Jill Stein accuses CNN of breaking the law in excluding her from presidential debate

Washington DC - Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) accusing CNN of violating corporate campaign contribution rules in excluding her from the first presidential debate.

Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing CNN of illegal activity in excluding her from the first 2024 presidential debate.
Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing CNN of illegal activity in excluding her from the first 2024 presidential debate.  © IMAGO / Avalon.red

"The media’s job is to impartially inform the voters about all the choices on their ballot, but what CNN is doing is a coordinated communication and prohibited corporate contribution to benefit two candidates to the exclusion of all others," Stein said in a press release.

The complaint, filed this week, accuses CNN of illegally coordinating with the establishment party frontrunners' campaigns in the planning of the debate – to the exclusion of outside candidates.

The network announced Thursday that incumbent Democratic President Joe Biden and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump had made the debate stage.

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CNN's debate qualification requirements state that by June 20, candidates must reach a polling threshold of 15% in at least four approved national polls and have gained ballot access in states with a combined total of at least 270 electoral college votes – the minimum required to win the presidency.

While Stein has not met the polling qualifications, she has reached the 270-vote threshold and is well on her way to nationwide ballot access.

The Green Party candidate noted that national polling is often conducted in a way to elevate Democrats and Republicans and obscure third-party and Independent contenders: "CNN and other major media outlets overwhelmingly frame the election as a two-candidate affair, marginalizing other candidates on the ballot, and then use biased polls to justify their own exclusion of these candidates from both coverage and debates."

"CNN's sham debate makes a mockery of the media’s responsibility to inform the public, and is particularly outrageous when 63% of US voters believe that the Democratic and Republican parties do such a poor job representing the people that a new major party is needed," she added, citing a September 2023 Gallup poll.

Dr. Jill Stein accuses CNN of imposing subjective debate qualification criteria

Dr. Jill Stein speaks at the People's Red Line protest in front of the White House, calling for an end to US support for Israel's attacks on Gaza.
Dr. Jill Stein speaks at the People's Red Line protest in front of the White House, calling for an end to US support for Israel's attacks on Gaza.  © Mattie Neretin / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Stein's complaint echoes that of Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who in late May launched a challenge to his exclusion from the CNN debate.

"[T]he public will be shown a carefully manicured, manufactured presentation of candidates from the two-party system which itself is actively engaged in removing independent and third-party candidates from state ballots," the Stein campaign alleges in its complaint.

"The only means of preventing further violation on June 27, 2024, is to require CNN to include Candidate Stein in the Debate, bar the imposition of subjective criteria such as polling results and establish new rules for the Debate independent of any candidate, committee, political party, or representative interest of the foregoing."

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The filing comes as the Green Party candidate pursues a nationwide effort to see an anti-genocide campaign on every state ballot come November. She has sought to draw a sharp contrast between her values and policy positions and Biden's continued support for Israel's massacre of Palestinians in Gaza. Trump and Kennedy have also expressed strong pro-Israel views."

The first presidential debate is scheduled for June 27 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Cover photo: IMAGO / Avalon.red

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