The Mashpee RTC has been busy behind the scenes helping candidates by providing them with an opportunity to reach the people through local community TV.
Map of Mashpee TV Studio
Cape Cod Times Aug. 2, 2016
GOP programs dominate Mashpee airwaves
Democrats, Independents missing from political coverage on public access station
Posted Aug. 1, 2016 at 9:19 PM
MASHPEE — There are Democrats, Independents and Republicans running for state Senate and congressional seats on the Cape and Islands, but you’d never know it from the schedule of programming on Mashpee TV, the town’s nonprofit and publicly funded public access television station.
Residents can watch interviews with Republican state Senate candidates James Crocker and Anthony Schiavi and Republican congressional candidates Thomas O’Malley and Mark Alliegro, but there are no programs featuring candidates from other parties.
The station’s operations are funded through a fee charged to every Comcast subscriber in the town, Mashpee Board of Selectmen Chairman Andrew Gottlieb confirmed last month.
“The fees are paid by Comcast to the town and passed on to Mashpee TV on a quarterly basis,” he said.
In late July, a new program featuring state Sen. Viriato “Vinny” DeMacedo, R-Plymouth, and Republican Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe speaking in opposition to a proposed ballot question to legalize marijuana in the state was added to the programming schedule. However, there is no opposing view found anywhere on the station’s schedule or website. The segment was filmed in May at the New Testament Church in Plymouth, about 20 miles from Mashpee.
While the spirit of community television is typically to have residents produce and host programs, the Crocker and Alliegro interviews are conducted by Peter Hoogerzeil, a Republican political consultant from Seekonk.
The Mashpee Town Republican Committee also hosts its monthly meetings at the station’s studio.
“At our recent meetings we have been watching our candidates use the TV studios to tape interviews for Mashpee cabel(sic) viewers,” the committee’s website states. “Check out the candidate pages and click on the buttons to see the interviews through YouTube.”
The station also promotes the candidate interviews through its Twitter account.
Mashpee TV Station Manager William Nay said recently that he did not know who the other party's candidates were, mentioning only state Rep. Sarah Peake, D-Provincetown, who is running unopposed and doesn't represent the town. Democratic U.S. Rep. William Keating, D-Mass., will face the winner of the Republican primary between O’Malley and Alliegro, and Independent Christopher Cataldo of Norwell in the general election. Barnstable County Commissioner Sheila Lyons and Julian Cyr, of Truro, are vying in the Democratic primary to face either Schiavi or Crocker in the general.
“It’s just that the Republican Town Committee has been active in using the facility,” Nay said.
Yvonne Courtney, co-chairwoman of the Mashpee Democratic Town Committee, said the group will be discussing the issue at its monthly meeting tonight.
“There have been plenty of non-Republican candidates campaigning in Mashpee, and they should know who they are,” she said. “It's a publicly funded station that should be featuring both sides.”
John Fulone, chairman of the Mashpee TV board of directors, said he didn't think the one-sided coverage is a conscious decision.
“I would expect there’s a plan for equal time for all sides,” he said.
— Follow Geoff Spillane on Twitter: @GSpillaneCCT.