Union Leader, MSNBC Go Rogue With Dem Debate

Related: Trump: I 'Probably Won't Bother to Do' Fox Debate

The New Hampshire Union Leader is hosting a Democratic presidential debate Feb. 4 on MSNBC, which will provide the moderators--Meet the Press host Chuck Todd and MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow.

It is not one of the DNC-sanctioned events and it was not clear who would be participating beyond Martin O'Malley, the distant third in the race behind Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, who will reportedly participate according to BuzzFeed, which broke the story.

There has been criticism of the way the DNC has handled the debates so far, particularly scheduling them on weekends when viewership could be expected to be lower.

CNN hosted a Democratic town hall meeting Monday, but that was more a serial interview with the three candidates rather a chance to mix it up.

"Our readers have demanded a debate to help them see who is most fit to be the Democratic nominee for President," said Joseph W. McQuaid, president and publisher of the Union Leader on the paper's Web site. "We were always concerned that this would have been the first time in 32 years without a Democratic debate before the New Hampshire primary. We are glad to partner with MSNBC to ensure Granite Staters have the information they need to make a critical decision on Feb. 9."

Co-owned NBC was booted from a Feb. 25 GOP debate in Houston over RNC issues with how the GOP candidates were treated in an MSNBC-sponsored debate, though Republicans are equal opportunity debate critics with Donald Trump saying he may not participate in this week's (Jan. 28) GOP debate on Fox--he has been critical of moderator Megyn Kelly's tough questions in the previous Fox-sponsored GOP debate. "Megan can not contain her bias, it's in every show," he tweeted Tuesday, then later signaled he was polling followers about whether he should participate in the debate.

ABC and WMUR TV there are hosting a GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire Feb. 6.

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.