LAS VEGAS (CN) – Lawyers representing NBC Universal today filed an emergency petition with the Nevada Supreme Court asking that Dennis Kucinich be barred from tonight’s Democratic candidates’ presidential debate. NBC claims that a district judge did not have jurisdiction this morning when he ordered NBC to let Kucinich take part in the debate. The Nevada Supreme Court was expected to make a decision today. Click headline to see this morning’s CNS story. See NBC’s appeal.
LAS VEGAS (CN) – Dennis Kucinich sued NBC Universal on Monday, demanding that it allow him to participate in tonight’s televised debate. Kucinich says NBC invited him to the debate on Jan. 9, then withdrew the invitation on Jan. 11, saying it wanted only “the top 3 candidates.” He claims NBC’s rejection “is effectively an endorsement of the candidates selected by NBC.”
“Kucinich is the only Democratic presidential candidate who has qualified for Federal matching funds who is being excluded by NBC,” the complaint states. “The Debate is not a true presidential primary debate without including all credible candidates, but instead is effectively an endorsement of the candidates selected by NBC. In addition, if NBC is given the liberty to designate every appearance with two candidates as ‘news,’ then no third candidate will have the ability to enforce the equal time requirement, which is inconsistent with the intent of Congress in enacting Section 315.
“Although NBC would prefer to only report on easily described and well-known candidates, the proper enforcement of the Federal Communications Act ensures America’s voters that they will have the ability to vote for candidates with carried and new ideas and policies.”
He claims NBC breached contract and breached its duties under Section 315 of the FCC Act. He demands a restraining order and injunction allowing him to participate in tonight’s debate, and specific performance of NBC’s “contractual obligations,” i.e., its invitation to the debate.
NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi and is televising and co-sponsoring the debate.