Republican U. S. Senate candidate Andy Martin is asking the Federal Communications Commission to investigate the monopoly practices of WMUR-TV
Andy says Hearst Television, which owns WMUR, is giving Scott Brown and his two “debating dummies” free air time at 7:00 P.M. while refusing to sell Andy time at 7:00 P.M. on a different day
Andy says Hearst Television is using its monopoly power to decide the outcome U. S. Senate primary
(Manchester, NH) (August 25, 2014)
Dear Granite Stater:
See if this sounds fair to you: the Hearst Television company that owns WMUR-TV is giving free time for a staged “debate” between Scott Brown and his two “debating dummies.” Hearst Television is refusing to sell me a similar time slot to advertise my campaign. So Brown gets free time, and Hearst will not even sell me the same time they are giving away for free. Is that fair?
Federal law protects the right of access of federal candidates to the air waves. If Hearst gives Brown and the dummies free time at 7:00 P.M., and won’t sell me time at 7:00 P.M., instead offering me time on Sunday afternoon or after 11:00 P.M. when the audience is comparatively infinitesimal, doesn’t that New York-based media dictatorship effective control the outcome of elections in our state?
If a legitimate candidate is denied his right to purchase comparable time, while the station is giving away near-prime time to its favored candidate, democracy is a joke. You don’t have to support me or my candidacy to realize that when strong-arm tactics are used against one candidate they can also be used in the future against other candidates.
I have asked the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to investigative the monopolistic corporate behavior of Hearst Television and the efforts of the company to rig the U. S. Senate election with biased coverage (seen enough of Scott Brown yet?) and refusal to obey federal law by selling me a comparable time slot to that being given away to my opponents.
New Hampshire has a more corrupt media environment than Chicago. Here we have only one TV station licensed to the state. Hearst Television is abusing its monopoly power.
Here is what I asked the FCC to investigate: (letter follows without masthead information)
Hon. Tom Wheeler, Chairman
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
I am a ballot-qualified candidate for the United States Senate from New Hampshire in the Republican Party primary on September 9, 2014. Therefore, time is of the essence.
Ten (10) years ago I wrote the first report questioning the family history of then-state Senator Barack Obama. I was the first independent investigator to go to Hawai’i to look into then-U. S. Senator Barack Obama’s family history. I wrote a book which is a collection of my columns as well as a Psychological Profile of then-U.S. Senator Obama (copy enclosed with the hard copy of this letter). My research concerning President Obama has been remarkably prescient and remarkably accurate.
The State of New Hampshire has only one commercial TV station licensee, WMUR-TV, which is operated by Hearst Television. The fact that Hearst has a local statewide monopoly makes my situation somewhat unique and urgent.
WMUR-TV is conducting a bogus “debate” involving the licensee’s preferred candidate for U. S. Senator, Scott Brown, and two additional “sparring partners” for Brown, neither of whom has any recent national exposure or meaningful experience in confronting a media phenomenon such as Mr. Brown. As licensees now do, WMUR-TV has also enlisted a local “patsy,” St. Anselm’s College, to act as a “sponsor” of the debate so the broadcaster can claim that Equal Time rules do not apply. The station has been remarkably crafty in seeking to insulate Brown from any meaningful opposition.
I understand Hearst’s motivation. Brown is a cash machine for broadcasters. Brown brings in millions in Wall Street cash to support his candidacy, because his vote in the senate is for sale. Brown also brings in millions in Democratic Party opposition advertising seeking to expose his perfidiousness and defeat him.
WMUR-TV is broadcasting its “debate” at 7:00 P.M.
I asked the licensee to sell me half an hour at 7:00 P.M. (on a different day) so I can counteract the free time being given to Brown and his sparring partners.
WMUR-TV has refused to sell me the same time slot that they are making available for free to my opponents. In substance, WMUR-TV’s position is a corruption and perversion of the Communications Act. To give free time to my opponents and to refuse to sell me the same time slot so I may reach the same audience effectively locks me out of any access to that audience and dooms my campaign.
I do not believe any licensee, Democrat or Republican, should have such monopoly power (Hearst is a Democrat-leaning corporation; they have wined and dined the incumbent senator, Jeanne Shaheen, at their offices in New York City.)
The issue presented is not a complex one. Can a licensee which holds a monopoly position in a state give free time to some candidates, and then refuse to sell the same time slot to another excluded candidate, claming the free time slot is not covered by any form of equal access or equal time opportunity? I think not. The drafters of the Communications Act never contemplated such an extortionate position of power for a licensee to exercise.
I ask the Commissioners to take immediate action to protect my right as a candidate to purchase the same time slot (local access, a half hour, one time, some time between 7:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.) that is being made available for free to my opponents.
The licensee has offered to sell me time on Sunday afternoon, or late at night, but obviously these alternative time slots are not remotely similar to the audience being made available to my primary opponents at 7:00 P.M.
Increasingly we are becoming a feudalistic nation, where corporate might makes right, and where broadcast licensees have contempt for the public interest they are supposed to serve.
Most respectfully, I ask that the spirit of the Communications Act, that licensees must operate in the public interest and not solely in the corporate interest, be honored. The spirit of our Constitution should also be respected. The contumacious monopoly attitude of Hearst should be rejected.
I hope you will agree with me that New Hampshire should not be a “colony” of Hearst Television in New York, where Hearst executives get to ban candidates from the airwaves and decide who gets free air time and who will be denied his or her federal right to purchase air time. Hearst’s corporate behavior is despicable. Every New Hampshire citizen suffers and our democracy is diminished when the Hearst TV monopoly is allowed to dictate the outcome of elections in our state.
News conference details: Manchester, NH August 27, 2014
New Hampshire U. S. Senate candidate Andy Martin
Andy Martin asks the FCC to investigate WMUR-TV’s refusal to sell him TV time comparable to the time slots being given away to his opponents
Manchester, NH, Northwest corner of Elm and Webster Streets
Wednesday, August 27, 1:30 P.M.