One week before what’s shaping up to be an historic presidential election, Tavis Smiley on PBS will host a presidential forum featuring the third party candidates, Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party.
This forum will be taped live Monday, October 31, 2016, in the show’s Los Angeles studio and air on Tavis Smiley over two nights next week on Monday evening and Tuesday, November 1 on PBS. An additional thirty (30) minute conversation, with questions selected entirely from social media will be available exclusively online at the Tavis Smiley PBS website.
Viewers may submit questions to the candidates via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using the hashtags: #TavisSmileyForum, #AskJill or #AskGary.
Stein and Johnson were shut out of the official presidential debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a private corporation controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties, for falling short of the 15% polling threshold set by the Commission as a requirement for participation. The Stein/Baraka campaign considers the 15% polling barrier to be illegitimate, and has called vociferously for the debates to be open to candidates who are on ballots in enough states to achieve 270 electoral college votes.
"The arbitrary criteria set by the secretive CPD," noted Stein in a recent op-ed for The Hill, "are not designed to exclude 'non-viable candidates', but rather to prevent any candidate outside the Democratic-Republican duopoly from becoming viable in the eyes of the public."
A USA Today poll found that 76% of voters in the United States wanted a four-candidate debate that includes Jill Stein and Gary Johnson.
This breakthrough third-party forum on Tavis Smiley on PBS will be the first time Stein and Johnson will be featured together on broadcast television. It represents an unprecedented opportunity for the American people to hear about more voices and more choices in the presidential election, in which the extremely unbalanced nature of news coverage has resulted in an effective media blackout on third-party candidates.
"The two corporate parties have gotten literally 20,000 times more coverage than the Green Party and Libertarian Party. And even with that blackout, 57% of the American people want a new political party," commented David Cobb, campaign manager for the Stein/Baraka campaign. "And it is easy to understand, because alternative political parties have played a critical role in US history - by advocating for the abolition of slavery, women's suffrage, the creation of Social Security and Unemployment Insurance and Workers Compensation, the end of child labor and the 40 hour work week, the direct election of US Senators. The entire fabric of what we consider a just and compassionate society was woven thread by thread by alternative parties. So if Americans really want systemic change (and polls say they do), then they have to vote for the candidates who are advocating real change - and that is Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka."
For local airing times: pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley