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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s rival demands ‘equal time’ on Stephen Colbert’s show

By Carl Campanile

Published April 10, 2024, 7:12 p.m. ET

The Democratic primary challenger to New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fired off a letter to CBS demanding equal time after “Late Night” host Stephen Colbert’s fawning interview with the three-term lefty incumbent on Monday.

Candidate Martin Dolan, who is squaring off against AOC in the June 25  primary for the 14th congressional district encompassing parts of Queens and The Bronx, accused CBS of giving the incumbent free air time to promote her reelection bid.

“CBS just gave $300,000 in free air time to AOC. We want equal time,” Dolan told The Post Wednesday.

“Give us a fair fight,” Dolan, a 66-year-old former Wall Street banker and Westchester County native, said later in a letter to CBS.

Dolan claimed that under Federal Communication Commission rules covering broadcast networks, he’s entitled to equal air time.

“Section 315(a) of the FCC rules requires stations that allow candidates to use their facilities to give equal opportunities to all other candidates,” reads the letter, obtained by The Post. “There are exceptions for news, not for entertainment shows, or the result can be what you see around the world: incumbent regimes dominating their press.”

During the more than 10-minute interview, Colbert joked with AOC about the eclipse and her interest in becoming a scientist as a student.

He then gave her time to explain her positions including calling Israel’s retaliatory response in Gaza “genocide” and discuss her thoughts on Democrats who voted blank or uncommitted in the primary in protest of President Biden’s response. AOC also claimed credit for Biden’s move to cancel student loan debt.

There were no hard-hitting follow-up questions.

Colbert did ask one softball question, whether the democratic socialist would back Biden’s re-election. She said she would.

“We applaud CBS’ decision to use its valuable entertainment platform to inform voters on NYS14th Congressional District primary on June 25th by providing free airtime to my opponent,Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, on ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,'” Dolan’s letter states.

Dolan said there was lots to discuss, including AOC’s “left-wing hypocrisy” for avoiding questions about the deep poverty and poor public health in parts of her district and her support of policies “packing in undocumented immigrants, some without childhood disease vaccines, some holding criminal backgrounds, or at the very least desperate and competing for scarce resources intended for her constituents.”

He said AOC’s decision to go on “entertainment TV to provide judgmental, one-sided views about a complex war in the Middle East is typical of the fraud squad,” referring to “The Squad” of lefty House Democrats that include the congresswoman.

“We are looking forward to using our equal time on CBS — the network of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite — to discuss the outmigration of 500,000 middle-class taxpayers, AOC’s radicalpolicies on immigration, crime, and public safety, and NYC’s astonishing 14% marginal tax rate,” he wrote. 

But CBS said the “Late Night” talk show is not covered by the equal time requirement for political candidates.

“FCC precedent is clear that candidate interviews on programs such as ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ are exempt from equal opportunity claims by opposing candidates,” a CBS spokesperson said.

Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign had no immediate comment.

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