though Guthrie is lending $1.2 mil to his campaign just to boost his fundraising numbers, without intending to actually use it for outreach. If that is the case, it violates the spirit of their criteria, if not the letter. I can understand why they would be taking a critical look at it.

    IMHO, Guthrie should spend at least a little bit of it to show his “seriousness of purpose.” He could probably blanket Washington airwaves with radio ads for a small fraction of the $1.2 mil, thus building his name recognition and establishing himself as a serious contender.

  15. I imagine they had in mind funding which a candidate was going to use to reach voters. In other words, Candidate X raises or donates $900,000, and uses it to run television and radio ads, produce lawn signs and bumperstickers, etc. (Emphasis added)

    Derrick, you raise a fair point that occurred to me too — but it seems awfully close to payola. If Guthrie spends a little money on yard signs, radio ads, or buying time on say KIRO or KOMO, does that show “seriousness of purpose”? I would hope so, if KING is being an honest broker — but it shouldn’t be too hard to detect if they’re just selling a place in the debate.

  16. EOC, I think your cynicism is misplaced in this case. I worked for many years with journalists, and the vast majority were fine people who are dedicated to getting the full story. In any reputable news organization there is an organizational “wall” between the advertising and newsroom sides. Where I worked, advertisers simply did not influence the news coverage – especially not politicians.

    To get mainstream media coverage, LP candidates need to reach 10% in pre-election polling. If a candidate can build that kind of momentum, the MSM *will* take note and start including him/her in campaign coverage and debates. Media coverage will beget more media coverage, and it will only snowball.

    2-3% support will not do it. That is smaller than the margin of error in the polls. We need to quit complaining, and get to work building the organizational back-end which will help our candidates achieve 4% support, then 5%, and so on until we can no longer be ignored.

    Let’s do it.

  17. 2-3% support is not smaller than the polling error.

    The error in polls does not work that way, a matter that usually does not need to be explained. The error bar shrink as the support shrinks, though not linearly. If you have 62.5% support on a 1000 person one definition of error is square root of your 625 supporters or 25 people, or 2.5 %.

    In the same poll, if you are at 2.5%, meaning 25 supporters, the error brackets on 2.5% are arounda half a per cent.

  18. I agree with Derrick. Loaning 1.2 million is not the same as spending it, or raising it — especially this late in the game. It only indicates potential seriousness.

    Perot had a base that extended well beyond his personal stash. His efforts on behalf of POWs had already won him a large following before his announcement.

    When the LP grows to the point of having at least one activist per precinct on average, then we become a somewhat serious factor. Note that I said activist, not member. And one per precinct is still rather low. But if you don’t have enough manpower to work all the neighborhoods and man the polling places, you are bush league.

  19. Derrick,

    Right on about the virtuous cycle.

    I hope my cynicism is misplaced here — I’m willing to grant that there may be legitimate reasons to keep out self-funded candidates, although the mention of Perot above is very on-target. But isn’t it incumbent on KING to target the regulations more clearly, then? You can’t just set the bar, then when someone looks like they might clear the bar, decide to raise it ad hoc

    Well, you can, as this news item shows, but then I get cynical….

  20. Just to add to what I was saying about building an organizational back-end which will lift our candidates higher and higher… it is quite possible, and is indeed actually already happening, abeit too slowly.

    I first got involved in the LP in 1987. Back then it was a relatively tiny organization made up of bearded weirdos who passed around photocopied zines and occasionally got 0.5% of the vote. I was active for about 3 years, and then dropped out due to disillusionment.

    A few years ago I checked up on the party to see how it was doing, and was blown away by how much more organized and professional it was. The difference between 1987 and now is astounding. No doubt this unmistakable progress is a result of hard work by people like the ones on this site.

    Good things will happen – we just need to keep working on the organizational foundations – building donor mailing lists, getting effective people into positions within LP state chapters, etc.

    Like I said… let’s do it.

  21. Derrick,

    I like the way you think. I’d love to share ideas. (If you desire to talk off-line, you can reach me here.)

    I want to believe that the goal is attainable, but news items like this make it look Sisyphean.

    If you had to come up with a prioritized top-five “TODO list” both organizationally and for places that an individual can get involved, what would you include?

    What role does communication (and in particular, new means of communication such as the Internet) play in your overall vision?

    Just some rambling topics I find interesting….

