PBS cancels debate after Singh refuses to take COVID-19 test, show proof of vaccination

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New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Hirsh Singh today said he will not comply with the Public Broadcasting Service’s requirement that he and Jack Ciattarelli either show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or volunteer to take a test before Wednesday night’s debate. A virtual debate. Yes, Singh is claiming PBS wants him to get a COVID-19 test ahead of the debate.

Now, the network, Singh says has canceled that debate, putting Jack in a precarious position of not fulfilling his New Jersey ELEC matching funds requirement of participating in at least two primary debates.

“There will be only ONE debate for the Republican Nomination for Governor because PBS has canceled the 2nd NJ Republican Gubernatorial Debate,” Singh said tonight in a statement. “Democrat-leaning PBS News, funded by your tax dollars, has unilaterally canceled the 2nd debate with me and Never Trump Jack Ciattarelli on the grounds that I have refused to comply with their orders to get vaccinated and take a COVID test to participate in the debate.”

The notice comes on the day that Governor Phil Murphy dropped the statewide mask mandate and social distancing requirement for vaccinated residents. Singh in a call today told Shore News Network that he refuses to participate in a debate fueled by flawed science driving by Governors such as Phil Murphy who implemented draconian COVID-19 requirements during the pandemic, then refusing to listen to the CDC regarding the mask mandate.

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“PBS refused to hold an in-person debate, like the 101.5 debate on tomorrow the 25th, and is mandating a negative Covid-test and proof of vaccination,” Singh said. “We found a third party who was willing to host and pay for the entire cost of a debate in-person and PBS News still rejected it. PBS kept shifting its position. First, we heard that NJ PBS’s studios were closed, and later we were told they were unavailable due to renovations.”

Sing claims PBS then took contradictory positions, first insisting that it was the Singh Campaign’s responsibility to find space for the debate and then rejected every recommendation on the grounds that PBS would control the choice of location. Every attempt made by the Singh Campaign to facilitate an in-person debate was rejected.

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“Their focus seemed to be on the vaccination and COVID test rather than moderating a debate,” Singh added. “The most ridiculous aspect of their condition was that they wanted me to take a COVID test and be vaccinated for participating in a virtual debate from the confines of my own home or office. I do not need to be vaccinated to be in my own home or office.”

Sing said, that after the new CDC guidance, it is an utter disgrace that we cannot hold a debate in person.

“It’s time to end the anti-science policies, end the mask mandates, and reopen New Jersey.I look forward to debating Never Trump Jack Ciatarelli tomorrow night IN PERSON. Patriots, it’s time to Save New Jersey,” Singh added.

We could not reach Jack Ciattarelli’s campaign for comment as his campaign has banned Shore News Network from its social media pages. We were unable to contact anyone in the know at PBS. This report is based solely on a press release issued today by the Singh campaign.

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Singh said that his opponent Jack Ciattarelli should be as equally outraged with the requirements set forth by PBS to include proof of vaccination and a positive COVID-19 test for a virtual debate.

“Due to Mr. Singh’s refusal to participate and comply with the Covid testing requirement that is part of NJ PBS production protocol … we are unable to send a member of our crew to him for the debate production,” said Jamie Kraft, the senior managing editor of NJ Spotlight News. “Unfortunately, we must cancel the debate.”

NJ Globe

Jack Ciattarelli’s campaign said Singh should debate and meet the COVID-19 requirements to get tested or vaccinated prior to the debate.

“Hirsh Singh’s weak decision to back out of this debate — despite previously agreeing to it and knowing all of the rules well in advance — has nothing to do with medical freedom or vaccines or masks,” said Stami Williams, a spokesperson for Ciattarelli.