Fox News reports that Republican Federal Election Commission (FEC) commissioner Lee Goodman has confirmed that FEC Democrats voted last month to cite Fox News Channel for helping Republicans at the first GOP presidential debate Aug. 6, 2015 but were blocked by the Republicans.
Fox News initially planned to hold one debate with the top 10 candidates but changed the eligibility rules and added a second, undercard, with seven more candidates.
One of the candidates, Marke Everson, who did not make either debate, filed a complaint with the FEC, saying that by changing the rules to expand the debate, Fox News, which sponsored the debate, was making an illegal corporate contribution to the candidates in the debate in violation of federal election laws.
The Republican commissioners voted it down and no action was taken against Fox News, but Goodman, along with the two other Republican commissioners, called the Democrats' support of a sanction "astonishing," according to their statement on the decision. "All press organizations should be concerned when the government asserts regulatory authority to punish and censor news coverage."
Fox had told the FEC in response to the complaint that it "did not structure the debate to "promote or advance" one candidate over another."
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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