New Hampshire Public Radio edited out a recent gaffe committed by Democrat gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan during a September debate with her opponent Ovide Lamontagne from subsequent broadcasts of the debate exchange and audio postings on its website. The edit is substantive and calls into question whether the public radio network – partially financed at taxpayers’ expense – called one in favor of the home team.
During the September 19th debate, Hassan defended the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) by saying, “I was proud to be a sponsor of that tax, eh, the energy efficiency program because it has saved businesses millions and millions of dollars and created over 400 jobs.”
The gaffe was revelatory for several reasons. First, opponents of RGGI actually believe it to be a tax on businesses and openly refer to it as such. Second, Lamontagne is running a campaign, in part, that warns against the dangers of Hassan’s tax record. Hassan voted to raise over ninety taxes and fees when she served in the New Hampshire Senate and openly discusses her desire to raise some taxes should she win in November, though she has not been forthcoming as to which she will raise.
Shortly after the gaffe occurred, the New Hampshire chapter of Americans for Prosperity began running a radio ad criticizing Hassan for her tax sponsoring pride. AFP’s ad included the clip from NHPR.
Nevertheless, in subsequent rebroadcasts of the key debate , such as this one from Wednesday’s edition of the Exchange, NHPR edited out Hassan’s gaffe, cleaning out her reference to RGGI as a tax:
“The edit was an unfortunate mistake,” said Keith Shields of NHPR in a response to NH Journal’s inquiry. “We were fitting these debate cuts into a tight amount of time for our look back show and providing ‘excerpts’ of the debates. Nothing editorial was intended to be taken out, the sound was being edited… taking out ‘uhms’ ‘ahs’, stutters and stumbles. The ‘tax’ comment was mistaken as part of a stumble. We should have been more sensitive to the implication of the edit.”
“The Exchange has always been serious about balance and being non-biased in what we broadcast,” Shields added.