MediaChannel.org Pushes Debate Petition

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Saying that it has gotten no response from the networks, Media for Democracy (MediaChannel.org) has drafted an online petition to be sent to top executives at ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC, asking them to commit to "comprehensive coverage" of the presidential debates.

The e-mailed petition comes a week after the group, joined by the Public Interest, Public Airwaves coalition and others, asked the networks for such a commitment.

Media For Democracy complains that last time around Fox didn't air the first presidential debates in order to show the premiere of Dark Angel, while NBC gave stations the option of carrying the baseball playoffs instead of the debates.

The group wants the networks to roadblock the debates, meaning all show them at once so they are harder to escape.

This year, they say, "a failure to broadcast the debates in full would sound the final breach of establishment news media's contract with Americans."

The petition reads in part: "Recently, your network's decision to devote just three hours to each party's nominating convention sent a clear message to voters that, not only were the conventions unimportant, but also that the upcoming elections don't merit our nation's full attention.

That's why I am asking! you to pledge to air each presidential and vice-presidential debate live, in full, and on your primary channel so that all Americans have an opportunity to watch the candidates address important national issues."

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