  22. Derrick writes: “To get mainstream media coverage, LP candidates need to reach 10% in pre-election polling.”

    In order to get to this level we have to do more than show up once every couple of years. We need to make politics an all year effort. Raise $100,000 and spend it on billboard advertising in the year before we nominate candidates.
    One issue such as the one Guthrie has brought to the table about bring all the troops home.
    Buy advertising on the local bus line. Hammer away at just a few issues so not to complicate the show and go for it.

  23. Speaking of billboards and year-long campaigns, there’s more activity over at the blog.

  24. Before I sit down and drink a bottle of cold beer allow me to expand on my comments above. Billboards are not as expensive as some would believe. You can spend $5,000 a month on a board. You can also spend much less, but you need to define your goal, such as you want to put up ten board for two months in July and August of ’08 and then make an effort raise 50 grand. To do that you need about 500 people willing to give ten bucks a month for a year. That shouldn’t be a hard job in some of the larger states. Focus on a issue that no one else will touch such as the 280,000 troops we have in 130 around the globe and have spent about $20 trillion on since the end of WW2.
    If you live in a state where one of the auto comapnies is shutting down a plant point out that we keep 45,000 troops in Japan, 38,000 in Korea and 80,000 in Ger. and these countries are the biggest competitors to American auto companies and we are laying off.
    etc, etc, etc.
    Beer time.

  25. First of all, it won’t be the Republicans complaining about Bruce’s appearance in the debates, it will be the Democrats. Bruce is the Republican candidate’s only hope; McGavick is way behind in the polls.

    Secondly, if Cantwell is defeated it will be the second time in a row for this Senate seat that the LP candidate’s vote will be larger than the margin of victory, which was also true in the last election for governor.

    This is the explicit LPWA strategy. We get a seat at the table when we can defeat either party at will.

    And if KING 5 (owned by Belo – The Dallas Morning News)doesn’t allow Bruce in the debate they will be seeing lawsuits, not just chicken suits.

  26. Instead of chicken suits, how about libertarians actually WIN an election for a change? We need to be very selective in the races we donate money to. We need to stop blaming the media and take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for what is OUR problem; namely, candidates that lack credibility and public confidence. (I’m not talking about any one candidate in specific. I’m talking about ALL of our candidates as a group.) Once we run candidates that are capable of WINNING, not just affecting the difference in a given election, chicken suits will be something of the past.

  27. Where have you been, Aaron?

    We are running what may be an unprecedented slate of high grade, in fact – superior grade candidates. That alone isn’t going to over come the media blackouts. Nobody knows that they are high grade candidates for one thing. We can play patty-cake with the Demoblicans and jump through a never ending series of flaming hoops that they have erected, inventing new ones when we complete the obstacle course, or we can do something about it. Meanwhile all you can do is rave about how great those flaming hoops are and how they are our problem! Maybe the Demoblicans can give us some more of those wonderful problems! You idiot.

    Your statement is not even germane to this discussion at all. Guthrie has demonstrated that he is a qualified and articulate candidate.

  28. 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.

    That would be awesome!

  29. Libertarians don’t make Republicans look moderate — it’s the other way around. Republicans want to spend 2.5 trillion dollars per year, grow the national debt to 10 trillion plus, invade other countries without provocation, outlaw popular and harmless activities, spy on American citizens without demonstrable cause, and torture prisoners to find out if they are guilty.

  30. Lex,

    … and torture prisoners to find out that they are guilty, regardless of whether they are or not. Then they act on this “intelligence” to support more invasion without provocation, &c.

    Had to get that correction in there.

  31. Lex (#36) has the right approach. Libertarians are the “New Center,” not the fringe. Let those supporting socialist health care, and those imposing their religious views on everyone, be properly known as the extremists.

  32. Due to the simple fact that in the last century our ancestors have allowed our freedoms to gradually be stripped away. Even worse they have allowed themselves to be influenced by the elite who wish to keep the populace ignorant.

    Unfortunately it does not help that our culture is further dumbed down by our sports, entertainment, christian and redneck sub-cultures.

    I am not against Christianity, I am however against it’s coercive spread. If I am interested I’ll come to you.

    Sorry boys and girls… the real cowboys back in the 1800’s didn’t aspire toward ignorance… so being a redneck is not a badge of honor. If it were in-breeding would be a bonus!

    Well the term should be enough but we all want to believe that what we see in a movie is true… personally I can’t wait to meet princess fiona! ;-)

    OMG Where the hell would I begin… Most are thugs that if they didn’t have that lucky break and make millions+ to play a school-yard game!

  33. Due to the simple fact that in the last century our ancestors have allowed our freedoms to gradually be stripped away.

    In many ways we are actually more free now then before; in other ways less.