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In the aftermath of progressive calls for public media company NJTV to ditch Democratic Party operative Steve Ayscue as a guest party pundit, Executive Producer Phil Alongi this afternoon told InsiderNJ that NJTV represents different and diverse points of view in its programming.
Ayscue is one of those points of view, and not the point of view of NJTV. His appearance on a program does not constitute an alliance with him or agreement with anything he says on a given show, he said.
“We have no association with Steve Ayscue,” Alongi said. “We are an independent news organization. Mr. Ayscue is not an employee of NJTV or paid by NJTV.”
The executive producer said NJTV always strives to get new voices and new points of view, and is sensitive to gender and race.
The New Jersey Democratic Party alone presents substantial opportunity for divergent opinion.
It’s presently dramatically split between the establishment personified by South Jersey Democratic Power Broker George Norcross III, an ally of Ayscue; and progressives affiliated with Working Families Alliance State Director Sue Altman, who back Governor Phil Murphy’s efforts to build government accountability at the state Economic Development Authority (EDA).
Altman and other progressives called on NJTV to yank Ayscue off the air following his latest tweet at the progressive later featuring the image of The Falling Man on 9/11. Progressives note that over the course of the last year of his tweets (3,195), Ayscue’s mentioned or tagged Altman 629 times.
Altman has been a vocal opponent of the use of state EDA tax incentives to benefit Camden businesses either owned by or close to Norcross. A study released today shows that business development in the city tied to the tax incentives has barely impacted opportunity for local residents to find construction jobs.
“There are a lot of different factions,” Alongi acknowledged. “We spread it around.”
Past pundits on NJTV programming have included establishment party representatives Ayscue, Essex County Democratic Committee Chairman Leroy Jones, Maggie Moran, and Essex County Democratic operative Phil Alagia, among others.
Altman’s progressive predecessor at Working Families, Analilia Mejia (now the political director for Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign), also represented a Democratic Party perspective on NJTV.
“We always strive to get as many view points to foster intelligent and reasonable conversation,” Alongi said.