LAS VEGAS (CN) – NBC Universal barred Dennis Kucinich from its Tuesday night debate here, after the Nevada Supreme Court overturned an injunction an hour before showtime. The ruling, however, limited the broadcast to cable channels, so the NBC affiliate in Las Vegas could not air the debate.
On Tuesday, NBC filed an emergency petition with the Nevada Supreme Court, claiming that a district judge did not have jurisdiction Tuesday morning when he ordered NBC to let Kucinich take part in the debate.
Kucinich sought and was granted an injunction on Monday that ordered NBC to let him appear. Kucinich said NBC invited him to the debate on Jan. 9, then withdrew the invitation on Jan. 11, saying it wanted only “the top 3 candidates.”
Kucinich claimed 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,” his original 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.”
Kucinich claimed NBC breached contract and breached its duties under Section 315 of the FCC Act. The state supreme court order restricting the broadcast to cable channels apparently was tailored to get around the FCC’s equal-time requirements.
NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi and co-sponsored the debate.