Reform America Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2000
National Youth Reform Organization Calls for Boycott of PBS
PBS Denies Air Time to Alternative Voices;
Now All Voices Deny Money and Viewers to PBS
Washington, DC -- Reform America, an all-partisan non-profit organization devoted to developing the leadership skills of young Americans while engaging them and their peers in democratic reform movements, has called for a full-scale boycott of the Public Broadcast Station (PBS).
"This is a travesty that cannot be tolerated," says Thomas Bryer, Executive Director of Reform America. "Public airwaves supported by 'viewers like you' that deny air time to candidates for public office are not acting in the public interest."
Bryer is referring to PBS' programming decision that granted 2 ½ minutes of free airtime to presidential candidates following the "News Hour with Jim Lehrer" between October 25 and November 3. PBS set two criteria for inclusion in this program: 1) a candidate must be on the ballot in enough states to mathematically have chance of victory, and 2) a candidate has to show support of at least 5% averaged across five national news media organization polls.
This initiative denied free airtime to alternative party candidates Ralph Nader (Green Party), Harry Browne (Libertarian Party), Howard Phillips (Constitution Party), John Hagelin (Natural Law Party), and Pat Buchanan (Reform Party), all of whom are on enough state ballots to have a mathematical chance of victory in the electoral college. "Indeed," says Mr. Bryer, "each of these candidates has a groundswell of support and that support grows every time they have a chance to speak before an audience."
"The media needs to stop promoting inequality in elections and open up its airwaves to every candidate. This is especially true of a station like PBS," adds Patricia Tarabelsi, Chair of Reform America. At time of writing approximately 2500 voters expressed this very sentiment in an online petition at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/nader/petition.html.
The boycott will continue until PBS publicly and visibly admits that they erred in their decision to exclude alternative party candidates and failed in their mission to serve the public interest.
"I have long been a supporter of PBS," says Thomas Bryer. "I've given them money and always look forward to their arts and children's programming. We've given them the chance with a petition and hundreds of phone calls and faxes to reverse their decision. They have not. We now have no choice but to boycott."
Reform America, Inc. (RAI) has been formed with the purpose of developing the leadership skills of young Americans while engaging the public in the political and voting process. RAI is committed to engaging the young people of America in a drive towards reforming the voting systems and other entrenched but undemocratic institutional procedures in the United States. RAI is determined to show the country that America's youth are ready to make a difference where it counts.
Reform America, Inc.