2010 Archives

Texas newspapers unite to hold debate


The following is from the August 30, 2010, edition of The Daily Texan. Political Science Professor Cal Jillson of SMU's Dedman College provided expertise for this story.

August 30, 2010

By Nolan Hicks
The Daily Texan Staff

Texas’ five largest newspapers and Austin’s PBS affiliate KLRU announced Friday that they will hold a gubernatorial debate at the Austin City Limits studio on the UT campus Oct. 19 — no matter who decides to come.

Neither candidate had agreed to attend before The Austin American-Statesman, The Dallas Morning News, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Houston Chronicle and The San Antonio Express-News announced it jointly in their newspapers, which marks a more aggressive position by the state’s major media outlets in an attempt to force the candidates to debate one another.

“I don’t think that negotiation [between the candidates] is going to end up in a debate as things now stand,” said Statesman Editor Fred Zipp. “Newspapers, being institutions dedicated to public service, have some chance to get some movement towards a debate if we took an active role.”

He said the goal of the joint announcement by the newspapers was to raise the stakes of the debate to the point where neither candidate would find it viable not to attend. . .

Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, thinks the newspapers might have managed to take the issue of debates out of the candidates hands.

“If the papers can provide a statewide television hook up, Perry will have no choice but to join the debate,” he said.

Read the full story.

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