The Jewish Channel hosted a debate for the 21st New York State Senate district, between incumbent Democrat Kevin Parker and Conservative Party challenger Mindy Meyer, on October 25th. Meyer did not appear at the debate, despite The Jewish Channel’s having already rescheduled the debate after Ms. Meyer protested that an initial date of October 12th was too close to the Jewish holidays. Over multiple weeks of contact, Meyer’s campaign never suggested a time at which the candidate would be available; three days prior to the debate, Meyer’s campaign wrote a producer at The Jewish Channel, stating in full, “Mindy will not attend the debate. She has school commitments.”
Two weeks prior to the debate, after The Jewish Channel informed the Meyer campaign that the candidate would be represented by an empty chair if she chose not to appear, the Meyer campaign wrote that The Jewish Channel would not be allowed press access to a separate fundraising event for Ms. Meyer, declaring in full, “The Jewish Channel is not invited to cover the Mindy Meyer event. We don’t appreciate being blackmailed into a debate. We will not generate a press badge for your channel.”
The debate, moderated by The Jewish Channel’s Steven I. Weiss, featured discussions of many issues, including “stop and frisk” policies of the New York Police Department, possibilities for easing the burden of tuition cost on Orthodox Jewish families, broadband Internet access to New York businesses, and the possibility of Brooklyn hospital closings. The entire debate will be available on The Jewish Channel this weekend, and can be viewed in the embedded video above.