Republican Brown Has Grievances Over Fox29 Debate Air Time; Files FCC Complaint Against NBC

Republican Mayoral Candidate Karen Brown talks with Tea Partier Matt Hissey.

Mayor Michael Nutter and Republican challenger Karen Brown debated last night. You didn’t see it, because it wasn’t in front of an audience. And it wasn’t on TV. It was taped and will be shown on Friday on Fox, at the prime-time Death Slot of 10:30pm. Karen Brown is not happy about this—never was—but says she wasn’t given a choice.

“[The debate] was something that Fox worked out with the mayor,” she says, “and he controlled every aspect of this.”

Brown claims the debate was originally supposed to be in front of an audience, live, and there were supposed to be additional questions, but Nutter “nixed that,” says Brown.

She believes the mayor and Fox changed the rules of the debate under the guise that Brown would drop out. “He was waiting for us to say we don’t want to do it under those terms, but I went through with it,” she says.

Further, Fox29’s decision to air the debate at 10:30pm on a Friday night is an insult, she says, and not just because Friday is the least-watched night of television of the week—but because Friday at sundown begins Yom Kippur. “I told the Jewish Exponent they should file a formal complaint,” says Brown, “because I don’t think many in the Philadelphia Jewish community are going to get to see it.”

This isn’t the first time Karen Brown’s had a problem with Philadelphia television. On September 27, NBC 10 aired a prime-time special called “Ask The Mayor” in which they showcased Mayor Nutter’s use of Tweets and other social networking. He answered questions on NBC 10 and at NBCPhiladelphia.com. Brown protested outside NBC studios, calling for equal airtime as the show went down. NBC publicly agreed to give Brown equal airtime but has not yet fulfilled that promise. And, according to Brown, they have no intention to.

Now, along with her attorney and fellow Philadelphia Republican Matt Wolfe, Brown has filed a formal FCC complaint, because she wants a show in equal value to what “Candidate Nutter,” as he’s referred to in the report, got. She says Equal Time provisions require the station meet her demands.

As for the Fox debate, she’s doubtful many in the Jewish and senior communities will be able to see the sparring that went on between Nutter and Brown last night, in what’s set to be the only formal debate between Brown and Nutter.

“And seniors are my biggest poll,” she says. “We’re lucky to have a DVR, but how much of the elderly Jewish community does not? My mother does not. She’s going to have to come over my house [to watch it].” Brown is debating again tonight against Independent candidate Diop Olugbala (who was not invited to the Fox29 debate) at the First Unitarian Church. Mayor Nutter was invited but is not expected to show up.

The Fox Network was contacted for this story regarding Brown’s accusations as well as whether they plan to air an encore of the debate at a later time. We will update when they get us an official answer.

Mayor Nutter’s Office was contacted for this story, too, but have not yet returned calls. We will additionally update when they get back to us.

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