Minnesota's in the Middle

All things Minnesota politics

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Fitzgerald not included in Meet the Press Senate Debate on Oct 15

You know what to do: contact Meet the Press! The show's email address is MTP@NBC.com and you should address it to the following: Mr. Tim Russert, host; Ms. Betsy Fischer, Executive Producer; & Ms. Michelle Jaconi and Ms. Rebecca Samuels, producers of Meet the Press.

The following is what I wrote to them:

To Mr. Tim Russert, host; Ms. Betsy Fischer, Executive Producer; & Ms. Michelle Jaconi and Ms. Rebecca Samuels, producers of Meet the Press:

While I am very happy to know that Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race is getting national coverage on such a prestigious show like Meet the Press, I am EXTREMELY disappointed to find out that not all THREE candidates are being included in the televised debate on October 15; the Independence Party-endorsed candidate Robert Fitzgerald seems to be missing. If this is an oversight on the part of your web team (where I obtained this information), I sincerely apologize for what I am about to say and humbly ask that you immediately correct the oversight. If it is not a mistake, please take what I am about to say to heart.

According to your website, “‘Meet the Press’ has a proud history of presenting its viewers with the very best in political debate. This election year will be no exception.” At the moment, I beg to differ. You are not presenting your viewers with the very best. To me, the best is allowing ALL major party candidates to participate. In Minnesota, the Independence Party is a major party. Even though the U.S. Senate is a federal race and the Independence Party is a state party, the voters in Minnesota are the ones who matter in deciding this race and they deserve to know they have THREE major party choices, not two.

Furthermore, your website states that the Meet the Press Senate debates will have “…candidates from some of the most interesting and competitive races in the country.” I disagree again, considering that you are presently not including ALL THREE major party candidates. What, pray tell, is more interesting (politically-speaking and in a non-Presidential election year) than a highly competitive, three-way Senate race in a politically progressive state like Minnesota? Fitzgerald will be certain to keep Klobuchar and Kennedy on their toes when it comes to debating the real issues, particularly the ones regarding energy. For example, in one weekend, Fitzgerald converted a school bus to run on waste fryer oil. He’s been traveling all over the state in that now-bright red bus for less than a dollar a day! Considering today’s rising gas prices, that’s quite an accomplishment. If one citizen can do that, I don’t see why the United States government can’t do something along those same lines. Fitzgerald can obviously provide innovative solutions here; I haven’t seen anything innovative from Klobuchar or Kennedy on this issue.

I want to also note that in a recent Washington Times article (5/19/06) about Minnesota’s competitive federal races, Fitzgerald was, of course, included when the Senate race was discussed by the author, Barry Casselman:

“To complicate matters further, the Independence Party has come up with a dynamic 29 year-old centrist candidate (his 30th birthday is a few weeks before the new Senate would be sworn in) named Robert Fitzgerald, who is going around the state in a colorful bus. (The last Irish-American 29-year-old who ran for the Senate against impossible odds was Joe Biden in Delaware in 1972. He won, is still in the Senate and running for president in 2008.)”

Casselman obviously did his job as a political reporter. Click this link for the full story: http://washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20060518-091443-6381r.htm

Finally, I find it very disconcerting that a show like Meet the Press would be like the rest of the media and not accurately cover a race as important as the U.S. Senate race in politically progressive Minnesota. I do hope the other Senate races you cover are truly races between two major parties, because if they are not, you are doing a disservice to the voters of those states as well. As members of the media, Mr. Russert, Ms. Fischer, Ms. Jaconi, and Ms. Samuels, it is your DUTY to cover these kinds of races properly, so that you may accurately inform your viewers. I am one of those viewers, and I will not tolerate this lack of accurate reporting. I may have to obtain my political information elsewhere, as I prefer to be properly informed about all of my options before I go to the voting booth.

I strongly urge you… no, I insist, as one of your viewers and as a voting Minnesotan, that you include the Independence Party-endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate, Robert Fitzgerald, in your televised Senate debate on October 15.

Thank you.

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