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John Jay Myers Complaint Letter to the FCC

John Jay Myers Complaint Letter to the FCC

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Published by DallasObserver

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Published by: DallasObserver on Oct 01, 2012
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John Jay Myers for Senate4440 Lawnview Ave.Dallas, TX 75227September 25, 2012Federal Communications CommissionMedia Bureau, Policy Division445 12th St., SWWashington, DC 20554Dear FCC Policy Division,The Dallas, Texas, station WFAA is hosting a United States Senate candidate debate on Tuesday,October 2. Only candidates Ted Cruz (Republican) and Paul Sadler (Democrat) have beeninvited to participate. WFAA has failed to invite John Jay Myers (Libertarian), who is alsorunning for this office. John Jay Myers meets all of the legal qualifications for a United StatesSenator and has been properly nominated by the Libertarian Party of Texas at its Juneconvention. He will therefore be appearing on the November 6 general election ballot.It is our contention that 47 USC § 315(a) regarding equal opportunities applies in this case andthat WFAA’s debate cannot qualify as a “bona fide news event” under 47 USC § 315(a)(4) due tothe subjective, inconsistent, and biased nature of WFAA’s candidate selection.When the Myers campaign sought an explanation regarding how WFAA determined whichcandidates to invite, this was the August 28 e-mail response from Executive News DirectorCarolyn Mungo:Dear Mr. Myers,Thank you for writing. We have held several debates over the years at WFAA.Here are the criteria we use for entrance into the October 2nd debate: · Receives significant levels of public support in independent public opinionpolls (e.g. 15 percent, which is the minimum used by the Commission onPresidential Debates).· Has received substantial campaign contributions from varied sources.· Has received a substantial level of votes in prior elections for the same orcomparable office.· Expected to be reported by news agencies in election night returns.· Has received significant news coverage from a wide range of media outlets. Sincerely, Carolyn MungoExecutive News DirectorWFAA-TV214-977-6296cmungo@wfaa.com
The Myers campaign challenges the validity of these criteria on the grounds that they either failto provide concrete thresholds for their metrics, or they cannot be proven in this case all. Wecontend that WFAA has arbitrarily chosen the candidates and even altered its criteria after thefact to accommodate a particular candidate. Below is our discussion of each item individually.Polls - Independent public opinion polls cannot be a valid metric because WFAA has notproduced evidence of any independent public opinion polls regarding this race. There were anumber of polls conducted specifically for individual party primaries, or before any partynominated any candidate. It is our contention that WFAA could not and did not use polls to maketheir candidate selection because none were available regarding the general election candidates.Therefore no candidate can be said to have met the 15% they claim to require.Contributions - WFAA has provided no guidance on what constitutes “substantial” contributions.The lack of a specific threshold renders this criterion meaningless. Where WFAA has failed, theFederal Elections Commission has succeeded in providing a universal, measurable, andverifiable standard of $5,000 to define individuals as “candidates”. John Jay Myers has met thisobjective standard by raising over $5,000 by the end of the second quarter (this is the lastpublicly available report). To date, John Jay Myers has raised over $12,000 (to be reported at theend of the third quarter).Prior Elections - Ted Cruz has never run for elected office, while Paul Sadler has. Both wereinvited. No candidate has run for statewide election before. The inconsistent application of thiscriterion suggests a partisan bias. There is also no standard for what constitutes “substantial”results.Election Night Returns - WFAA is claiming clairvoyance when making decisions based on futuremedia coverage. They do not know what will be reported on any other station, and they couldonly know what will be reported on their own station if they have already decided whom toinclude, or exclude. It can only be known that all qualified candidates for the ballot, includingJohn Jay Myers, will be reported by the Texas Secretary of State and the county elections offices.News Coverage - If every news station only covered candidates who had previously beencovered by other stations, there would be no political news. Not only is this a self-fulfillingexcuse to include only their favorites, but it also lacks any means to prove or disprove it. There isno number of articles, size or number of media outlets, nor any other measurable way to meetthis requirement.As further evidence of inconsistent, arbitrary, and biased criteria, here is the full text of aSeptember 12 article about a John Jay Myers protest of his exclusion from the debate. This canbe found online here:http://www.wfaa.com/news/politics/Libertarians-protest-exclusion-from-Belo-Debate-169535156.html?fb_comment_id=fbc_282598475187311_1258445_282643295182829#f27f90df2d733a6DALLAS — Carrying signs saying "Let us debate" and "Let the candidatespeak," a handful of people supporting the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senateprotested Wednesday outside the WFAA studio in downtown Dallas.
The group is upset because John Jay Myers has not been invited to participate inthe Belo Debate scheduled for October 2.The Myers campaign has not been able to meet any of the five criteria laid out byWFAA to be eligible take part in the debate.So far, only Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Paul Sadler have been asked andhave accepted invitations to take part in the event.The five primary criteria used by WFAA to determine who is invited includewhether a candidate:* receives significant levels of public support in independent public opinionpolls (e.g. 15 percent, which is the minimum used by the Commission onPresidential Debates)* has received substantial campaign contributions from varied sources* has previously held significant public office(s)* has received a substantial level of votes in prior elections for the same orcomparable office(s)* will be reported by news agencies in election night returns* has received significant news coverage from a wide range of media outletsThe Belo debate will be broadcast live on WFAA Channel 8 and to a statewideaudience online.Whereas our initial correspondence with Carolyn Mungo suggested five criteria, there areactually six bullet points in this new list. The new criterion is, “has previously held significantpublic office(s)”. It is our contention that this can only be a last minute addition, manufacturedspecifically for this article, as suggested by twice mentioning “five” criteria earlier in the article.The new criterion benefits Ted Cruz the most, as he has held public office but not elected office.The change from five to six points makes it clear that WFAA's criteria are dynamic, meaning thatthey are not objective and cannot be achieved by any reasonable effort, even with foresight ofknowledge and valiant effort to meet them. WFAA is presenting a moving target for candidatesthat they have decided to change at will.WFAA has also claimed here that, “The Myers campaign has not been able to meet any of thefive criteria laid out by WFAA to be eligible take part in the debate.” Two of the criteria, pollsand election night coverage, cannot be proven for any candidate as described above. Mr. Myershas met a FEC threshold for contributions, a figure that can be used in the absence of anyobjective alternative from WFAA. John Jay Myers has also received news coverage from avariety of news outlets, as shown on his press page here.http://JohnJayMyers.com/press/Thus, John Jay Myers meets two of the three criteria that would be possible to prove wereWFAA to provide some measurable standard. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz fails to meet at least one ofthe criteria: past election results. So in addition to all of the above, WFAA cannot make up itsmind on how many of the criteria must be met for a candidate to participate in this debate. The

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