The Houston Chronicle reports on the epic mess that came about yesterday as the Mayoral campaigns once again showed the public they are both ignorant of the differences between both a “debate” and a “forum,” but also an “event” and a “non-event.”
The local paper, for as long as I have been alive, has always gathered all the candidates for public office and asked them questions in private. Because the Chronicle, like any other news outlet, strives to make money from the scoops it may print, it has absolutely no incentive to share the on-the-record comments made by the candidates until pertinent segments are published in the relevant editorial.
Accordingly, when Ben Hall suggested making the editorial board meeting “be opened to all media and streamed live on television and radio,” I’m sure all the journalists at the Chronicle had a good laugh. Jeff Cohen, representing the Chronicle, summarily rejected the request with the following statement:
“The Chronicle’s editorial board is a traditional forum where members convene to ask questions of the candidates and debate the issues. It is not something we share with other news outlets. However, if the candidates can agree on another day to come together, we will happily host and moderate a public debate.”
Cohen did leave the possibility of a Houston Chronicle hosted debate still open, which is a position the [Texpatriate] Editorial Board has previously advocated therefor. For what it is worth, I like the idea that Ben Hall’s campaign proposed, but absolutely understand why the Chronicle would reject such an idea.
I will most definitely use this idea at some idea for the future, as it increases visibility while decreasing revenue, perfect for blogs that do not make any money to begin with!
In other news, in response to this whole issue, Annise Parker has publicly accepted an invitation by the League of Women Voters to participate in a televised debate on October 8th. Hall has confirmed his participation as well. It will be aired on PBS/Channel 8/KUHF and be moderated by Linda Lorelle, the former evening anchor for KPRC.
The astute readers of Perry Dorrell‘s blog, or this one, would have known this information for close to a month. However, at the time, we did not hear anything about hosting from the League of Women Voters. Unless these details have changed, the debate will be open to mostly all of the candidates (Cook, Dick, Douglas, Fitzsimmons, Hall, Lane and Parker) and be held at Willowridge High School (16301 Chimney Rock).
So, at press time, there is still only one Mayoral debate. Status quo antebellum.