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Not On Your Side




Channel 2 WGRZ-TV un-vites me from debate because I write satire

I got another letter today from local NBC affiliate WGRZ–this time it was unopened, in the mailbox.  It reads:

As you are aware, WGRZ-TV and the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle invited the candidates for the 26th congressional district to a debate at the WGRZ-TV studios on May 12th. In fact, after a certified letter to your business, the Buffalo Beast, was returned to our station, we sent Scott Levin to your home to personally make sure you were given every opportunity to respond and participate.

Yes, I recall that letter. Dated April 15th, received April 28th, requiring RSVP by April 30th, which fell on a Saturday. So I was given every opportunity to respond in one day.  I did that. The letter continues:

Since the letters were mailed to all four candidates, two major situations have developed. First, a Siena poll shows you garnering only 1% of the vote, while the other three candidates have substantially higher and much closer poll numbers. The Siena poll would indicate you are not considered a serious candidate by the residents of the district.

Fair enough, I’m shit in the polls. No surprise there. Radical atheist, leftist, socialist not polling well in blood-red NY-26. However, this doesn’t speak to my seriousness as a candidate. It only speaks to my relatively unpopular positions. I advocate Medicare for all; I advocate taxing the rich; I advocate ending these pointless wars in which we’re engaged. These are unpopular ideas in my district. That, however, does not mean they are not serious positions. What else then?

That indication was supported this past weekend with your latest post on your latest Buffalo Beast blog, dated April 29th. In that blog, you wrote about Scott delivering you the invitation, and refer to Scott as a “tall, orange robot.” You wrote that you were “stoned,” and “a little drunk.” You referred to Scott Levin’s face as “covered with wierd [sic] orange puddy?” You made crude references to the condition of your home. You also greatly distorted the conversation you had with Scott to the point of turning it into a vulgar satire.

Whoa! Hold on now! A satire writer writing satire?! How fucking dare I?

You make it clear in the way you present yourself that you are not a serious candidate in this race. WGRZ-TV, the other candidates, and the residents of the 26th congressional district ARE taking this race seriously. As such, we no longer offer you an invitation to the May 12th debate.

Best regards,
Jeff Woodard
News Director

Shit. I barely know how to respond to this. It was pretty clear from the timing of the original, opened, letter that I was somewhat less than welcome. It’s also pretty clear that if calling their orange news robot orange was enough to get me booted, they would have used any excuse to exclude me.

And that 1%? Well, WGRZ-TV, it’s not your fucking job to interpret poll numbers. It’s not your fucking job to censor one of the candidates. It’s not your fucking job to tell people who is and who is not a “serious” candidate. It’s just not your fucking job. In case you forgot, your fucking job is to present all the information available to your viewers, on any given subject, and let them decide. That is your fucking job. And, you know what? Maybe I’d have a little more than 1% if the local media did its fucking job to begin with.

Like me or not, what WGRZ-TV has done here is an insult to our democracy. Local news stations, no matter how awful, have no business excluding someone who is officially on the ballot from taking part in a debate. Since, for the most part, the local media has not done its fucking job, this debate was one of the few opportunities for me to speak directly to the residents of NY-26. But WGRZ-TV doesn’t think much of folks around here, apparently. Not enough to let them decide for themselves, anyway.

At any rate, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Scott Levin. Scott, you are very orange. This is not in dispute. But calling you a robot was wrong. You’re at least partially human. Cyborgs have it rough in our society, and I didn’t mean to pigeonhole you in with fleshless robots. Robots are never that orange. I should have known.

I have a local CBS affiliate interview to do. Later.


  • p j

    Your calm and measured restraint under the circumstances is to be commended. The subtlety of your rebuttal is beyond their comprehension. What they are attempting to do to you and to our republic is just wrong.

  • http://brucegoff-castle-bandb.com Glen Etzkorn

    When the wished you best wishes were they being satirical or just sicko fascists?

  • http://anteprepro.xanga.com/weblog/ Anteprepro

    Wow. They won’t let you on the T.V. screen because you had a comedic slant to your writing on a blog with a comedic slant. Is this the beginning of a new era in politics? Where we hunt down candidate’s youtube comments to make sure that there a sufficiently low level of jokes?

