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Ghost candidates: When no news is bad news

By Robert Skold

posted October 20, 2006

I find it an outrage that local and statewide press write almost nothing about me, my campaign, and my party. It’s as if we were ghosts in the night, passing through a political Twilight Zone where our mission statements are tragically transformed into a Democratic double-speak, and our writings and beliefs are washed away in a Republican riptide of sewage water.

There has been one political party in this state and in this nation since the early1800s, and that party is the Democratic-Republican Party, founded in 1792.

Our country was founded on much higher ideals than this. Didn’t our very first president, George Washington, actively advocate the abolishment of all political parties for this very reason? Today, big business, through giant lobbies in Washington, ensures that those elected are from only the chosen group, and that they stay in office.

The media is their right hand, ensuring that only coverage of the “R” and “D” people makes it to the populace. In 2004, 98 percent of those in office won reelection, due in large part to the media’s lack of coverage of all other candidates.

The time has come to change that.

The Vermont media should be ashamed of this style of reporting politics. This is the equivalent of censoring news, by only publishing news on that the media deem fit for the public to know. I, for one, was under the impression that the delivery and reporting of news, especially political news, was at least in part a social responsibility.

The public has the need and the right to know all of their options in detail. How else can we declare fair elections?

How do you expect change in this state and country if you do not give fair and just coverage to all candidates and their parties?

It’s high time that honest, hard-working citizens be given the chance to use our money our way. That is why I ask for no donations. I don’t need corporate greed or lobbyist demands. I will work for all Vermonters, even the poorest, because I feel that we are all created equal in this country; we all deserve the same chance at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and we are all U.S. citizens.

Recently, I took part in the governor candidates’ debate at St. Michael’s College in Colchester. I basically had a wonderful experience. Outside, prior to the debate, we spoke with many students and they all were very interested in the political system. We met many very bright young students.

We also had the opportunity to speak in length with Marselis Parsons from WCAX-TV. I do not necessarily agree with his political views, but he was a gentleman. And though my political stance is quite different from that of Gov. Jim Douglas, he was also an extraordinary gentleman.

Also debating was Scudder Parker. He seemed a little too slick, with all the political signs blanketing the college as if it was his headquarters, and free T-shirts for any who would wear them. One college student told me he took it because it was free. I kind of felt he was trying to buy support, but that’s his choice.

Vermont Public Radio did a great job of hosting this debate. Bob Kinzel was as fair as a moderator could be. He divided the time between the three candidates, myself included, in a very professional way.

Great so far, right?

After traveling home to Springfield, we turned on WCAX and listened to the news about the debate. To my surprise, they barely mentioned that there were three candidates and only showed Douglas and Parker talking about a campaign advertisement where one was calling the other names.

What kind of reporting is that? They missed the entire point of the debate. Where is the social responsibility in this type of reporting? Most newspapers printed the same nonsense. I feel cheated. I feel the people of Vermont deserve better.

Honestly, the public could care less what nicknames the candidates call each other. Yet, this is what made the “big news.” Some of the reports did not even make a mention that there were three political parties in attendance.

I give proper reporting credit to VPR for broadcasting the debate exactly in the way it took place and putting it online in its entirety for those who missed it live.

But for the most part, the rest of Vermont’s media news coverage, including television, newspapers, and websites have failed to serve the public in their coverage of the debate. They have delivered a twisted, uneven view of the events.

Just and fair coverage is needed in this state if we are to survive. Money seems to entirely drive the media and Vermonters are not being informed fairly.

I’m Robert Skold, Liberty Union candidate for governor of Vermont, and I approve this message.

(Written with a little help from my friends.)

To learn more about Skold’s candidacy, visit www.robertskold.com.