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Collins to protest exclusion from Fox Providence debate

October 9, 2012

Abel Collins, the independent candidate in CD2, plans to deliver a petition with more than 1100 signatures protesting his exclusion this evening from a televised debate on Fox Providence. (UPDATE: I should have noted in my initial post that the debate was set to be taped this morning,)

A news release distributed by Collins’ wife says some of the candidate’s supporters will peacefully protest this evening near the East Providence-based WPRI/WNAC-TV if the station didn’t change its mind. Democatic congressman Jim Langevin and Republican opponent Michael Riley are set to square off in a debate broadcast at 7 pm.

Collins’ supporters point to how a recent Channel 12 poll showed him with 9 percent of the support in CD2 — an amount that could cross the 10 percent threshhold considering the margin of error.

I’ve inquired via email with the station’s news director, Joe Abouzeid, about the decision not to include Collins in the debate with Langevin and Riley. I’ll post his response if and when I hear back.

According to Collins’ campaign, WPRI/WNAC GM Jay Howell has called the choice an “editorial decision.”

Collins’ campaign says excluding him from the debate amounts to censorship.

(Disclosure: I’m a regular panelist on WPRI/WNAC-TV’s Newsmakers.)

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Mister Guy permalink
    October 10, 2012 12:26 am

    “Collins’ campaign says excluding him from the debate amounts to censorship.”

    Only the govt. can truly censor something. WPRI/WNAC-TV has every right to exclude any candidate that they want from a debate that they host privately.

    • gale permalink
      October 10, 2012 7:43 am

      “Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body.”

      Certainly sounds like he was censored to me.

      • Mister Guy permalink
        October 10, 2012 7:06 pm

        LOL…thank you Wikipedia…ugh…

  2. Craig O'Connor permalink
    October 10, 2012 11:40 am

    Let Abel debate! And speaking of excluded candidates, Jill Stein, the Presidential candidate for the Green Party, will be in RI on Thursday. I believe she will be at Local 121 from 4-7pm. In a safe state like RI, where Obama is guaranteed to win, we should all consider voting for people outside the two party system.

  3. October 10, 2012 12:17 pm

    Censorship can exist on many levels. I find this instance particularly egregious, because the network TV stations have access to a large portion of the publicly owned airwaves. In return, they are expected to provide a public information service, regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. Until the 1970s, the equal time laws that guaranteed equal access to all candidates applied to debates. A series of rules changes (which conflict with the FCC’s enabling legislation in my opinion) have eroded the networks’ responsibility to include alternative candidates.

    At a time when the approval rating of Democrats and Republicans in Congress has been below 20% for more than a year and when the majority of Americans believe we’re headed in the wrong direction, there is a desperate need for new ideas in Washington. Such ideas are not likely to come from within the limited confines of the the party agendas. Thus the status quo is perpetuated.

    However, I never did expect it easy to challenge politics as usual, and I am committed to work that much harder to win on November 6th. I invite everyone to join me.

    Follow along on Facebook and Twitter:
    http://www.facebook.com/ElectAbel
    @ElectAbel

    • Mister Guy permalink
      October 10, 2012 7:09 pm

      “Until the 1970s, the equal time laws that guaranteed equal access to all candidates applied to debates. A series of rules changes (which conflict with the FCC’s enabling legislation in my opinion) have eroded the networks’ responsibility to include alternative candidates.”

      So sue…you should have an answer from the courts sometime after the election is over & you’ve lost. Until then, your whining will get you nowhere fast.

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