From the Associated Press:
Three candidates running for New York’s open upstate congressional seat will debate for the first time next week.
Democrat Kathleen Hochul (HOH’-kuhl), Republican Jane Corwin and Tea Party candidate Jack Davis will meet in Buffalo May 12.
They and Green Party candidate Ian Murphy are competing in the 26th District vacated by Republican Christopher Lee…An April Siena College poll showed Corwin leading Hochul 36 percent to 31 percent. Davis had 23 percent and Murphy, 1 percent. Murphy says he was excluded from the WGRZ-TV sponsored debate after insulting a WGRZ anchor on his Buffalo Beast blog. The station confirms the invitation was rescinded.
Murphy explains how he insulted the debate organizers in a press release:
The news came in a letter from Jeff Woodard, WGRZ-TV’s News Director, only days after Murphy received an invitation to the debate, hand-delivered by Scott Levin himself, with only one day left to RSVP.
The letter had been dated April 15th, but was delivered on the 28th. When Murphy still managed to respond in time, the “2 on your side” team was forced to come up with another excuse to exclude Murphy.
At issue appears to be a satirical account of the Levin encounter that Murphy posted at BuffaloBeast.com, a political humor website for which he serves as Editor-in-Chief.
“In that blog,” wrote WGRZ’s Woodard, “you wrote about Scott delivering you the invitation, and refer to Scott as a ‘tall, orange robot.’ … You also greatly distorted the conversation you had with Scott to the point of turning it into a vulgar satire.”
Vulgarity notwithstanding, Ian Murphy is a well-known political satirist, and there is simply no way the people at WGRZ didn’t already know that. Their objection appears to stem only from the fact that Murphy hurt their feelings.
This is just another example of the local media blackout on Murphy’s candidacy, along with his recent exclusion from candidate profiles featured in the Buffalo News. While the national media has covered Murphy’s campaign, our local press prefers to ignore him, and keep its audience in the dark.
“Like me or not, what WGRZ-TV has done here is an insult to our democracy,” Ian Murphy said in reaction to the letter. “And I apologize for my innacurate portrayal of Scott Levin. He’s not that tall.”
Here is an excerpt from the letter the station sent rescinding the invite:
That indication was supported this past weekend with your latest post on your latest Buffalo Beast blog, dated April 29th. In that blog, you wrote about Scott delivering you the invitation, and refer to Scott as a “tall, orange robot.” You wrote that you were “stoned,” and “a little drunk.” You referred to Scott Levin’s face as “covered with wierd [sic] orange puddy?” You made crude references to the condition of your home. You also greatly distorted the conversation you had with Scott to the point of turning it into a vulgar satire.
You make it clear in the way you present yourself that you are not a serious candidate in this race. WGRZ-TV, the other candidates, and the residents of the 26th congressional district ARE taking this race seriously. As such, we no longer offer you an invitation to the May 12th debate.