We have seen it time and again where the mainstream media actively and knowingly excludes candidates from being heard by the general public. It is happening again in Florida in the 2014 race for Governor and the Libertarian Party of Florida candidate is not taking it laying down. Last night, June 5, 2014, Gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie sent out an open letter (seen below) to the Florida Press Association and the Florida Society of News Editors for his sudden exclusion from an important candidate forum happening this coming week.
On July 10, 2014, the Florida Press Association and the Florida Society of New Editors are conducting a Gubernatorial Candidate Forum in Coral Gables for their 2014 annual convention. Even though Wyllie is one of the six candidates who are with a political party and has qualified to be on the ballot in the general election in November, they are excluding him because he has not met their criteria.
The criteria Wyllie did not meet was that he did not raise at least $250,000 by May 1, 2014. Wyllie's complaint regarding the long list of criteria to be included is, as he states in his open letter, makes it "impossible for any minor party candidate to participate, by its very definition. According to your stated rules, in order to be included, 'a candidate must belong to a party that has at least 5% of the registered voters in Florida.' The legal definition of a minor party in Florida is one that has less than 5% of the registered voters in the state. Therefore, your criteria guarantee that only Republican and Democrat candidates can participate." Wyllie has polled anywhere from 4-11% in polling.
The general media has played this game of exclusion well since the 1992 Presidential Debates which let in Ross Perot and as a result he garnered over 19% of the popular vote. Since that time, changes were made to make certain that never happened and thereby giving free press for Republicans and Democrats. This is done at the detriment to American voters as legitimate and qualified candidates for elective office are not given the same exposure, leading Americans to think there are only two legitimate candidates for whom they can vote. This is done deliberately and with bias, contrary to the Florida Press Association's tagline which reads "Promoting and Encouraging Higher Standards of Journalism."
In May, we wrote about Libertarian Party's 2012 Presidential Nominee, Gary Johnson, who continues his fight in court for inclusion by third party candidates in the debates. You can read that story below in the "Suggested by the author" section. Johnson was excluded from a presidential debate even though he qualified under the debate commission's criteria.
In 2006, I was in a room full of candidates at a major newspaper in South Florida which included millionaire businessman Glenn Burkett. He was running for governor as a Democrat (today he is running for the same office without a political party) and asked the editor of the paper why they were not covering his race. The response was that if Burkett put a million dollars in his campaign account and did advertising with the paper, then they would start covering his campaign. I heard it, the candidate I was with heard it and I recently re-confirmed the exchange with Burkett and 2006 Congressional candidate Neil Evangelista who was also in the room at the time.
So, it is of no surprise why the Florida Press Association and the Florida Society of News Editors require the $250,000 threshold as part of their criteria of coverage. The general media has been reduced to "paid news" and any integrity of unbiased political news coverage was lost long ago. Only those with deeps pockets willing to spend it get coverage from the major papers. Floridians are under the false impression, they are getting impartial and balanced coverage of the candidates, however as we see here, this is clearly not the case.
Here is Adrian Wyllie's open letter to the Florida Press Association and the Florida Society of News Editors in its entirety:
Members of the Press, As the only third-party candidate for Florida’s governor, I am extremely disappointed in your failure to include me in your upcoming gubernatorial candidate forum at the 2014 FPA/FSNE Convention.
Your exclusion of a viable third-party candidate is unacceptable, and exposes an entrenched bias in the FPA/FSNE approach to political coverage.
You will likely respond by saying that you have created ‘criteria’ for inclusion in the forum, and you will then claim that I have failed to meet said criteria.Please, allow me to preempt your likely rebuttal.
The criteria you have created make it absolutely impossible for any minor party candidate to participate, by its very definition. According to your stated rules, in order to be included, “a candidate must belong to a party that has at least 5% of the registered voters in Florida.” The legal definition of a minor party in Florida is one that has less than 5% of the registered voters in the state. Therefore, your criteria guarantee that only Republican and Democrat candidates can participate.
Regardless of whether I have met your other, arbitrary criteria for polling and fund raising, the simple fact that I am not a Republican or Democrat would prohibit me from participating.I have little doubt that this was entirely by design.We will no longer allow you to stifle the voices of viable candidates, nor limit the informed choices of Florida voters.
Therefore, I refuse to accept your rules, and I present you with the following ultimatum. I will attend the FPA/FSNE Gubernatorial Forum on July 10th in Coral Gables. You may either allow me to participate in the forum, or you may have me arrested.
You have no third option…As you have denied the people of Florida a third option. Govern yourselves accordingly.
Libertarian for Florida Governor