What a Campaign!?

By Ted Glick
October 31, 2002

Fortunately there are only five days left until decision-day for the New Jersey U.S. Senate race. I don’t know if I can take much more of this roller-coaster campaign.

Take last night.

Just about two months after getting arrested protesting my exclusion from the first, Torricelli/Lautenberg debate on September 5th, I was back at the “scene of the crime,” this time as a participant in News 12 New Jersey’s second U.S. Senate debate.

I felt good about how I did, and last night and this morning I received a lot of positive input. This ranged from members of my campaign to my Democratic next door neighbor, from an apolitical post office employee to a stranger who recognized me on the street who said, “you were good.”

But if you didn’t see the debate and are relying on the news media to find out what happened, well, good luck.

It began inauspiciously last night when we were informed after the debate that no one from the press was interested in talking to any of the alternative party candidates after the debate ended, and we should go home.

It continued when I watched News 12 New Jersey’s “news report” at 10 P.M. The assigned reporter made the incredible statement that, “there was no discussion about the Iraq war,” when this was one of the major issues that I spoke about at least three times. Her “reportage” about the four alternative party candidates in the hour-long, six-person debate boiled down to the vapid comment that “all the minor party candidates were for less government and less taxes.”

Then there was this morning’s New York Times. They saw fit to devote one short paragraph to mentioning that the four of us were there. Nothing about what we said or stood for. Just that we were there. Kind of like describing what the famous people wore to the latest famous person’s party. We were the decorations for the main event, the monumental clash between Frank and Doug.

Two other newspapers of record, the Newark Star-Ledger and the Bergen Record, did a little better, carrying one paragraph per candidate following their reporting on the hard news about Frank and Doug.

It’s not easy being a serious third party candidate.

Fortunately, the news media doesn’t vote. People vote.

Unfortunately, the news media shapes the way people think, the way they feel, which candidates they consider to be “serious.”

If we want to understand why we will be lucky if more than 1/3 of the potential voters come out next Tuesday, we don’t have to look much further than our morning newspaper or our evening news.

If I was conspiracy-minded, I’d think there was one between those who own the news media and those who dominate the Democratic and Republican parties.

Or maybe it’s just Halloween-related. Maybe we thought we were being treated to a bit of a breakthrough when, after all, we were just being tricked again.

So much for objective journalism.