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November 17, 1998
BOB ADAMS (703)-683-5004

A Bad Night For The Networks:

Media Completely Miss the Boat in Covering Elections
Coverage Indicates Establishment Press Is Sorely Out Of 
Touch With The Public And The Facts

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. --- A just released, exhaustive MediaWatch analysis of network television news election coverage reveals an establishment news media wholly out of touch with the American people. The media became, and remained, fixated on the notion that the results had one singular message: the public wants a moderate, centrist, non-ideological government even though the election results contradicted the media's spin at virtually every turn.

"Whether it's a conservative sweep as it was in 1994, or a status quo election as it was in 1998, the media see only one thing: moderate centrism. Despite ideological victories for people such as Barbara Boxer on the left in California and Pete Fitzgerald on the right in Illinois, the media see only one thing: moderate centrism. Despite the Democrats' liberal agenda on fiscal and social issues, and the Republicans' lack of any agenda at all, the media see only one thing: moderate centrism. The establishment press, plainly and simply, spent an entire election night misinforming the American people," said Tim Graham, Director of Media Analysis for the Media Research Center.

Media Spin: Election Night 1994 vs. Election Night 1998

CNN's William Schneider in 1994: "It was a vote for bipartisanship, for centrism."
NBC's Tim Russert in 1994: People wanted "a centrist, moderate government."

CNN's Jeanne Meserve in 1998: "It seems to be the year of the moderate."
ABC's Kevin Newman in 1998: "We saw a rush to the center."

The Media Myth About "Ideology" Exposed

NBC's Tom Brokaw, Election Night 1998: "The American political landscape looks a good deal different tonight than it did just 24 hours ago. It now has a broad middle road running through it, the preferred passage of both successful moderate Democrats and pragmatic Republicans."

But ideological candidates on both the right and left were very successful, especially in races for the U.S. Senate. Based on American Conservative Union (ACU) ratings, the following ideological candidates won Senate races. (Rankings go from lowest/least conservative to highest/most conservative.)

Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) ACU rating: 5
Patty Murray (D-Wash.) ACU rating: 0
Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) ACU rating: 5

Jim Bunning (R-Ken.) ACU rating: 100
Mike Crapo (R-Ida.) ACU rating: 95

* Pete Fitzgerald (R-Ill.) was elected to the U.S. Senate despite a myriad of media denunciations throughout his campaign that he was too conservative, as the following examples of coverage from his primary victory back in April over moderate Republican Loleta Didrickson bear out:

CBS's John Roberts: "Conservative Pete Fitzgerald, who wanted to legalize concealed weapons and ban abortions, won the GOP nomination over moderate Loleta Didrickson. Many Republicans say she would have a better chance of beating Carol Moseley-Braun."

CNN's William Schneider: Didrickson "looked like the perfect candidate, a moderate woman who supports gun control and abortion rights."

Conservative, Pro-Life DEMOCRATS Win Seats

* The media ignored the fact that two of the five Democratic House pick-ups on election night were won by conservative, pro-life, Democrats: Ken Lucas in Kentucky and Ronnie Shows in Mississippi. A third conservative, pro-life Democrat, David Phelps, won the Illinois seat vacated by Congressman Glenn Poshard. Consequently, there was no "media spin" about how the Democratic Party is finding success by turning to the right.


Media Interviews
To schedule an interview with Mr. Graham, MRC Chairman Brent Bozell, or another MRC spokesman, contact Bob Adams at (703)-683-5004, ext. 116.





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