“ABC Network will decline this and any other opportunities to sell any political candidate time in this or any other debate. Under FCC rules, we are not required to sell time to candidates within or adjacent to any news programs, or we can sell time in certain news programs but not others. Based on this, ABC Network NEWS is taking the position that we will not sell any political candidate time in political debates, just as we do not sell candidate time within World News Tonight or the first hour of Good Morning America. Again, thank you for expressing interest for our upcoming debate.”Setting aside the question as to whether the Fiorina campaign could afford the national ad time it was requesting, as one unaligned GOP consultant questioned to Roll Call, the Fiorina campaign claims that the rule doesn’t apply equally when every other candidates gets “two hours of free air time,” and is trying to milk a storyline that the media is out to get Fiorina. But the fact that she was the only one left off the stage is both technically not true (where art thou Jim Gilmore?) and a simple function of a handful of candidates dropping out of the race. And “ABC” did sell her ad time during the debate. It’s not hard to make the case that the Republican Party could benefit from Fiorina’s presence on the stage as the only woman in the race, but the notion that “ABC” bent over backwards to make sure she didn’t have a voice on Saturday night just doesn’t match reality.
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