UPDATE 9/20/14: On the evening of Sept. 18th, the Casper Star Tribune formally announced that they will include all gubernatorial candidates who will be on the ballot in the Oct. 9th debate at Casper College. This is because of grassroots activism! The people were heard! KCWY has since backed out of the debate. You can read about the Casper Star Tribune’s change of heart here.
UPDATED: 9/17/2014 During their meeting on Sept. 16th, 2014, the Casper Colleg Board of Trustees voted unanimously to include all candidates who qualified to be on the ballot (and who are in fact on the ballot) in any debates being held at Casper College. Read More here.
President of the Casper College District Board, Charles Robertson, said that “in the interest of election transparency, honesty, community service and remaining open”, Casper College feels that any candidate who qualified to be on the ballot, and is on the ballot should be included in any debate that is held on the Casper College Campus. The board of trustees will be contacting the Casper Start Tribune (CST) with this information and offering and ultimatum: either all gubernatorial candidates are invited to the Oct. 9th 2014 debate, or the CST and KCWY will have to find another venue.
The First Amendment of the US Constitution, promises that there would not be an established religion (no “Church of the United States”) granting freedom of speech, and the right for the people to peaceably assemble to express their grievances with the government…
The First Amendment also gave another very important freedom, a freedom that came with a very heavy responsibility: the freedom of the press.
This is an important freedom, this meant that the government could not control the information that the press brought to the people. The press could expose any corruption going on in our constitutional republic.
The press has a duty to present the people with the facts in an unbiased manner, to merely be an instrument bringing information forward, allowing for the people to weigh the facts as they see fit.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Article 1, Section 20. Freedom of speech and press; libel; truth a defense.
Every person may freely speak, write and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and in all trials for libel, both civil and criminal, the truth, when published with good intent and [for] justifiable ends, shall be a sufficient defense, the jury having the right to determine the facts and the law, under direction of the court.
So why are the Casper Star Tribune and KCWY News 13, refusing to invite third party gubernatorial candidates to the October 9th debate at Casper College?
When freedom loving Wyomingites like yourself contacted John Erhart of KCWY-TV (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Jason Adrians of the Casper Star Tribune (email@example.com) they received this condescending response from Mr. Adrians:
“Thanks for reaching out. I understand that this is an important and sensitive issue for some people in Wyoming, and I want you to know that I appreciate your perspective on the matter.”
And those who spoke with Mr. Adrians or Mr. Ehrart, were told they felt the debate would be best with “only the candidates who had a chance to win”.
Yes. The press decided for you, who the viable candidates in the Wyoming gubernatorial race are.
Neither the Independent candidate for governor, Don Wills, or the Libertarian candidate for governor, Dee Cozzens were invited to the Oct. 9th debate at Casper College. However, both were invited to debate Governor Mead, and State Board of Education Treasurer and state pilot, Pete Gosar during the PBS debate.
Among other excuses, Mr. Adrians said that had Mr. Wills and Mr. Cozzens been actively campaigning for months, they would have been invited.
Not only did the Casper Star Tribune and KCWY decide for you and me which gubernatorial candidates had a “chance at winning”, they refused to even put on a debate for the 2nd most powerful elected position in our state –Secretary of State.
Ed Murray barley won the Republican primary for Secretary of State, and there is not a Democrat running for that office, but there is a Constitution Party candidate who announced her candidacy in the fall of 2013 –Jennifer Young.
But wait… I thought Mr. Wills and Mr. Cozzens would have been invited to participate in the debate if they had been actively campaigning longer…
So, if Ms. Young announced her plans to run nearly one year ago, and was among the first candidates in any office to campaign, why will there not be a Casper Star Tribune/KCWY/Casper College Secretary of State debate?
Looks like the press couldn’t keep their story straight…
There will be a Casper Star Tribune/KCWY/Casper College debate for the Democrat and Republican candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction, however.
What does all of this have to do with education in Wyoming?
Well, Casper College is one of 7 publicly (tax payer) funded community colleges in Wyoming…
This gross abuse of the First Amendment of the US Constitution is taking place in a building and on a campus built with your money.
You cannot turn a blind eye to this. The press has a responsibility especially during the election season, to present unbiased information to the voters, so they can make an informed and educated vote.
By refusing to allow third party candidates to these debates, the press is trying to control who you perceive to be viable candidates -and they are doing it in a building you paid for.
Contact John Erhart of KCWY-TV (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Jason Adrians of the Casper Star Tribune (email@example.com), and let them know you do not appreciate their censorship of third party candidates. You deserve to hear where every candidate vying for your vote stands.
Do not let the Casper Star Tribune and KCWY get away with swaying the election in the direction they want it to go. *worth noting, the Casper Star Tribune endorsed both Mead and Murray in the Republican primary
It is clear that the press in Casper, WY has an agenda… And that agenda is to convince you to vote the way they want you to.
Do not stand for it!
Contact John Erhart of KCWY-TV (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Jason Adrians of the Casper Star Tribune (email@example.com), and attend the Casper College Board Meeting on Tuesday, September 16, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at the Gateway Building (GW) -at Casper College-, room 312 and tell them to stop abusing their first amendment right and to present an equal, unbiased opportunity to all candidates running for offices they hold debates for.