Martin O’Malley has been particularly critical of the Democratic National Committee for sanctioning just six 2016 primary debates. Two of them have been on Saturday night, the graveyard for broadcast network TV viewership.
Now O’Malley is criticizing NBC News, the sponsor of the next debate on Jan. 17 along with YouTube, after the network announced criteria for who will qualify. It places him in some danger of being frozen out, although recent polls in Iowa show him just squeaking by to make the stage.
“This election is not up to NBC executives. It’s up to the voters. We must not let NBC dictate which candidates voters get to hear from,” O’Malley tweeted on Friday. “This isn’t ‘The Apprentice.’ Media execs shouldn’t be able to fire ppl from the debate stage. The voters should get to make an informed choice.”
According to the debate criteria announced by NBC News, candidates must reach an average of 5 percent either nationally or in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina in the five most recent polls recognized by NBC News. The polls must have been published before Jan. 14. O’Malley does best in Iowa, but according to Politico he is at 5% in that state in the most recent averages.