In one published report, the chairman of the Iowa Libertarian Party went so far as to suggest that corporate owners of stations like KCCI are developing criteria for us to use to inform our decision. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Here at KCCI, for as long as we’ve done debates, the decision has always been local. And we’ve always relied on various, readily available, objective criteria to help with our determination. No doubt these decisions are challenging. But by any objective data available, whether registered voters, votes garnered in the primary or fundraising, the newsworthy debate — the debate we think best helps the electorate make a decision this fall — is between Fred Hubbell and Kim Reynolds.Let’s bust the logical fallacies KCCI is pushing: KCCI alleges that Howe suggested that Hearst developed criteria for the station to make their decision. Well, Howe isn’t exactly wrong here. I’ll explain in more detail for the next response, since KCCI claims their decisions are always local. KCCI alleges that their debate decisions have always been local. That is absolutely false. Let’s just use the neighboring states of Illinois and Missouri and the media for both states for an example. The common majority owners of media in both states are Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Broadcasting. Other majority media owners in Missouri also include Meredith Corporation and TEGNA Inc. Other majority media owners in Illinois include Quincy Media Group and CBS Corporation, NBCUniversal and Disney for their respective Chicago market stations. One group who owns stations in Illinois has a common thread with Texas. Nexstar Media Group, which owns four stations in Illinois, is the same group that excluded Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Mark Tippetts from a debate one of their stations held. For KCCI to claim that they or no other media group sets ridiculous criteria for debate inclusion, they are seriously mistaken. They focus more on arbitrary, meaningless things like polls and I guess these stations didn’t learn their lesson when polls showed that Hillary Rodham Clinton was going to win the presidency in 2016, but Donald Trump scored a victory via the electoral college, because the popular vote doesn’t matter. Why do you keep relying on this garbage when none of these polls are scientific, nor are they valid? But we can’t just blame the media. Groups that organize these debates set ridiculous thresholds that are often impossible to reach. While the NBC Chicago/Telemundo debate didn’t require much in criteria for the first gubernatorial debate/forum in which Libertarian candidate Kash Jackson and Conservative candidate Sen. Sam McCann were invited to appear this past Thursday, the ABC Chicago/Telemundo debate sponsored by the Illinois League of Women Voters have set a suppression on voter choice, requiring candidates to poll at 10% or higher. For one, there are no polls taking place, with the exception of a grossly biased poll from Public Policy Polling, which asked their poll questions excluding Jackson and McCann. So, essentially sabotage from a Democrat-biased polling group. KCCI alleges they have always relied on various, readily available, objective criteria to help with their determinations. From what exactly? Are you basing this off of the questionable reliability of polls, false news stories from your TV, radio and newspaper? Do you already have some sort of political bias, whether it’s toward Reynolds or Hubbell, one of which is telling to media to blacklist Porter from all three debates and the other who wants to debate Porter, but has yet to back that promise? Holy shit — aren’t the shining example of hypocrisy? KCCI alleges with the above that through the “objective data available, whether registered voters, votes garnered in the primary or fundraising, the newsworthy debate — the debate we think best helps the electorate make a decision this fall — is between Fred Hubbell and Kim Reynolds.” Ummm…..no, it’s not. You base that assumption off of a plethora of logical fallacies. You automatically assume because of fundraising that it’s a two-person race. It’s not. No, Reynolds and Hubbell did not earn their places on the debate stage. They bought those positions for how many million? We see nothing public as to the campaign financials on Ballotpedia. At least those of us in Illinois know how much JB Pritzker and Bruce Rauner spent to buy their places on the debate stage last week — a disgusting combined sum of over $200 million. For the electorate — in any state — to be fully informed, all candidates who earned their way to the general election — Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, Constitution, Reform or whatever additional parties — should be allowed to participate in debates without any ridiculous restraints such as what KCCI has done to Porter, WICS did to U.S. Senate candidates Kenton McMillen (Libertarian) and Scott Summers (Green) in 2016 and what debate organizers have done all over the country to alternative candidates for years. Being Libertarian content producer Nicholas Veser presented an excellent commentary Friday night as to what happens when Libertarians are allowed on the debate stage: Maybe the Iowa media can take some pointers from the Phoenix mayoral debate or the Illinois gubernatorial debate and offer a voice to ALL ballot-qualified candidates.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.