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When the Massachusetts Senatorial campaign began last June, television executives proudly offered their stations as a public forum for a series of debates between the candidates. As a bitter primary campaign neared an end in late August, the contenders for the Democratic senatorial nomination appeared twice before a statewide audience; early in September, the Republican nominees staged their own debate.
Now the primary is over, and there remain three major candidates, among them H. Stuart Hughes, the first non-party candidate ever to collect the necessary 72,514 signatures to place his name on the ballot. Last week Lodge challenged Kennedy and Hughes to an hour long debate this Saturday at John Hancock Hall, but the television industry seems to have lost all interest in behaving like what it chooses to call a public forum.
Ted Kennedy's reluctance to appear on the same platform with Stuart Hughes hardly affects the responsibility of the television industry to present the views of major candidates to the people of Massachusetts. Kennedy does not control the television industry in Massachusetts, and whether or not he chooses to appear at John Hancock Hall this Saturday, the views of his opponents deserve the fullest possible exposure to the Commonwealth.
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