So now we are faced with the most obvious case of news suppression from a New Orleans broadcaster that I can ever recall. I am speaking of the debate, so called, which was apparently recorded on Tuesday and aired last night on the local NBC affiliate, WDSU Channel 6.
Three Democrat candidates for the 2nd Congressional District were invited to participate in the debate, while the only endorsed Republican, Claston Bernard, was excluded for unexplained reasons. He continued to be excluded even after an empty chair opened up when one of the Democrats refused to participate. By that time the debate had degenerated into a farce, but the insult to Republicans and conservatives had already been noted.
The station’s actions were actually worse than what I have so far related. Allow me to explain:
On Tuesday, March 16th, I called WDSU’s main telephone number several times, but the call was sent to a recording which did not accept messages. Shortly after the third call, however, someone from the station called me back and I left a message with her to complain about the exclusion of Claston Bernard from the debate. I also requested that the station manager contact me about the matter as soon as possible.
I then emailed the station manager. I pointed out in the email that Claston was the only endorsed Republican candidate in the race, that he had raised a considerable amount of money, and that he was polling higher than one of the candidates who had been invited to participate in the debate. Later that same day, I sent an email to a senior news vice president employed by the station’s owner in New York, to make the same complaint.
To date, I have heard nothing back, not a single word, from anyone. Another caller did speak to someone at the station and was advised that Claston did not meet the station’s “criteria” to participate in the debate. The station representative refused to divulge this criteria, which remains a secret.
As I said, this is the clearest case of news suppression that I have ever observed from a local television station. Why WDSU invited three of the four major congressional candidates to a debate while excluding the fourth, who happened to be the only endorsed Republican, one can easily guess. WDSU has been the most left-leaning station in New Orleans for some time now, but this is a new low for local television broadcasting. It is also a glaring insult to over one million Republicans in Louisiana, and I think we ought to do something about it.
For myself, I will not be giving any interviews to WDSU, and I hope our Republican and conservative elected officials, candidates, activists, and like-minded citizens, will refrain from having any dealings with this station. Nor will I be watching this channel- there are other local stations with less biased political content to choose from. I will be watching to see who advertises with and supports this station, and you may rest assured that I will be taking my business elsewhere. That’s just me. How about you?
LOUIS GURVICH, Chairman
Republican Party of Louisiana