Libertarian congressional candidate Daniel Fishman has no doubt impressed voters in the district with his witty and intelligent performances in debates, offering some relief from the often brutal back-and-forth between rivals Rep. John Tierney and Richard Tisei.
Unfortunately for Fishman, he lacks the institutional support and funds — he’s raised only $8,000 — to run any political ads, never mind the kind of media war waged between Democrat Tierney and Republican Tisei.
That’s probably why Fishman is so miffed that he was denied an invitation to two recent televised debates on NECN and WCVB.
The latter told Fishman that he didn’t meet their requirements to participate, and the former just ignored him completely. Fishman only learned about the NECN debate from a Salem News reporter just hours before the live event was scheduled to air.
Fishman said he was “disappointed” by the exclusion.
“I understand that the networks are not about news anymore, it’s about entertainment,” Fishman said in a phone message the day after the NECN debate. “There’s no question that having those two guys (Tierney and Tisei) go back and forth is reality television, and that’s what draws ratings. I’m not shocked that they thought having me there would interfere with the entertainment.”
In response to the WCVB debate, Fishman filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, claiming that he was unfairly kept away. The FEC requires that debate organizers “use pre-established objective criteria” to determine who participates and who doesn’t. Fishman’s argument is that the criteria the station used was designed specifically to keep him out. The criteria included having a campaign staff of three or more, a daily campaign schedule, regular communication with news media, campaign contributions of $50,000 or more, and a showing of at least 10 percent in two of the latest independent polls.