Presidential Candidate Alan Keyes Blames Media for His Exclusion from Debate

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NBC Today Show
Matt Lauer
Event Date:
03/03/1996, 03/04/1996
Air/Publish Date:
Resource Type:
Video News Report
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
Copyright Date:
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Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes blames the media for not being invited to the 1996 Presidential debates, and claims that the integrity of the political process has been destroyed.



"Presidential Candidate Alan Keyes Blames Media for His Exclusion from Debate." Matt Lauer, correspondent. NBC Today Show. NBCUniversal Media. 4 Mar. 1996. NBC Learn. Web. 11 January 2020.


Lauer, M. (Reporter). (1996, March 4). Presidential Candidate Alan Keyes Blames Media for His Exclusion from Debate. [Television series episode]. NBC Today Show. Retrieved from


"Presidential Candidate Alan Keyes Blames Media for His Exclusion from Debate" NBC Today Show, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 03/04/1996. Accessed Sat Jan 11 2020 from NBC Learn:


Presidential Candidate Alan Keyes Blames Media for His Exclusion from Debates


Alan Keyes was not invited to the debate yesterday. He twice tried to force his way into the building where that debate was held. He was detained by police for 20 minutes. Mr. Keyes joins us this morning from Atlanta.

Mr. Keyes, good morning.

Mr. ALAN KEYES (Republican Presidential Candidate): Good morning. How are you?

LAUER: I'm fine. You were--the head of the Republican Party in Georgia has said he's never been so embarrassed by such an episode. Do you plan to take action against WSB-TV? Do you plan legal action?

Mr. KEYES: Oh, we're certainly contemplating that, and the lawyers are looking at it. They have absolutely no right under the law or under our constitutional principles to be biased and manipulating the electoral process by selecting whose message gets through to the people of Georgia. And the fact that I am talking about issues that are so important to people, family renewal, the renewal of our ability to raise decent children without the destructive policies of welfare, without destructive income tax, without the destruction that is being wrought in our schools through all kinds of immoral educational policies, I think those are things that a lot of people care about deeply, in Georgia and all over the South.

LAUER: Mr. Keyes, why can't the television station say, `Hey, we're only going to invite the top four contenders.' Why can't they limit the—the forum to people who have a realistic chance of attracting a sizable vote?

Mr. KEYES: Nobody knows who has a realistic chance. First, they bar you from communicating with the public, as the media censors have throughout this campaign process with respect to the Keyes campaign. Then they say you're not performing well, so they bar you from communicating with the public. Is this America or the Soviet Union? Party bosses and media bosses should not be allowed to select candidates in America. That is up to the people. And the law requires that media outlets can—be effectively neutral in political contests. This was not neutrality. This was an effort to manipulate the outcome, and to force the people of Georgia to vote for certain candidates by refusing to allow them to hear from others.

LAUER: It--it certainly...

Mr. KEYES: That destroys the integrity of the political process.

LAUER: It certainly was an embarrassing event. Was it only embarrassing for WSB-TV? Was it also embarrassing for the Republican Party? And what about the city of Atlanta?

Mr. KEYES: Well, I think it was mainly embarrassing for the media and WSB-TV. It has brought out into the open the covert media censorship that has been going on throughout this campaign. The refusal to communicate to the American people my presence in the race, my message, I think, has been throughout the campaign. Rush Limbaugh's commented about it.

LAUER: I know.

Mr. KEYES: There've been cartoons about it, and now overtly done by this television station in contravention...

LAUER: All right.

Mr. KEYES: ...of its license. This is a disgrace to American democracy, but it's also a threat to the freedom of this country.

LAUER: All right, Mr. Keyes.

Mr. KEYES: If we don't hear from all the candidates, the elections are biased shams.

LAUER: And we thank you for joining us this morning. Alan Keyes in


Mr. KEYES: Glad to be here.