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Debate Exclusion is both a Threat to Democracy and Evidence of Rigged Elections

Updated: Oct 24, 2022

COLUMBIA, S.C. – After South Carolina’s public education broadcasting network worked with the Post & Courier to exclude Libertarian candidate Jessica Ethridge from the October 11th live broadcast of the Lieutenant Governor debate, SCETV is at it again.

“The ballot has three options for Governor and one of them is being ignored,” said Dr. Reeves. “It says more about how these two candidates would govern than all of the press conferences, social media, and advertising. They don’t want any other voices.”

Next week, SCETV in partnership with The Post & Courier will again host two-thirds of a ballot, this time in the contest for Governor. While the event is called a “debate” it appears the Cunningham and McMaster camps agree that the Libertarian Candidate Dr. Bruce Reeves shouldn’t be allowed to speak. Both candidates accepted invitations to the gubernatorial debate on October 26, 2022, an event Dr. Reeves was not invited to.

In the tribal political landscape of modern elections, Democrats lecture about the threats to democracy while rigging the system to benefit their own well-funded candidates. Republicans claim elections are rigged and then work to exclude challengers and protect incumbents. Worse yet, journalists, like The Post & Courier and SCETV, pretend to want transparency and accountability in government and then allow incumbents and advertisers to exclude outsiders.

“I’ve been responding to the debate questions on my social media channels to show the contrast between my ideas and the other candidates'. While the other candidates' positions are the same song played in different chords, we are writing a new song focused on solutions that center around liberty and community,” Mrs. Ethridge said. “We’re reaching more people and younger voters, and are focused on the future of our State. South Carolinians do not appreciate the barriers being erected by the establishment to keep them in the dark, and we cannot tolerate such corruption by the media that claims honesty and transparency in reporting.”

In an announcement on August 25, 2022, SCETV President and CEO Anthony Padgett said, “SCETV continues to cover elections, public policy and government officials, providing South Carolinians with unmatched governmental transparency. Through this partnership with The Post and Courier, we’re excited to have the opportunity to host and broadcast this gubernatorial debate, helping the citizens of this state be informed as they head to the polls.”

If the aim of the public education broadcasting network is to help citizens of the state be informed, why is the station excluding one third of the choices? When inclusion criteria was requested, SCETV did not respond.

There are no factions in South Carolina more committed to free speech and representation than the South Carolina Libertarian Party. SCLP candidates offer real alternatives to the toxic tribalism of duopoly. Then again, maybe informed voters isn’t really what SCETV, The Post & Courier, or either of the ruling parties actually want.

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