FOX Is Imposing a Litmus Test of Ideas and May Be Engaging in Anti-Gay Discrimination

BURLINGTON, Vt. – Truth Wins Out condemned FOX today for excluding openly gay Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger from the cable network’s Thursday debate in Iowa. The decision appears to be a viewpoint litmus test imposed by FOX on Republican candidates and may even reflect anti-gay discrimination.

“Fred Karger played by the rules, yet FOX is still ruling him ineligible,” said Truth Wins Out’s Executive Director Wayne Besen. “It seems that FOX is stomping on ideological diversity among debate participants and may be excluding Karger because he is gay. He is outpolling better-known candidates and has earned the right to present his views to the American people.”

Karger has qualified for a debate invitation because met three requirements for presidential candidates to be included:

1. Registered with the Federal Elections Commission as a presidential exploratory committee or presidential campaign.

2. Met all U.S. Constitutional requirements.

3. Garnered at least an average of one percent in five national polls based on most recent polling leading up to the registration day.

In an Aug. 2-4 Harris Interactive poll, Karger garnered 2 percent of the vote, which tied former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and beat former Sen. Rick Santorum (1%) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (1%).


While Karger is not expected to win the nomination, if he is given a debate platform he could potentially finish in the top five. Most of the other candidates will divide the Religious Right’s vote, which they are desperately courting. This could possibly leave Karger votes from Republicans repulsed by candidates like Bachmann or Santorum.

“It appears that one has to be an ultra-conservative clone to get invited to a FOX debate,” said TWOs Besen. “If Karger’s polling is respectable with little media exposure, it is reasonable to believe he could rapidly increase the number of supporters if given the opportunity to debate. It is unconscionable to essentially fix the nomination by blacklisting candidates that do not sign off on the GOP special interest checklist.”

Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that fights anti-LGBT religious extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.