Media

More Messages: The Major and the Minor

Paul Fiorino's got a gripe. He's an unaffiliated candidate for governor whose name will appear on ballots in November; his spartan website can be accessed here. Nonetheless, the majority of media organizations won't give him the time of day. "I feel discriminated against, frankly," he says. "I feel like someone who doesn't count."

Fiorino's complaints echo those that sound prior to every election. News outlets focus their coverage on hopefuls given the Republican or Democratic stamp of approval for an understandable reason: They have a viable chance to win. However, this decision leaves so-called minor-party candidates like Fiorino on the outside looking in.

Granted, Fiorino, an arts advocate who landed on the ballot after collecting the required 1,000 signatures, isn't upset at every news organization in town. He applauds the Rocky Mountain News and Channel 6 for at least mentioning his existence on a number of occasions, and gives a thumbs-up to Adam Schrager of Channel 9. Also rating highly in his estimation is KCFR, Colorado Public Radio's flagship station. Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner conducted a lengthy interview with him that aired on October 9, and in it, Fiorino shared positions that succinctly explain why most signals have treated him like a fringe figure. When talking about health care, for example, he said, "People get sick, I believe, because they contain things within themselves that need to be expressed." Later, he declared that "dance in itself could turn the tide in the pandemic of obesity that we have."

Reporting about Fiorino's campaign doesn't end there, but close. He notes that Channel 7 has "given us a two-minute video clip on The Denver Channel [the station's website]. Two minutes is basically a sound bite, and you get to look at my funny face. Other than that, it's been pretty grim as far as coverage, or even being included in debates."

The most recent debate to include him was an October 6 get-together at Belmar, Fiorino says. Not that the collected journalists paid much attention. "You had all the press there when Beauprez and Ritter were speaking," he points out. "Then, all of a sudden, I go to speak and the whole room clears out."

Who says a minor-party candidate can't move the media? -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts