In response to KCCI President Brian Sather, who stated without naming me, that I have made claims that stations “like” KCCI have based their debate criteria on decision made by their corporate office. It seems that Sather felt my published letter was directed toward KCCI and seemed to imply as such on air.
The letter was written before KCCI declined to invite Porter and was in reference to two other Iowa stations who provided written communication to Porter stating their criteria was based on decisions made by out of state corporate executives. KTIV had already invited Porter, rescinded the invitation, then sister station KWWL posted an announcement that included Porter in their debate, which was again rescinded as a “mistake” before being pulled. Additionally KCRG posted criteria they stated was from their parent company. Indeed local stations are excluding candidates based on corporate criteria.
However, considering KCCI appears to have more autonomy locally, I find it even more disturbing that the decision makers here are shaping the news and public sentiment with their debate exclusion of Porter. I expect such things from cold media executives in far away cities, but it is most disappointing that KCCI would treat fellow Iowans this way.
Porter may be a long shot candidate, but so was Jack Hatch in 2014. No polling showing Hatch as a viable candidate with the ability to win. KCCI is not reporting the news, but telling a story, one that has an unfortunate impact on our democracy and has the power to influence the elections. We have asked for objective criteria, but the release KCCI put out included only how the decision makers at KCCI “feel”, which is no objective basis at all.
At the end of the day if your self stated mission is this, “This is an important time in our state’s history, and we believe this debate will help Central Iowa voters be better informed prior to Election Day”, then you have failed Iowans. By excluding Porter as Iowa voters will be less informed, not more, on all of their options at the ballot. These Iowans are making their voices heard on your social media, being banned from commenting there and will be at the debate in numbers to protest your egregious violation of Iowan’s trust, your journalistic integrity and unfortunate influence you may have on our election.
Let Jake Debate,