Arizona PBS scheduled a 30-minute-long interview with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs for next Tuesday after Hobbs originally declined to do a debate through the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission.
The station booked this separate from the commission, even though they normally collaborate on debates and town halls for elections, journalist Hank Stephenson reported Wednesday.
— Brahm Resnik (@brahmresnik) October 12, 2022
For example, Lake is scheduled for an Arizona PBS/Clean Elections town hall on Wednesday night.
“We don’t have any information about PBS’ decision-making,” the commission said, according to 12 News reporter Brahm Resnik.
An Arizona PBS spokesperson confirmed the event to Stephenson, and said that “It is our responsibility to serve the public here in Arizona and to provide them with access to any and all candidates in this election.”
And with that, I’m logging back out today. pic.twitter.com/Fc2riS3tRq
— Hank Stephenson (@hankdeanlight) October 12, 2022
Lake’s campaign released a statement saying it’s a “slap in the face to the commissioners of the [Clean Elections Commission].”
“We just learned hours before airtime of tonight’s Clean Elections Commission debate that PBS has unilaterally caved to Katie Hobbs’ demands and bailed her out from the consequences of her cowardly decision to avoid debating me on stage. As the CEC’s broadcast partner, PBS’ actions are a slap in the face to the commissioners of the CEC and a betrayal of their efforts to put on an actual debate. Remember, the CEC specifically voted against Katie Hobbs’ demand for her own one-on-one interview, but PBS went behind the CEC’s backs and agreed to give her one anyway. That’s because PBS, a supposedly-objective taxpayer-funded entity, is working overtime to help elect Katie Hobbs, who needs all the help she can get. PBS has now become complicit in Katie Hobbs’ attempt to destroy twenty years of gubernatorial debate tradition. We are actively working with the Clean Elections Commission and we continue to push for an opportunity for a real debate with both candidates on stage.”
Update: The Arizona Clean Elections Commission has now issued a statement, including an announcement that the Q&A scheduled with Kari Lake for Wednesday night has been postponed:
— AZ Clean Elections (@AZCCEC) October 12, 2022