The Libertarian candidate has been excluded from many mainstream media debates.
By Keli Sipperley
Special to USF.edu News
TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 24, 2010) – “I will be in the game until we have liberty or I'm dead,” U.S. Senate candidate Alex Snitker told a small crowd of University of South Florida students recently.
"I want to be part of the generation that fixes (the government)."
Wait, Alex who?
"If you get all your news from the (mainstream) media, you've probably never heard of me," said Snitker, a Libertarian candidate.
But that hasn't stopped him from waging a grass-roots campaign to get his message out.
The little coverage Snitker's campaign has received has been focused on the lack of media coverage and his exclusion from several debates.
For example: (links embedded)
Politifact: "True, Snitker has been virtually ignored by the major media."
St. Petersburg Times columnist Howard Troxler: "Even we won't let him talk."
Snitker crashes forum, asks Florida Society of Editors why they won't let him speak (filmed by WMNF News 17 June 2010 Sarasota
In an open letter to Republican Mitt Romney that appears on his website, Snitker writes, "Regular Americans are running for public office as third-party candidates, not because of a lust for power, but because of a sense of duty to preserve liberty for ourselves and our posterity."
But waging a campaign as a "regular American" is no easy task when the media ignores you, citing a lack of fundraising or negligible poll numbers.
The candidate didn’t fare any better at the debates held at the University of South Florida on Sunday. Snitker, joined by a handful of supporters, set up outside the Marshall Student Center to protest, as the group has done for other debates.
“We’re going to be here doing this today…letting our voices be heard as much as possible,” he said.
“I am appalled Alex Snitker is not in this debate,” said Rachel Horne of Plant City. " He has proven himself to be a legitimate, viable candidate. I’m very disappointed in that type of media bias.”
“We’ve done everything that we feel we’ve possibly been able to do to be inclusive,” Snitker said.
“When we asked ABC for the ABC debate in Orlando, they claimed that the stipulation was given to them by the candidates. Then some of the candidates have said the media made the stipulations. Neither one of them want to admit it.”
Debate sponsors often limit debate participation to candidates who have reached a polling number threshold.
But Snitker says his name is left off the major polls, which closes the door to his debate participation.
Snitker attended the debate Sunday – as a member of the audience. Afterward, he stood in the Spin Zone, an area set aside for media to interview experts.
When he offered himself for interviews, the swarm of journalists, who had been gathered around Kendrick Meek, cleared the room.
However, Anthony Miller of Fox 13 News took up Snitker on his offer.
“Well, he’s running for the United States Senate, and everyone that runs should have a chance to tell the public how they would run the country,” Miller said.
Keli Sipperley is a graduate journalism student in the USF School of Mass Communications. The team focused on “covering the coverage” of the political debates on USF.