Stormland TV Censors congressional candidates at debate because of $$$

Wow. I guess KELO-TV just went and flat out said it;

5) In addition to the requirements of Sections 1-4 inclusive, a candidate for a state or federal office must have reported, on official forms filed with the appropriate election authority, accepting at least $50,000 in monetary, as opposed to in-kind, campaign contributions, at least 25 percent of which must be raised from in-state constituents.  For local offices, a candidate must have reported, on official forms filed with the appropriate election authority, having accepted at least $15,000 in campaign contributions.

This is the reason why 3rd party candidates NEVER stand a chance, because the media essentially shuts them out because they don’t spend ad dollars with them. Call that a conspiracy theory all you want, but there is a little truth in it, a least a few years ago. A TV media salesperson told me a few years ago, “It’s NO secret we charge the political candidates more during the last throws of the campaign than we do our regular clients, because we give them the best rotation.”

As a person who works in direct mail and has worked on MANY winning local races the place I work for charges the normal rate. The only thing we require out of the candidates is that we treat them with normal turnaround times like our other clients and that they pay COD.

What is frustrating is that candidates like George Hendrickson has a lot to say. I had a very engaging conversation with George at the PRIDE festival. He is extremely sharp and is just as much qualified as the major party candidates. He would have been great in the debate as well as Mr. Wieczorek and he probably would have not worn faded tan socks at the debate like Bjorkman did 🙁

No surprise coming from Stormland TV’s GM, Jay Huizenga, who was personal friends with our former mayor, and would invite him to the station’s Christmas party and would go with him to Packer’s games in private box seats. I guess George and Ron need to give up some NFL tickets to be able to participate in the debates.

We will NEVER see a change in DC as long as we have a complicit local media that censors certain candidates.


#1 USD on 10.20.18 at 1:35 am

Trust me that list of requirments is even longer. You have to be mentioned as a candidate I’m around five print media sources in order to take part in the kelo debate. You also need a website. Lots of random things to keep the cannidates limited. If you are on the ballot you should be at the debate.

#2 l3wis on 10.20.18 at 10:45 am

I was hoping that people would follow the link and read the very long list of requirements. You are right, if the candidate put in the petition work to get their name on the ballot, they should be invited to the debate. We always state that the 3rd party candidates don’t have a chance, and the media sometimes doesn’t help that situation. Third party candidates can run and win seats. Not that I’m a fan of Vern Brown but he served two terms on the city council as an Indy and when he ran for mayor he came in 3rd place behind Huether in the General.

#3 Blasphemo on 10.20.18 at 12:24 pm

L3wis, I like your blog, and I appreciate being able to comment on your entries and the comments of other respondents. I admittedly can be as cranky, critical, if not as self righteous as the worst of us. Also, I’m no particular fan of KELO-TV. That being said, I’m inclined to challenge your post here. I don’t believe KELO’s exclusion of the 2 candidates qualifies as censorship, and I think this subject deserves more context, objectivity and transparency: 1) Our system of elections uses all sorts of qualifiers to qualify candidates: nomination signatures, primaries, endorsements, fundraising. If a candidate is going to run as a minority party Independent or Libertarian, the reality is they’re going to have to go the extra mile in every respect of a campaign if they are to have any chance of winning. In our current system, fundraising is an indication of how many voters support a given person’s platform. Sometimes the largest war chest wins the election, sometimes not. . . but it is an indication of which candidates are truly influencers and leaders who have a level of public support measured by voters willing to help them finance their campaign. 2) This debate was sanctioned in a private business TV studio, not a public venue. The ability of the network TV station to offer it to the widest possible audience (in the public interest) live during their broadcast schedule meant there had to be a time constraint on the duration of the event. The more participants involved, the fewer subject questions could be covered in the 1-hour scheduled. Criteria requiring participants to demonstrate a serious campaign – such as an office, phone, treasurer, etc. demonstrate which candidates are putting enough on the line to deserve prime time TV exposure at no out-of-pocket cost to them. 3) This debate was KELO/Nexstar’s bat & ball. I don’t believe Nexstar’s corporate qualifications are unreasonable to weed out lesser qualified candidates who would dilute the ability of the moderators to cover the maximum number of different questions in the time allowed. Campaign fundraising minimum of $50k for a federal office is akin – if not lower than – fundraising we see for municipal elections in this day & age. 4) One of the two candidates did not meet Nexstar’s $50k fundraising threshold, the other apparently didn’t even TRY to demonstrate they met Nexstar’s requirements. 5) According to their web sites, neither Hendrickson or Wieczorek have a college degree or have held any prior elected office. In this day, an undergraduate degree is of limited career value – a master’s is minimum to demonstrate a level of competence and expertise. How many of us cried foul when our mayor recently appointed a college dropout to one of the highest paid jobs at City Hall?!! This election race is for Congress – representing SD on a national stage. While each of those candidates may have demonstrated merit as an activist and/or volunteer, South Dakotans deserve more extensive and relevant qualifications and related governmental experience for a US House Representative than these two minority party candidates have to offer. Voters didn’t lose out on much by their absence from this lone debate. 6) Lastly, as stated by reporter Kelly Volk, KELO News asserts it is covering all candidates in the election process. KELO is not disqualifying any minority party candidate from campaign news coverage. But, for purposes of this broadcast debate alone, KELO had qualifications to participate – which two candidates failed to meet.

#4 l3wis on 10.20.18 at 2:00 pm

But don’t you think by setting up such a strict criteria they in affect knew they would be disqualified. It’s kind of like a backdoor approach to censorship. It’s kind of like a height requirement to ride a carousel because the carousel operator doesn’t like short people.

#5 Blasphemo on 10.20.18 at 7:14 pm

You have a debatable point there. I’m obviously inclined to make a more pragmatic conclusion – which doesn’t necessarily make mine right and yours wrong. No hiding that Nexstar is a big corporation, in business to maximize profits and satisfy stockholders. They have 171 stations in 100 markets, reaching 39% of all U.S. TV households. That’s reach, not monopoly, but still a concentration of public influence unthinkable in another era. I’m under the impression Nexstar’s debate criteria is from the corporate level, not created just for KELO or this election. And, it would be interesting to know when Nexstar instituted this policy. All that being said, I wonder how media law would address this situation. Just a cursory search of how the Equal Time Rule might apply, brings up some info inferring that Hendrickson and Wieczorek could ask/demand “Equal Time” from KELO. OF course, that could be a pricey legal challenge neither could afford, and there’s scant time before the election to make it happen even if they’re entitled. It’s murky.

#6 White Panther on 10.20.18 at 9:46 pm

I agree PBS had the 3rd party candidates in their debate.

#7 Blasphemo on 10.21.18 at 9:41 am

Did Hendrickson & Wieczorek participate in the Thursday 10/18 SDPB televised forum? I can’t find an online reference/video of the event yet, and in the Sunday 10/21 Argus Dana Ferguson only references some of Johnson & Bjorkman’s exchanges from that event.

#8 "Beach Week" on 10.22.18 at 4:14 pm

I believe whoever wrote the Nexstar debate rules is most likely a descendent of a southern state legislator by the name of Jim Crow.

(“Hey, by the way, what happen to my copy of ‘Koch Brothers’ Strategy for Dummies?”)

#9 "I Like Beer!" on 10.22.18 at 9:03 pm

Those tan socks were a killer, huh? But did you notice that Dusty likes to tie his “orange tie” in a half windsor like John Kerry?…. I can see the ads now…… And you thought being associated with Hillary or Bernie was bad…. 😉