Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WBIR and Knox Chamber is Censoring Bo Bennett

UPDATE: July 13, 2011 at 9:30 p.m. With the WBIR threshold of $10,000 raised in campaign contributions in order to participate in a debate. 98.7 Newstalk General Manager Mike Hammond and County Commissioner At Large. (Includes every City of Knoxville and Knox County polling locations) candidate would not have been able to participate in the debate. Check his financial disclosure from this time last year, here.

Original Post: On July 28 WBIR, the Knox Chamber and 98.7 Newstalk are hosting and broadcasting a Mayoral Candidate debate. In an obscure mention of the debate, Knoxville Public Affairs Radio Talk Show and Community Television Host Hubert Smith caught a small mention about a threshold for the participants. So, Hubert did what Hubert does best. He contacted WBIR and asked if this was true.

Bill Shory, WBIR head news staff knocker replied back saying that yes, Hubert heard correctly. WBIR normally uses polling data to determine the candidates that are invited to participate in a candidate debate. WBIR did not have such a poll to consider. So, they are using a monetary limit as their threshold. Shory was quick to say, we told the candidates this 4-5 weeks ago. So, what is the threshold and how many candidates does it eliminate? First, remember there are only 5 candidates for Knoxville Mayor, not a large number.

WBIR, the Knox Chamber and 98.7 Newstalk set a $10,000 contribution threshold for participants in the debate. That eliminates only ONE candidate Bo Bennett. Bo Bennett did the same exact thing that Mayoral candidate Ivan Harmon, Mark Padgett, Madeline Rogero and Joe Hultquist did to get on the ballot. Bennett has complied with EVERY requirement to be a candidate.

Let's remember Ivan Harmon is already on television, radio and has more than 25 billboards. Mark Padgett has enough money to buy an entire week of airtime on WBIR. Madeline Rogero has a significant chunk of cash to advertise. Joe Hultquist has raised a little over $10,000 which is the amount needed to borrow a chair for the WBIR, the Knox Chamber and 98.7 Newstalk debate.

So, what candidate does the public need to see and hear on the public airwaves? Bo Bennett. Bo Bennett was a participant a week or so ago at the Concerned Citizens Debate at the Expo Center. He was well prepared, he knew the issues and made an excellent case for his candidacy. But, that doesn't matter to WBIR, Knox Chamber and 98.7 Newstalk.

Go visit Bo Bennett's website
here and donate if you can. Send Bill Shory of WBIR an email here and send Garrett Wagley of Knox Chamber an email here expressing your concern of the Censorship of Bo Bennett.

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