Third-Party Debate To Be Broadcast By Al Jazeera English, RT America, But Not Major Cable News Networks

ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 22:  Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks in the Fox News/Google GOP Debate at the Orange Count
ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks in the Fox News/Google GOP Debate at the Orange County Convention Center on September 22, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. The debate featured the nine Republican candidates two days before the Florida straw poll. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

NEW YORK -- When Larry King moderates Tuesday's third-party debate in Chicago, his former network, CNN, will not be carrying it live. And neither will Fox News or MSNBC.

But Al Jazeera English plans to broadcast the 9 p.m. debate live, an editorial decision that Bob Wheelock, executive producer for newsgathering for the Americas, calls a "no-brainer."

"We've covered the presidential debates and vice presidential debate thus far," Wheelock told The Huffington Post. "Our philosophy is to treat this one the same way. It's another voice in this country that we respect and believe should have a forum and an outlet."

Wheelock said that part of Al Jazeera English's mission is "to try to provide the voice and be in places where other people aren't -- to cover areas, countries, states, cultures that aren't routinely covered by the traditional broadcast networks and cable networks."

The debate, sponsored by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, will feature Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party), Jill Stein (Green Party), Virgil Goode (Constitution Party) and Rocky Anderson (Justice Party). Free and Equal Elections, a non-profit organization, describes its mission as promoting an "open voting process" that helps third parties "through the complex process of getting on the ballot."

Link TV will also carry Al Jazeera English's broadcast in areas where the network still isn't available on the cable dial. In addition, Russia Today announced plans Friday to air the debate on the RT America television network and on The debate will also be streamed by Ora TV, home to Larry King's online talk show, and on Free and Equal's site.

A C-SPAN spokesman told HuffPost that the network is currently looking into whether or not to carry the debate. [See update]

Christina Tobin, founder and chair of the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, told HuffPost that the grassroots organization seeks to "unite people across the spectrum," thus providing a debate platform for various points of view. She cited the influence of money in big media as a reason why third-party debates don't get similar coverage on the major cable networks.

Tobin said that a number of foreign news outlets -- from a top Japanese newspaper to a French television network -- will cover the debate in Chicago. A second debate will take place on Oct. 30 in Washington, D.C., and Tobin said she expects even more coverage, including from overseas.

None of the third party candidates qualified for the three presidential debates between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Those debates are sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which was formed by the Republican and Democratic parties in 1987 and hasn't allowed a third party candidate on stage since Ross Perot in 1992.

UPDATE: 4:00 p.m. Monday: C-SPAN spokesman Howard Mortman tweeted that C-SPAN will also carry the debate live.