What if you held a debate, and told the public to go away?

I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I believe man landed on the moon, not on a movie set someplace. In that spirit, I believe the Republican candidates for Senate debated Wednesday night.

But I cannot believe an outfit that (incessantly) calls itself "Idaho's news channel," and a bunch of their media sponsors, would actually hold a debate — and tell the public to take a hike. Click here for the story.

How ludicrous can you get?

Don't we all think transparency is not merely an ideal — but the oxygen that gives health to the public process? Don't we all believe elected officials and candidates for public office should be open-book accountable? Don't we believe that it's part of our job to inform and engage the electorate?

So when members of the general public and reporters showed up at Northwest Nazarene University to watch the debate for themselves, organizers turned away anyone who wasn't on a list. I thought this was a political debate, not Studio 54 circa 1978.

And this wasn't just some Statesman-vs.-KTVB grudge either — as KTVB and its partners also turned away an Associated Press reporter. Last I checked, KTVB and a number of its debate partners actually subscribe to the AP.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Taped debates are a bad idea. They give candidates time to do preemptive spinning before the public can judge the give-and-take for themselves. This is an advantage for the better-organized, better-funded candidate — in this case, Lt. Gov. Jim Risch.

Keeping the public out of the debate makes a bad system even worse.

The whole idea of sponsoring debates is to provide a public service to voters, or so I've thought. But when you turn a debate into a private event, and you air the debate when it suits your programming schedule, you have turned the whole process into a proprietary product.

Public service? My foot.

I am a diehard First Amendment advocate, and I believe, when it comes to ensuring openness in government, all media organizations are brothers under the flag. But with this sham of a debate, KTVB and its co-sponsors — the Idaho Business Review, the Idaho Press-Tribune, KIDO AM in Boise, KPVI TV in Pocatello, or North Idaho's KREM TV — make it that much harder for us all to make a straight-faced argument for transparency.

If you want to see a live debate, in real time, tune in to Public TV tonight at 8:30 to hear the candidates for Idaho Supreme Court: Joel Horton and John Bradbury. These debates are sponsored by Public TV, the League of Women Voters and the Idaho Press Club (of which I am vice president). Then, go to idahoptv.org after the debate to hear Jim Peck of IPTV, retired Boise State University professor Jim Weatherby, Scott Shaw of NNU and myself analyze the debate, and talk primary politics.

Tune in and log in. Everyone's on the guest list.

It is KTVB's debate, after all

And they had plenty of media attending. Envious that the Press Trib got the invite, but you didn't? Open up their paper if you want the scoop on what went down..

It is the peoples debate

...and as a holder of a public trust KTVB does not own the debates or the air waves they use to broadcast this debate.

KTVB is again showing themselves to be a part of the political problems we currently have in this country and not part of the solution.

Not true

KTVB, through Belo, owns their particular segment of the airwaves.

No they don't...

KTVB (Belo) leases the air waves from the people of this country via the FCC with the understanding and contractual obligation that they hold a public trust of using those air waves for the public good.

Thats why the FCC regulates the air waves. If KTVB (Belo)owned the air waves they could broadcast porn and tell the FCC to take a flying leap, but they can't do that now can they...

KTVB is a COMMERCIAL station and as such can...

make any decision they want to. What YOU can do is write a letter, whateever and they have to keep a record in their "public file" which must be made available for punlic inspection at a specified location during business hours (at least). The FCC does indeed fine stations that don't provide this. Translators and LPs don't generally have to. All this does is help the FCC assess if the station is meeting certain guidelines they should, for renewal time. VERY FEW ever fail and get a license revoked for this reason. If you complain to the station or the FCC they have to post all the notices they receive in this file.

Political programming does NOT have to present every opposing viewpoing and in fact the "Fairness Doctrine" was ended years ago. If you want to criticize broadcasters today you could really stand to learn the facts of today, not 1970. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 would churn your tummy alone. It's the reason companies own 1,000 radio stations, which is leukemia to the industry.

By the way...KTVB COULD broadcast porn, but it would have to be receivable only by those with subscriptions and special equipment. Remember ONTV? You are probably a complete child of CDs and cable and never saw a computer without a modem or hard drive...at least one of you, so I can bet I'm talking gibberish until you go to that search engine and amaze yourself. No, there isn't any such thing at the moment as it didn't work well and you could see it just like 'scrambled cable' sometimes...the billing system was horrible, hackers made boxes to watch free, yada bling Kenny Rogers fried chicken.

The FCC AUCTIONS spectrum now but they are starting to get in hot water now.

2008 is here and the NAB code you might see in old programs is long gone too.

