Thursday, February 4, 2016

In New Hampshire, TV Station Partners With Interest Groups That Push Candidates on War and Austerity

A New Hampshire television news network owned by a former Republican candidate for Senate is working closely with conservative interest groups that are pressuring presidential candidates to take more aggressive positions on use of military force, entitlement reform, and tax cuts.

One group, Americans for Peace, Prosperity, and Security, was formed last year on behalf of military contractors to hold events in early primary states with the explicit goal of pushing the candidates to support military engagement abroad.

And while local television stations regularly work with non-partisan, non-ideological groups to host and broadcast events such as candidate debates, the NH1 News network, owned by Bill Binnie, has gone a step further, providing its on-air talent to press the candidates on issues championed by its interest group partners.

Binnie’s NH1 News network, which operates WBIN-TV and includes over a dozen radio stations, also hosts a special interview series called “Fiscal Fridays” on behalf of Fix the Debt and the Concord Coalition, two groups bankrolled by billionaire Pete Peterson. Both groups encourage candidates to adopt the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles commission — which in practice translates into pushing for corporate tax cuts and reductions in Social Security and Medicare.

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