FEC Investigating Fox News For Snubbing Openly Gay Presidential Candidate Who Requested Entry to the Network’s Ames Debate
The Federal Election Commission has agreed to investigate a complaint, filed by Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger, that Fox News barred a fully-qualified candidate from taking part in last month’s presidential debate in Ames, Iowa.
Karger claims he met all of Fox’s requirements to participate in the debate, which included reaching an average of 1 percent in five national polls based on most recent polling leading up to the registration day. Karger met the mark: achieving 1 percent support in four polls leading up to the debate (including a Fox News poll from April) and 2 percent support in a Harris Interactive poll from early August, in which he tied with former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is no longer in the race.
So why wasn’t he allowed to enter the debate? According to Fox News’ Vice President of News, Michael Clemente, the polls that Karger cited were all “either online, interactive or out of date and do not qualify for the purpose of meeting the debate criteria”. This prompted Mr. Karger to go straight to the top, penning a letter directly to News Corp. head honcho Rupert Murdoch and Channel President Roger Ailes. The letter included a copy of his 158-page complaint, and the potential ramifications for Fox News if the FEC rules in his favor.
From his letter:
Since I was not allowed to participate, the debate no longer appears exempt from federal campaign contribution laws. That could mean that Fox News Channel has made illegal in-kind corporate contributions to the eight debate participants of upwards of $100 million.
Two hours of free primetime television to an audience of 5.1 million viewers, weeks of media coverage before and after the debate, facilities rental, the construction of the debate stage, salaries, travel, insurance, equipment, the filing room, the spin room and so much more would all amount to in-kind contributions to the eight presidential candidates.
Mr. Karger has requested an expedited decision from the FEC, in hopes that he will be allowed to take place in the next Fox News debate, in Orlando, on September 22nd.