What if you scheduled a public.....

What if you scheduled a public debate, and told the debate to go away? Ask Bill Sali. Aren't you proud of our incumbant (lazy & scared) candidate who refuses to run against, but run away from a challenger's debate.

Voted for him last time...won't happen again.

Public trust

What was violated by not letting the Statesman and AP in? Media was let in from all segments of the state.

I do look forward to watching the Supreme Court debate. I'm quite positive the commentary afterwards(since KR has already endorsed a candidate, is he a balanced voice?) will uphold the public trust.

KTVB Violates the Public Trust...

I would argue that when valid Republican candidates for office, the general public and certain News outlets that KTVB management does not agree with politically are excluded, that is a violation of the public trust. Not to mention it is down right shady and looks a lot like KTVB is playing dirty politics.

Please remember this was a Republican debate and Republican Candidates were excluded... How like dirty politics is that... VERY!

You are confused and playing some special socialist card...

because you are ignorant of the rules and the truth and living in 1972, which wasn't really a good year at all.

Use your search engine, go to fcc.gov and then enter useful criticisms into the thread.


Stop telling me you know more than how to cut and paste stuff you don't know the half of.

Thank you for posting. I'm being a jerk for your own good.

Your not a jerk...

You just make stuff up and create your own arguments out of thin air.

In case you didn't notice I never said anything about the "Fairness Doctrine", I was talking about the public trust, so your very long and rambling post directed at me made absolutely no sense.

foreignoregonian, are you still speaking for Bill Sali, or are you speaking for Doug Armstrong now?

And 1972 was a great year...

I was six and it was not.

I speak for myself.

Play games else where and don't be a junior psychiatrist.

Why you think being a troll is cool is beyond me and you're not baiting me either if you think that.

I'm sorry that there are so many of you but if you wanna be that way, knock yourself out.


I understand and do not fully concur.

Rancor can be good as well as bad.

Many of us see this as a battle between the philosophies of KTVB and the management/editorial staff of the Idaho Statesman.

I think it's all horsehockey and both sides are running it into the grave.

Any surprise as to why some candidates refuse to commit to debates?

Salisbury compromised himself asking that question and he knew from the start that he should have stuck to his gut feelings. If anything was found it may be that Mr. Sali is being highly polite by not allowing his opponent any further embarrassment so close to the primary election. Those who don't want Bill Sali to remain in office were dealt a blow by one party and who can tell if the Democrats can stand against him now? You all have been playing divide and conquer for so long that now you are paying, aren't you?

The notion of performing some noble service is highly misguided thinking. Candidates have left you behind a long time ago and the public likes to play mob.

What is funny but not funny is that the KTVB News Group has ushered in many of the elements needed to upset the apple cart, 'disease of the day' led news being perhaps the worst. It's not 1953 anymore, folks. You can't recreate the Big 8's 20/20 News either. Russell Crowe need not guest anchor.

Do you want to know what I like about Channel 7 News? Edgar Linares. You have Dee and Carolyn but half of your anchors constantly lose their voices to the point of annoyance. News you can't bear to listen to because of the announcer is UNHEARD news. None of you at any station can spell much less read some days and the automated clips that never cue right are a joke. I also don't like the harsh sharpness of the digital audio you feed to UHF 49. I don't think the STL antenna should be so loose that the signal to the LP tiles a lot. Channel 2 has annoying breakup somewhere too and I hate that when I watch golf.

I don't care at all for the way you and Rachel Scott's dad nearly perverted her memory with the "sage" angle taken for the special. She was used badly, it was dishonorable. Mysticism! Soccer Parentism Gone Wild.

It seems as though karaoke died out over here in Ontario at the same time Hagnas buried his roommates abd away it went...I credit increased sales in the bars here to spoon-fed Noose.

As I said before, it's NOT 1953. Don't expect to hop in your Fairlane and whistle home. You've got a lot of work to do to get EVERYONE talking again. If you don't you are insane.

Boring and rambling....

foreignoregonian can you at least try to stay on topic?

Doug does a good job of impressing himself

but I'm not impressed by his lame arguments.

Oh typical


I saw a story on the debate on your own AP wire page. Doesn't that mean the AP was represented?

PS: the public isn't invited to the IPTV debate, either. So your entire argument seems to boil down to sour grapes. Isn't that beneath you? Guess not.

Not exactly

It means that one of the wire service subscribers submitted a story to the AP. There's a difference between an AP reporter and a newspaper that submits stories to the AP.

Most papers will pick up a newsfeed if it's there these days...`

go figure. Probably has an added benefit of allowing more advertisements as well.

Revenue, cat.