Stanley, Campbell Sue to Debate
An October 12 story in the Denver Post set off a debate among Libertarian Party members. Jim Hughes authored the article, titled, "Judge: Debate can bar 3rd-party hopefuls: Candidates for Senate lose bid."
Hughes' article began, "A federal judge on Friday denied a request to stop media-sponsored debates in Colorado's U.S. Senate race until two third-party candidates are allowed to participate." The judge said the candidates didn't provide sufficient notice.
"Libertarian candidate Rick Stanley and Douglas 'Dayhorse' Campbell, who is running on the American Constitution Party ticket, want in on the televised debates..." Hughes continued.
A statement from the candidates alleged, "The bias and prejudice of the controlled media has made up its mind who should speak or not speak and what should or should not be heard. This is tyranny! This is a dictatorship! This is not due process! This is not freedom! This is not America."
The debate was co-sponsored by the Denver Post and 9News. Interestingly, Huges reported, "Earlier this month, a Massachusetts court denied a similar request filed jointly by a Green Party candidate and an independent candidate running for governor there." Apparently, that means Carla Howell, the Libertarian candidate for governor in that state, chose not to participate in the law suit there.
Libertarians do not believe government should interfere with media at all, other than to protect property rights. On the free market, nobody can force any media outlet to cover any event whatsoever. This tension prompted a release from the state LP, below, as well as several strongly-worded replies, one of which is quoted.
LIBERTARIAN PARTY of Colorado
IMPORTANT STATEMENT REGARDING STANLEY LAWSUIT
The Libertarian Party of Colorado issues the following statement regarding the federal lawsuit U.S. Senate Libertarian Candidate Rick Stanley filed against various print and television organizations:
We understand and appreciate Mr. Stanley's frustrations with not being included in the Senate candidate debates, and we feel that our candidates should be included in all election debates as a matter of public service and journalistic fairness.
However, we do not in any way have nor want any association with Mr. Stanley's lawsuit. Mr. Stanley has filed this lawsuit on his own behalf only and not on the behalf of the Libertarian Party of Colorado or any of its affiliates. Further, Mr. Stanley does not speak for the Libertarian Party of Colorado or its affiliates. Mr. Stanley is under censure by the Libertarian Party of Colorado for his unacceptable past actions, and as such is not in any way, real or perceived, a Party spokesperson.
We also acknowledge that the media organizations named in this lawsuit have the power as private organizations to freely determine whom they wish to include in their debates. We again desire that inclusion, but we reluctantly accept that inclusion may not happen. We believe that such lack of inclusion is shortsighted.
The Libertarian Party of Colorado asserts that in order for the people of Colorado and America to have their full electoral options presented for a fair and proper decision, the media has an obligation of honor and integrity to present to the public those full options, regardless of any assessment of election outcome. To those media organizations that have done so and continually strive to do so, we say a heartfelt "Thank You." The road to freedom is paved with knowledge, and we feel that a press that is not fair and equitable is not truly a free press in the spririt of the First Amendment.
Dana Wagenhoffer sent an e-mail to the "lpco-chat" list October 15 that stated,
...Every time Mr. Stanley does something to bring attention to this party you [Seebeck] send out press releases stating it has nothing to do with the LP party. What Mr. Stanley is doing for this party is much more then I have seen from the LPCO chapter, affiliate etc...
Wagenhoffer also provided a link to a FCC web page: http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/decdoc/public_and_broadcasting.html.
However, the Libertarian Party believes "real freedom" entails abolishing the FCC, not calling for its full enforcement. Wagenhoffer's comments wholly incompatible with the LP's platform:
We defend the rights of individuals to unrestricted freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the right of individuals to dissent from government itself. We recognize that full freedom of expression is possible only as part of a system of full property rights. The freedom to use one's own voice; the freedom to hire a hall; the freedom to own a printing press, a broadcasting station, or a transmission cable; the freedom to host and publish information on the Internet; the freedom to wave or burn one's own flag; and similar property-based freedoms are precisely what constitute freedom of communication. At the same time, we recognize that freedom of communication does not extend to the use of other people's property to promote one's ideas without the voluntary consent of the owners...
Patricia Calhoun devoted most of a page of the October 17-23 Westword to the matter, but she didn't outline the libertarian case against the suit.