Last night's Senate debate between Ted Cruz and Paul Sadler got surprisingly heated, with the two men snapping at each other about illegal immigration, healthcare, where Barack Obama was born and whether Ted Cruz is, in fact, a troll.
Meanwhile, John Jay Myers, the Libertarian Senate candidate who did not participate in last night's debate, has also been disqualified from KERA's October 19 debate.
We know this because Myers sent us his email exchange with Rick Holter, the vice president of KERA's news division. We've reproduced it in full, because it's important and newsworthy. Not because we enjoy watching people bicker. Certainly not.
The exchange we were sent begins with Holter and ends with Myers:
Dear Mr. Myers;
In considering participants for our Oct. 19 U.S. Senate debate, KERA has applied the viewpoint-neutral criteria outlined in its longstanding Texas Debates guidelines: http://keranews.org/texas-debates-about
We have determined that your campaign, measured against those criteria, does not qualify for inclusion in our upcoming debate.
Rick Holter Vice President/News
Rick, I really do need to get specific here on which criteria you believe we do not match. I don't want to unfairly target PBS, but this time we are going to go after sponsors to let them know how we feel.
Right now we feel as if the whole of the media is creating such obstacles that they force a two party system on the American people.
We feel it is a version of voter fraud, as a matter of fact here is a video of me in Austin talking about this exact subject in front of 400 students: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8_OKKe5dtg
I believe Public broadcasting has to be held to a much higher standard than WFAA when it comes to fairness to all candidates.
Again, please be specific in regards to how you feel we do not match your criteria so we can do two things:
1. Try to establish that we do meet those metrics in order for us to get in the debate. 2. Use them as part of our FCC filing, Sponsor targeting and general press releases.
Thanks! John Jay Myers
Dear Mr. Myers,
Thanks for getting back to me. As I wrote before, after careful deliberation, we determined that your campaign did not meet KERA's viewpoint-neutral criteria. Ultimately, this is the editorial decision we've made based on our longstanding Texas Debates guidelines.
Thanks again, Rick Holter
I understand that you feel your guidelines are somehow above reproach, but if we are not allowed to know which guidelines you feel we are not qualifying for, how will we argue against it?
All we are asking is that you send us an email that makes clear which qualifications you don't feel we meet.
Which "viewpoint-neutral criteria" have we not achieved?
Thanks! John Jay Myers
Dear Mr. Myers; Sorry, we are not going to get into any more detail about our editorial process. Rick Holter
So in the end your "viewpoint neutral criteria" are actually subjective?
I mean obviously "viewpoint neutral" suggests that you are not making subjective judgments. But if you can't explain to a campaign where they have not qualified for your objective criteria, then you are no longer objective.
I think it will be important to the supporters and sponsors of KERA that this information be transparent.
Thanks John Jay Myers
Houston Area Liberty Campaign , a Libertarian-leaning political blog, is calling on its readers to call, email and comment-flood KERA's article announcing the debate. A number of people have cheerily obliged. Some of them have even chimed in with demands that the Green Party candidate also be included. His name, by the way, is David Collins.