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MPR's debate policy

Posted at 2:07 PM on September 28, 2006 by Bill Wareham (2 Comments)

You know the campaign season is heating up when the calls and emails start coming in asking/demanding/pleading that candidate (fill in the blank) be included in debates.

For the record, here is our policy:

MPR News will invite candidates from all major parties, as defined by state law, to debates and forums it hosts. The state defines major parties as those which fielded at least one candidate to earn 5 percent of the vote in the last statewide election. MPR News may include candidates from non-major parties in debates where editorial and programming circumstances warrant. These circumstances may include, but aren't limited to, demonstration of significant strength in polls.

This gives us a minimum standard that corresponds with the state standard, one which ostensibly reflects the general public's interest threshhold. It also recognizes what I think is our inherent obligation to our audience not to let the rule prevent us from expanding beyond that minimum.

We will also do the best we can given the constraints of time and resources to go beyond the major party candidates to expose our audience to other points of view.

There will be folks who think we should be more inclusive folks who think we should be less inclusive. To all of them I say that I respect your viewpoints; I think our policy best balances the interests of fostering open debate and creating good, compelling radio.


Comments (2)


I believe that this is public radio. Any candidate that has achieved the threshold to be put on the ballot should be included in debates on MPR. If not here where are we going to hear these voices? They haven't the money or the name recognition to get their voice out there and yet they have many ideas to add to the debate whether they have any chance of being elected or not.

Posted by Tom Smith | September 29, 2006 10:52 PM


Amen Tom! I find it ludicrous that even a place like MPR won't let the people hear the real truth. Every party that can field a candidate with support, has the right to let the people of the State of Minnesota know where they stand. MPR is even failing the people of Minnesota. Come on guys!

Posted by Scott | October 30, 2006 2:31 PM