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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

ABC and Fox: Thinning the Herd

[Update below]

ABC News, WMUR-TV (Channel 9) and Fox are reducing the debate fields for their latest debates, thinning the herd so to speak, with each listing their reasons or criteria for doing so.

ABC News and WMUR-TV, have established performance-based criteria for Saturdays night's pair of presidential debates. Those rules would leave several relatively well-known candidates on the outside looking in, including Democrats Dennis Kucinich, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd.

The criteria for the ABC News debates is listed on the ABC website, found here and all candidates must meet at least one of the following three criteria:

1) Place first, second, third or fourth in the Iowa Caucuse.

2) Poll 5% or higher in one of the last four reputable random sample New Hampshire telephone surveys sponsored by an established news organization and conducted and released on or before January 4, 2008.

3) Poll 5% or higher in one of the last four reputable random sample national telephone surveys sponsored by an established news organization and conducted and released on or before January 4, 2008.

According to the Union Leader, WMUR news director Andrew Vrees said that "WMUR had been incredibly inclusive throughout the year" and that ABC and WMUR had lengthy discussions over a period of time as to what criteria was to be established for these debates.

Democratic Chair Raymond Buckley had these comments about WMUR's decision:

“New Hampshire has a long and proud tradition of serving as a level playing field, New Hampshire is the one state where each candidate can be given an equal opportunity to be heard by the voters.

“I would strongly encourage any New Hampshire media outlet holding candidate debates or forums to not eliminate a sitting U.S. senator or member of Congress.

ABC News anchor Charles Gibson, who will be moderating both debates, each 90 minutes long said "the criteria were actually quite inclusive."

He defended the network in effectively narrowing the field at a point when no actual voters had cast a ballot, except for Iowa caucusgoers.

"You will have had a year's politicking," he said. "You will have had, I think by count, about 641 debates. You will have had national polls and state polls and one state's vote. I think that's pretty indicative."

Fox News has invited Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson to their forum with Chris Wallace to be held in their mobile studio, which the AP has described as a "souped up bus", and their criteria was that the candidates invited had to have double digit support, which would exclude Duncan Hunter and Ron Paul.

In a nationwide poll conducted Dec. 14-20 by The Associated Press and Yahoo, Thompson had the support of 11 percent of GOP voters and Paul was at 3 percent in wave 1 and wave 2 and Duncan Hunter was at 1 percent in wave 1 and 2 perent in wave 2.

AP, Yahoo poll PDF.

The Associated Press-Yahoo News survey of 1,821 adults was conducted from Dec. 14-20, and had an overall margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points. Included were interviews with 847 Democrats, for whom the margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3.4 points, and 655 Republicans, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.8 points. The poll was conducted on the Internet by Knowledge Network.

There has not been much reaction from Duncan Hunter's supporters but Ron Paul's supporters, according to The Wall Street Journal's, Washington Wire, has sent a mass email out with the email addresses of approximately 60 Fox employees, including press contacts , Bill O’Reilly, Shepard Smith, Neil Cavuto and Brit Hume.

The email asks "Has Fox News Excluded Ron Paul From the Pre NH Primary Forum?” Then goes on to state "Fox News cannot just stifle public opinion. debate and impact a primary election by excluding Ron Paul just because they don’t like his message of freedom and liberty."

Paul supporters are also calling on a boycott of Fox advertisers.

No word online yet as to the reasons Paul supporters think Fox is excluding Duncan Hunter.

[Update] From what I understand the round table forum from Fox already has its invites and will go on as scheduled because it is not a debate, more of an interiew with Wallace on specific topics.

Fox's actual debate, scheduled for January 10, (not 12th), in Myrtle Beach, S.C,is another GOP debate that Paul has been invited to, according to a Paul spokesman.

That is another thing that has been misunderstood, I am not accusing anyone of misrepresenting), the forum is not an official presidential debate, it is more over an interview/discussion and the debate itself has had no one excluded.

Here is the calendar for actual debates.

More on the South Carolina Debate, the SCGOP has the announcement up here.

The South Carolina Republican Party has partnered with FOX News Channel to present a live, nationally-televised Republican Party presidential candidates debate on Thursday, January 10, 2008, in historic Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The debate will be held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

Here is Fox's announcement.

If you scroll to the comments, you will see commenters ripping into Fox for "excluding" Paul and above I just linked to Paul's OWN SPOKESMAN saying he IS invited to the actual debate on January 10th.

This is what I mean about misunderstanding....people are leaping before they look and it is making them look bad.

I came across one of the best explanations of how all the misunderstandings came about from Nolan Chart, a very pro-Paul website, but the writer has tried to trace everything backwards to see exactly what happened and what didn't.

That article, written yesterday & showing the previous articles and updates, covers not only the forum on the 6th, but the brunch that everyone assumed Paul was excluded from but then discovered that due to a conflict in scheduling Paul actually just hadn't confirmed he would definitely be able to make it, which in turn led his supporters to launch another campaign against Fox (who wasn't hosting it, just covering it), then to scale backwhen the news came out about what actually did happen.

FAIR WARNING: Nolan Chart's explanation does show how everything got confused but the explanation itself is also

Have a large strong drink before reading..heh