Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rep. Richard Hanna accused of threatening TV station over debate plans

U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna’s opponent says the congressman coerced a Utica television station into canceling a planned debate by threatening to withhold his campaign advertising.

Democrat Dan Lamb made the accusation after his campaign manager received an internal email from an executive at WUTR-TV, the ABC affiliate in Utica.

Stephen Merren, vice president and general manager of Nexstar Broadcasting, which operates WUTR, wrote in the email to other station executives that he received an "angry call" from Hanna on Tuesday.

"He indicated to me that we would not be considered for his ad dollars and our level of cooperation in the future could be affected," Merren wrote in the four paragraph email, supplied to The Post-Standard by the Lamb campaign.

Merren also sent copies of his email to executives at Syracuse station WSYR-TV (Channel 9), which had planned to jointly host the debate at its DeWitt studios. WSYR also canceled its broadcast plans.


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