When Fox 45 chose to go ahead with a gubernatorial debate without the perceived front-runner, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, and took aim at him throughout the entire debate for not being present with an empty lectern and a lower-third scroll blasting him, they went against the same principle that prevented them from offering Baltimore area residents the one televised mayoral debate in 2011 ("The empty podium," May 29).
During that election cycle, I personally organized a mayoral debate with Fox 45 as a part of the VoteYoung2011 campaign. Each of the mayoral candidates had agreed to participate including Senator Catherine E. Pugh, Jody Landers, Frank Conaway and Otis Rolley with the single exception of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake who refused to participate in the debate based on my involvement in organizing the event.
The other candidates wanted to go ahead with the debate anyway with an empty lectern to reflect the absent mayor. However, the general manager of Fox 45 decided against it because, as he said, "it doesn't make for good television." We later found out that Mayor Rawlings-Blake threatened to pull her advertising dollars from the station if they moved forward with the debate without her. Instead, Fox 45 bowed to the wishes of the powers-to-be agreeing to air a Maryland Public Television debate on their broadcast and negotiated to have one of their on-air personalities as one of the three panelists.
However, for the station to hold Mr. Brown to a different standard and to continuously berate his campaign for not showing up has to be the most hypocritical actions taken by a traditional media outlet to date. Mr. Brown certainly could have shown up and taken the opportunity to address the thousands of undecided voters, but I, for one, am glad he chose to stick to principle instead of bowing down to the political pressures of his opponents.
Hassan Giordano, Baltimore