Is this democracy?

Sep 15, 2022

Is this democracy?

An open letter to Maryland news outlets

Joe Biden and the Democratic Party, including Wes Moore, have been proclaiming that they are the true and sole champions of democracy. The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post likewise proclaim in their mastheads that they are the light that will keep democracy from dying. Maryland Public Television (MPT) justifies its tens of millions of public funding on basis of its devotion to promoting seldom-heard voices to the Maryland community.

And yet Maryland’s news outlets with very, very few exceptions are telling Maryland voters that they have only two choices for our next Governor. MPT in tandem with WBAL TV-11 and The Baltimore Sun is preventing Maryland voters from hearing from alternatives to the Ds and Rs in the MPT / NBC debate on October 12.

This, despite me as Libertarian candidate for Governor being:

  1. Declared by Governor Larry Hogan to be more qualified than both Wes Moore and Dan Cox.
  2. Declared by Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford to be promoting ideas that are more interesting than those coming from both Wes Moore and Dan Cox.
  3. Declared by leading American socialist, Jerome Segal, to possess the character and capacity for reasoned dialog that these divisive times demand from Maryland’s next Governor.
  4. Thanked time and again by sponsors and moderators of gubernatorial forums during primary season for bringing a civil voice and thoughtful ideas to the discussion of Maryland’s most pressing issues.
  5. Differentiated from Wes Moore and Dan Cox by being a non-combatant in the political holy war between the Ds and Rs, which holy war has caused 50% to 65% of voters to say they want to hear from third-party candidates.
  6. Differentiated from Wes Moore and Dan Cox by bringing relevant experience and accomplishment that makes me uniquely versed in how the Maryland economy actually works; in how the Maryland government actually works. As conveyed only in part in this endorsement.

How, then, is my exclusion from both Maryland’s news coverage and the MPT / NBC debate justified, using qualification for office along with voter interest as the criteria?

The occasional editor or producer, including MPT in a phone call last week, does at least possess the honesty to answer that, “You can’t win, so we won’t cover you.”

But how does it serve a proper democracy for a privileged few in the media to decide which candidates on the election ballot are worthy to be heard and considered by Maryland voters? How does it serve our community for the media gatekeepers to squelch the seldom-heard and lesser-funded voices in the civic conversation about Maryland’s next Governor?

And if the Democratic Party and Wes Moore are presenting themselves as the true and sole champions of democracy, why is no one in the media asking Moore about:

  1. The attempted Maryland Democratic Party gerrymandering earlier this year?
  2. The Democratic Party funding, somewhere between $1M and $3M, of advertising for MAGA Dan Cox’s primary campaign even though Wes Moore stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Joe Biden in calling MAGA Republicans an existential threat to our democracy?
  3. The arbitrary and undemocratic exclusion of third-party candidates from the MPT / WBAL debate stage, despite a majority of voters saying they want at least to hear from third parties?

Is this democracy? Is it journalism? Is it why you yourself entered your profession?

The answers are: No, no, and surely not. So, for the sake of democracy… for the sake of fidelity to journalistic ethics… for the sake of the 2022 decision being an election rather than a coronation, don’t you think it is time to start covering and including the alternatives to Wes Moore and Dan Cox for Maryland’s next Governor? Me for one. But Nancy Wallace from the Green Party and David Harding from the Working Class Party as well.

Calling to your conscience in the cause of a proper democracy and a better Maryland for all,

David Lashar
Maryland’s principled, accomplished, and civil option for Governor

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