Fred Karger, the gay Republican who's vying for the GOP nomination for the presidency, has been picking up steam in the past few months. In a new Harris Interactive poll, he nabbed 2 percent of the vote from respondents who answered, "If you are a registered Republican or Independent, which of the following candidates would you be most likely to support for the Republican nomination for President in 2012?" The 2-percent standing in the Harris poll is comparable with that of John Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty.
Now, Karger is asserting that his progress should be treated the same as the other GOP candidates. Karger has contacted the news network about participating in a debate among presidential candidates on August 11 in Ames, Iowa. He meets all of the rules that the network has in place for the debates, but Fox News is now declining his request to participate.
Per the rules of the network, debate participants must complete three tasks before August 9 in order to participate:
1. Registered with the Federal Elections Commission as a presidential exploratory committee or presidential campaign.
2. Meet all U.S. Constitutional requirements.
3. Garnered at least an average of one percent in five national polls based on most recent polling leading up to the registration day.
OutQ News has more information on Fox's rejection of Karger's request.
In a statement to OutQ News, Fox News's Vice President of News Michael Clemente says that three of the polls Karger refers to are ONLINE surveys, which do NOT meet their criteria. The channel also rejected another poll in which Karger received less than one-percent, saying the threshold is exactly one-percent. [...]
But Karger tells OutQ News it "may come down to attorneys now" if Fox News continues to deny his participation.
"I contend they are creating these rules, making a subjective criteria as opposed to objective criteria, and the law is very specific on that," [Karger said].
Karger says the online polls--conducted by Zogby and Harris Interactive, respectively--are still professional surveys that should be included.
It's unclear whether this is an issue of homophobia, if the "gay Republican" combination is just too much for the news network to handle and try to explain away, or if it's something else entirely. But while I don't agree at all with Karger's politics, if Fox News is giving other candidates who have also qualified for the debates their enormous, powerful platform, they need to provide it for Karger, too. The man is qualified to run for president, and if he meets the network's own requirements, there should be no question.
Once again, of course, Fox's "fair and balanced" slogan is demonstrably transparent.