The Christian Citizen USA®, dba Citizen USA, was rejected for media credentials for last night’s fourth and final debate for Ohio’s Governor’s race between Republican Ken Blackwell and Democrat Ted Strickland. The reason, according to Ohio News Now (ONN) Managing News Editor Don Taylor, a media outlet “taking an advocacy position… leaning one way or another in the campaign” did not receive credentials. Taylor told Citizen USA Publisher Pendra Lee Snyder that the list included four blog sites, a “newsletter” and the Citizen USA newspaper.
ONN is a statewide cable news network, and is playing host to tonight’s debate at the studios of WBNS TV (Channel 10) in Columbus, Ohio.
Snyder said, “It sounds to us that it’s our Judeo- Christian worldview that caused us to not get credentialed.”
According to an email from Taylor, “After reviewing the Citizen USA web site and discussing the situation, we are comfortable with our original decision that was presented during the walkthrough… to turn down the Citizen USA request for credentials.”
“So what is it about our web site ( www.citizenusa.us) that caused Mr. Taylor to think we are an advocacy organization?” asked Snyder. “We report news straight, including stories that get no play or are underplayed in the main stream press.”
“Maybe our story, with photos, on Strickland’s running mate, Lee Fisher riding in this year’s annual Gay Pride parade in Columbus is considered advocacy in some circles, but we think of it as ‘just the facts,’’’ said Snyder citing just one entry on the web site.
However, the current edition, not entirely on their web site yet, has a front-page story that some Republicans in Ohio think is too soft on Ted Strickland. “So now we are advocating for the Democrats? We just can’t win,” added Snyder.
The Citizen USA is a 22-year-old Ohio newspaper, owned by a small group of investors from across the country. While being only a monthly publication, it is looked upon by Values Voters across the state for news and information, especially during election cycles.
During the May primary, the Citizen USA published and distributed over 400,000 two special election editions. The second run of the Nov. election edition is currently being wrapped up for statewide circulation.
“The Citizen USA may be considered a small operation, but over the years our efforts have received national recognition. Why we were even credentialed by the John Kerry campaign back in the presidential season of the summer of 2000! The Citizen USA was also mentioned in articles in the Columbus Dispatch, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, The New Yorker Magazine, and on Bill Moyer’s PSA program NOW. Whomever determined we were not qualified to received credentialing for this final debate did so, I believe, on the basis of an anti-Judeo- Christian bias,” concluded Snyder.
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