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Letter to the Mainstream Media

Did your news team simply not know about another candidate in the race? It doesn’t sound like diligent journalism to me if that’s the case.

 
 
VictorForSenate
VictorForSenate
PRLog - Oct. 17, 2012 - Greetings…

Your story on Monday’s broadcast about the race to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Jon Kyl reported poll results for Jeff Flake and Richard Carmona, and noted that “18% were undecided.”  Nowhere in your story did you mention a third candidate in the race, the Libertarian Party nominee Marc Victor, who is on the ballot and has been in televised debates against the major party candidates, and whom pollsters for both major parties have determined to have the support of 4% of the voters, which is more than the current gap between Congressman Flake and Dr. Carmona.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82276.html

This October 10 article from politico.com (hardly a Libertarian Party mouthpiece) should help to dispel any suspicion you may have at this point that I’m a wild-eyed partisan simply making this stuff up.  If you now concede that this information about Mr. Victor is essentially factually correct, why wasn’t it considered relevant enough to merit mentioning in your report?  Did your news team simply not know about another candidate in the race?  It doesn’t sound like diligent journalism to me if that’s the case.

I don’t want to subject you to a game of “shoot the messenger” about the poll results, as it’s possible that the “scientific” poll you cited on your broadcast itself didn’t even include Victor as an option (and/or report any support for him even if it was volunteered by any of those polled).  But were you somehow constrained from making at least a passing reference to this relevant fact yourself when doing the story?  If 18% of the voters were labeled “undecided” simply because they didn’t choose Flake or Carmona, and 4% of the total 100% support Victor (as is acknowledged by both major parties), that would mean that over 20% of the “undecided” vote is actually not “undecided” but supporting Victor, yet this went unreported by the pollster you cited and by CBS 5 News.  Is this fair and accurate news coverage, in your judgment?  (And will you question the pollster about this blatant discrepancy and do a story about that?)

Perhaps this flagrant distortion is more smugly presumptuous than intentionally misleading, but it’s typical of mainstream media to pat itself on the back for being impartial, fair and balanced in its political reporting simply because it doesn’t openly favor one major party over the other.  But there’s more to genuine impartiality, fairness and balance — and even simple accuracy – than that, and it would be nice to get an acknowledgment of this from a mainstream reporter.  Otherwise, your tacit “objective” message to the voters is:  No matter how many candidates there are on the ballot in any given race, you’d better get over this “minor party” nonsense before Election Day and “decide” between the two “real candidates.”  That’s “impartial”, Pat?

What is the ethical and psychological climate in the hierarchy of news reporting that allows for things like this to continue uncorrected and unabated, election cycle after election cycle?  Can’t you see that this helps to perpetuate a self-fulfilling prophecy that “minor party candidates can’t win”, and as such has the media participating in a corruption of democracy rather than a noble, “Fourth Estate” role in simply giving the voters the information they need to make their own decisions (or, as your own station’s motto proclaims, “Shine a light and people will find their own way”)?  You don’t have to make a point to “help” minor parties, but it would be nice if your profession could live out the meaning of its supposed principles and at least report the truth about them.

I welcome any comments you care to share on this matter.  Thanks for taking the time to consider my observations.

http://www.VictorForSenate.com

Photo:
http://www.prlog.org/12002154/1

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Source:Victor For Senate
Location:Arizona - United States
Industry:Government, Media
Tags:arizona, elections, us senate, jeff flake, richard carmona
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