August 8, 2011
Mr. Michael Clemente
Senior Vice President of News
Fox News Corporation
New York, NY
Dear Mr. Clemente:
We read your reply in the media to Mr. Karger’s letter of Friday, August 5, 2011.
Even though Mr. Karger demonstrated that he met all of your prescribed criteria to participate in Thursday’s Fox News Debate in Ames, Iowa, you claim otherwise. Fox News is hosting the a Republican Presidential Debate with the Washington Examiner and the Republican Party of Iowa on Thursday, August 11, 2011.
The Federal Election Commission allows news organizations to host debates of Presidential candidates so long as they follow basic rules to preserve objectivity.
Debate hosts choose candidates based upon “pre-established, objective criteria” to ensure that hosts do not select candidates based on favoritism or exclude candidates for any reason.
If hosts do not choose candidates based upon “pre-established, objective criteria,” then they are in fact making illegal in-kind contributions to each of the campaigns of the candidates present.
The Des Moines Register reported that the “pre-established objective criteria” were released by you on July 23, 2011, and then reaffirmed them as final last week. The criteria must be met by Tuesday, August 9, 2011, 4:00 pm CDT. They are very straightforward. In order to participate in the Fox News Debate, candidates must have:
1. Registered with the Federal Elections Commission as a presidential exploratory committee or presidential campaign.
2. Meet all U.S. Constitutional requirements.
3. Garnered at least an average of one percent in five national polls based on most recent polling leading up to the registration day.
Mr. Karger filed for President on March, 23, 2011 at the Federal Election Commission in Washington, DC; he meets all U.S. Constitutional requirements and on Friday, August 5, 2011, he achieved the required polling criteria. He documented that in a letter sent to all debate sponsors http://www.fredkarger.com/posts/update-august-5-2011. A Harris Interactive Poll, which the Fred Karger for President campaign engaged Harris to perform, came out the day before, showing Mr. Karger at 2%. That poll, averaged with four previous recent polls, brought Mr. Karger to the necessary average of 1% in five national polls. This news was widely reported:
Des Moines Register
The Des Moines Register and OutQ News on Sirius Satellite Radio, both reported that you released the following statement explaining why Fox was still excluding Mr. Karger:
“None of the five polls cited by the Karger campaign help him meet the criteria of 1%”. The August 4th Harris Interactive poll is an online survey. Such polls do not qualify for the purposes of meeting the debate criteria. The July 25th Zogby poll is an online survey. Such polls do not qualify for the purposes of meeting the debate criteria. The May 23rd Zogby Poll is an online survey. Such polls do not qualify for the purposes of meeting the debate criteria. The April 28th Fox Poll is out of date. Fox offered up Mr. Karger’s name in polls conducted in June and July, but he did not register in either. The June 29th McClatchy-Marist Poll shows Karger garnering “less than 1%.” The threshold is 1%.”
Fox News never released acceptable polling companies or acceptable polling methodology in its pre-established objective criteria.
Now it appears that because Mr. Karger met your originally stated criteria, Fox News is trying to change the criteria in order to exclude him. That is in direct violation of the Federal Election Commission regulations. The criteria must be “pre-established,” and may not be changed.
For comparison, CNN, the sponsor of the New Hampshire Debate on June 5, 2011, used much more stringent polling criteria for its debate. CNN required a candidate to poll at 2% in an average of three national surveys during a one-month period, and only from a specific list of eligible polls.
Fox News has much less stringent criteria for its Iowa Debate, which we applaud. Casey Mills, a spokesperson for the Republican Party of Iowa, a debate cosponsor, stated: “The barriers for entry are very low by design to make sure an inclusive list of candidates is featured on stage.”
Fox News regularly publishes and cites Zogby and Harris Interactive polls, both of which are conducted online. This is a new way national polling firms conduct polls. Many experts consider online polls even more accurate than telephone polling because they take away the human element.
Fox News often cites Zogby and Harris Interactive polls in stories. Fox reported on a Zogby poll that was one of the five to allow Mr. Karger to achieve the 1% threshold that you now dismiss: Fox News Story and Zogby Poll Source. Fox News has cited many other Zogby Presidential Polls conducted online: Christie & Perry vs. Romney, Christie and Cain and Christie Trounces Field. Fox News also regularly cites Harris Interactive Polls as well: Obama's Popularity , Gays are more frequent Blog users and Sony vs. Apple.
In all of its coverage of Harris Interactive and Zogby polls, Fox News never stated that these polls were conducted online or that Fox News viewed them to be less accurate than any other poll. Then, why now?
Nate Silver of the New York Times analyzed the top polling companies and found Harris Interactive to be one of the most reliable. The International Journal of Market Research analyzed online polling of 72 different political races in one election cycle and found that Harris Interactive Online Polls are "twice as accurate as its general telephone polling competition."
Fox News regularly cites other online polls: YouGov: CLICK HERE and HERE and Synovate: CLICK HERE and HERE.
You claim that your own April 29, 2011 poll (the first national poll to include Karger) is “out of date” because subsequent Fox News Polls had Mr. Karger at less than 1%.
Your Iowa Debate polling criteria are identical to the criteria that you used for the South Carolina Fox News Debate held on May 5, 2011. Fox News accepted Gary Johnson for that debate, even though the April 20, 2011 Gallup Poll had him at 0%. Fox News had accepted previous Gallup polls from March 22, 2011 and February 20, 2011, which had Gary Johnson at 2% and 1% respectively (Sources: Politico.com 2012 Presidential Polls and Polling Report - White House 2012).
Fox News had to go back five months to November 14, 2010 to be able to include Gary Johnson in the South Carolina Debate by the time Fox News first stated Gary Johnson’s inclusion to the Daily Beast on the day of April 28, 2011. Mr. Karger’s Fox News poll is only three months before the deadline. Below is a timeline of all polls leading up to the South Carolina debate deadline:
April 28 - Fox News: 1% (Fox News had already provided a list of debate participants prior to the publication of this study and Gary Johnson was included. Fox News had affirmed that Gary Johnson came in at 1% in five polls previous to this date.)
April 20, 2011 - Gallup -- Gary Johnson receives 0%
April 14, 2011 - McClathy-Marist -- Gary Johnson not included
April 10, 2011 - CNN -- Gary Johnson not included
April 5, 2011 - Fox News -- Gary Johnson receives 1%
April 4, 2011 - NBC/WSJ -- Gary Johnson not included
March 28, 2011 - Farleigh Dickson University -- Gary Johnson not included
March 22, 2011 – Gallup -- Gary Johnson receives 2%
March 14, 2011 - Pew -- Gary Johnson not included
March 13, 2011 - CNN -- Gary Johnson not included
February 28, 2011 - NBC/WSJ -- Gary Johnson not included
February 20, 2011 – Gallup -- Gary Johnson receives 1%
February 15, 2011 - Newsweek/Daily Beast -- Gary Johnson not included
January 23, 2011 - CNN -- Gary Johnson not included
January 16, 2011 - ABC/Washington Post -- Gary Johnson not included
December 16, 2010 - Clarus Research -- Gary Johnson not included
November 15, 2010 - McClathy-Clarist -- Gary Johnson not included
November 15, 2010 - Quinnipiac -- Gary Johnson not included
November 14, 2010 – Gallup -- Gary Johnson receives 1%
The deadline for Mr. Karger’s participation is tomorrow, August 9, 2011 at 4:00 pm CDT. We hope that you will do the right thing and allow him to be on that stage in Ames. He has met your criteria and deserves to be a participant. His presence would, of course, be historic as the first openly gay candidate to run for President of a major political party. We eagerly look forward to your response.
Fred Karger for President
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