September 1, 2010

KGW Statement on Governor's Debate

PORTLAND, OR - Starting last May The Oregonian and KGW NewsChannel 8 invited John Kitzhaber and Chris Dudley to debate on live television during the course of the general election campaign. We made it clear at the time to both candidates that we would conduct the debate on a date that was mutually acceptable to the candidates.

The Chris Dudley campaign was the first to accept our debate invitation last month. His campaign said they would like to conduct the debate October 7. We said that we would propose that date to the Kitzhaber campaign. But we made it clear to the Dudley campaign that we were still flexible on the date.

The Kitzhaber campaign would not commit to the October 7 date and on Tuesday asked if we would be open to conducting the debate either the week of September 20 or the week of September 27. We said that we were open to conducting the debate during one of those weeks. But we said that the Kitzhaber campaign should negotiate the date directly with the Dudley campaign. We also said we were still flexible on the date.

Today the Kitzhaber campaign said they would agree to The Oregonian and KGW NewsChannel 8 debate on September 21 and gave the Dudley campaign 24 hours to respond.

The Dudley campaign said today that it had a prior commitment on September 21, but would accept a Dudley-Kitzhaber debate any day the week of October 4.

The Kitzhaber campaign sent out a press release that said "Dudley refuses to debate Kitzhaber again."
In that press release the Kitzhaber campaign said the September 21 debate "offer was made in partnership with KGW/Channel 8 and The Oregonian."

That statement from the Kitzhaber campaign mischaracterized the nature of our debate offer. We are not in "partnership" with either the Kitzhaber or Dudley campaigns and we are not locked into any particular date. We will sponsor a debate on any date mutually agreed upon by the candidates.

The interest of The Oregonian and KGW NewsChannel 8 has always been to sponsor a live televised debate so the people of Oregon can better decide which candidate to support for governor. It is still our intent to find a date that is agreeable to both campaigns. We urged the campaigns to work together to agree on a date. It would be unfortunate if the people of Oregon do not have a chance to evaluate the candidates in a live televised debate in Portland.

The Oregonian and KGW NewsChannel 8 have sponsored gubernatorial, U.S. Senate and congressional debates for twelve years.

Peter Bhatia
Editor, The Oregonian

Rod Gramer
Executive News Director, KGW NewsChannel 8

About Belo Corp.
KGW is part of Belo Corp. (BLC), one of the nation's largest pure-play, publicly-traded television companies, that owns and operates 20 television stations (nine in the top 25 markets) and their associated Web sites. Belo stations, which include affiliations with ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW and MyNetwork TV, reach more than 14 percent of U.S. television households in 15 highly-attractive markets. Belo stations rank first or second in nearly all of their local markets. Additional information is available at or by contacting Brenda Buratti, Director of Programming and Creative Services, KGW, at 503-226-5130.