    As for refusing to cover someone because they are too low in the polls: This is why our country can never have nice things (a viable third party candidate).

  • Eric G

    According to the article, http://www.buffalonews.com/topics/chris-lee/article413783.ece, it appears Ian will debate!

  • GeorgeW

    You have contacted the other TV stations in the same viewing area and asked them to join you as you crash the party, have you not? One night in the pokey (don’t worry, they don’t poke in the local pokey like they do in State Prison) can have you polling at 5% if you keep your cards close to your chest. Go for it man, WNY needs a big fat kick in it’s racist, homophobic, shitty ass Sabres ass!

  • Jane Corwin

    2 is not on my side. I called to point out the conditions of sidewalks and streets. They told me they don’t care about the dirty south and that the place is full of racists leperchauns that sliped GHB in Lydia’s drink (the girl who does the lunchtime show that shows old happy days and cheers on channel 2), so that they could careless about south Buffalo and hopes it falls off Buffalo into Lackawanna only to be taken over by terrorist from Lackawanna.

    Everybody hates South Buffalo because of our current spokesperson Carl Paladino.

  • Albert

    The truth is Ian is NOT a serious candidate. He makes a mockery of the system. I’m surprised the Green Party endorsed him! Let’s not forget Ian cursed several times during a recent radio interview. Remember, WGRZ has a license to protect here. There’s no sense in bringing on a crude candidate to disrupt the debate, not only because he has NO chance of winning… but because he isn’t trying to win. He is NOT campaigning. He is NOT serious. He just wants to get hits on his stupid Web site and irritate people. Get a life and stop bitching!

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  • http://anteprepro.xanga.com/weblog/ Anteprepro

    What qualifies as campaigning and why the fuck does cursing count as disruptive and unserious? In my book, you aren’t serious if you aren’t willing to curse when cursing is warranted. If mocking the system disqualifies a candidate, then please explain how the Republican party isn’t entirely discarded, right now, when virtually every politician they churn out mocks government and the current role of politicians in it.

    So, Albert, might I suggest that you take your own advice and shut the fuck up? Or do I need to be represented by one of the two major parties, crack zero jokes about the political process and government, and only say “fuck” when quoting Dick Cheney before I can be considered sufficiently serious enough that people should be allowed to read my comment?

  • J. Hiroshi Burnette

    Well Ian, better men than you have been excluded from debates (yeah, I’m talking about Ralph Nader), but as long as you’re sticking to your anti gas well hydro-fracking platform, you’ve got my vote. Since Big Corporate Jane’s gonna win anyway, why not try to push a Greenie up over the 5% mark, so the Dems evolve and develop some spine (instead of waffling, rolling over in a “compromise”, and then blaming the Greens).

    Corporate American TV would call a gold plated turd a “serious candidate”, rather than giving a turd coated gem a shot at substantive policy. Of course turning down the LWV to form a bi-partisan commission to host debates to the exclusion of Nader (a gold plated gem) is unforgivable.

  • http://n/a CMBarons

    So the Rochester D&C (the abbreviation better captures their treatment of news) is tied to this travesty of journalism…not hard to imagine. When I ran for the 139th Assembly last year their reporter who phone-interviewed me did nothing but disparage the Green Party (of which I am a member). It can only be concluded the respective advertising departments determine editorial policy for these fraudulent impersonators of the fifth estate.

  • https://bohemianwriter1.wordpress.com/ Bohemianwriter1

    It seems that satirists do not have a place in the circus called “political campaigning”.

    They might have gotten nervous about the notion that you are smarter than them and would make a mockery of their freak show.

    Soon satire will be labelled as inflammatory hate speech. Specially if the fundies will have their way.

    Excellent article. It is almost as if I should have written it myself…. :-)




  • http://odikhmantievich.blogspot.com/ Odikhmantievich

    So write a story showing why the other candidates are an even bigger joke.

  • hannibal lecter

    Channel 2 is f@%&ing clown shoes! Buffalo’s corruptness gives the waterfront its unique smell.Buffalo is a rotten husk of what could have been,where dreams go to die a horrible death.And scott levin is an orange narcissistic dickless robotic automaton douchebag!

    • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com/ Josh Bunting

      We’re gonna make WGRZ eat our shit, then shit out our shit, and then eat their shit which is made up of our shit that we made ‘em eat. And then all you mother fucks are next.

  • Dave

    @ Albert: I don’t care if Ian is a serious candidate or not. He’d make a much better representative than any of the 3 “serious candidates”.

  • http://? Magwheels

    i dont think this matter is the type of thing a softball game is going to be able to solve. This matter has the complexities of a game of spin the bottle. Spin the Bottle is not only the most gentlemanly of ways to kiss other dudes, but you can get away with it without the fear of being called a homosexual because the integrity of the game is at stake… this is the most efficient way to draw even the most conservative of rightists out of hiding: they’ll even bring the bottle. ****must be underage white males to git sum

  • Magwheels

    Bring the Beast East! I have to say, Buffalo reallllly sucks. Albany? sucks. basically everything north of the Bronx is full of hicks…. do you really need a website to tell people that? Buffalo will always suck, come help out with long island! at least its nice here, and its obviously worth saving. if buffalo got destroyed im not sure that anyone at all would notice

  • Magwheels

    hmm… well i suppose long island isnt mant notches further up than upstate, but i do have the feeling that should we wash out to sea, not only the Islanders and commuters would be lost, but chances are wherever you get the money you use to pay for that internet connection? yeah, indirectly or directly someone that lives in Nassau of Suffolk county is responsible for paying you the money you need. So i think you better go buy a Tavares jersey, pray Charles Wang keeps the Islanders at Nassau coliseum because if it sucks for US, it REALLLY is gonna suck for you. :) save 631/516! burn alll the farmland/hicks above the Bronx. and you LOOOVE my accent you patheticly poor sad sad person.

  • Magwheels

    oh and BTW, long island was included in super accurate detail by Thomas Jefferson when the gov’t paid him to make them a map of the colonies, and I really doubt if my man TJ cared about buffalo… sorry. PLUS we make the best lacrosse players in the world! so you couldnt watch you beloved syracuse Orange whoop butt ne more :(

  • Magwheels

    Someone’s a bit butt-hurt. Are you seriously still carrying on Yeah? You do realize Kings(Brooklyn) and Queens counties as WELL as Nassau and Suffolk counties are on Long Island.. right? And no, I didn’t start much of anything. I said, rather innocently i might add, that we need the Beast down here cos we have about 300000 more republicans down state (upon further contemplation there’s just so many more people here, therefore i am correct almost by default) and perhaps may have been slightly passive-aggressive, but chill guy. go scroll up and blow off some of that steam, and please leave me alone… tool.

  • Magwheels

    I just read your attempt at mocking me, I got sucked in cos i saw you used a lot of clever spaces and punctuation. I’ll address it even though clearly you are 15-20 years older than you should be to still be sitting in Mommy’s basement… but don’t twist things to suit your argument, i was OBVIOUSLY using the whole internet connection thing as a low-blow to make reference to the likely-hood that most of your money (unemployment, welfare, etc.) comes from taxpayers in the higher tax brackets, and in THIS state where do you think many of them live Yeah? aside from Westchester I’d say there are almost NO people with money up there, and from the way you spoke so vaguely about Long Island’s “architecture” it’s quite obvious you’ve never even BEEN here. So again, suck it.

  • yeah

    no, no, i got your ignorant attempt at stirring up class conflict. oh, and i have been to long island trust me…..too many times. so, funny how you don’t call out people in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, you know actual parts of New York City for “being on welfare.” Funny isnt it, because the city is “cool” I get it, you would like so much to link yourself directly with those places, but you really can’t.

    And you’re a full blown idiot if you think everyone outside of Long Island is actually on “welfare,” or some other “horrible” “socialistic government program” funny how you sound a lot like the republicans you seem to be railing against eh….

    hypocrite much…

  • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com/ Josh Bunting

    Anyone who’s still reading these should know that “Wheelhouse” and “Yeah” is the same person, talking to themself. A new low for sock puppets everywhere.

  • Magwheels

    dude, get a job. btw Syracuse (your team) Maryland is going to be on ESPNU and ESPN3 at noon tomorrow!

  • Magwheels

    if there arent any up there, i suggest moving down to Long Island ;)

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