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23-Oct-2004 - Early Voting Trends

23-Oct-2004 - Bits and Pieces, Volume 4

22-Oct-2004 - Bush OKs New Corporate Tax Cut

22-Oct-2004 - Beware Fox News and MSNBC

21-Oct-2004 - Gymnast Paul Hamm Gets to Keep Gold

20-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 4

20-Oct-2004 - Bits and Pieces, Volume 3

19-Oct-2004 - Movies Released in 2004

18-Oct-2004 - Bits and Pieces, Volume 2

18-Oct-2004 - The Crystal Prison

17-Oct-2004 - What If There's a Tie?

16-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 3

15-Oct-2004 - Endorsements for John Kerry

13-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 2

13-Oct-2004 - Bits and Pieces, Volume 1

12-Oct-2004 - Ranked Choice Voting Hits San Francisco

7-Oct-2004 - Notable Quotes, Volume 1

7-Oct-2004 - Prince Adares Shows Signs of Royal Affinity

7-Oct-2004 - Controlling the U.S. Senate

7-Oct-2004 - Key Battleground States

6-Oct-2004 - Democratic Hopes for the 2004 Elections

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October 22, 2004

Beware Fox News and MSNBC

If you've seen either Fahrenheit 9/11 or Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, you'll recall that on election night in 2000 the news networks each received the latest precinct vote-counting data from Florida. While the other networks were scrambling to analyze the data, Fox News miraculously finished their analysis immediately and suddenly announced that George Bush had won Florida, putting him ahead of 50% for the Electoral College vote and winning the election.

What Fox News didn't report was that their data analyst was George Bush's cousin.

Fox's declaration of Bush as the winner created a domino effect. The other networks were embarrassed that they had not analyzed the data as fast as Fox (no one seemed curious that any network could have completed it hours before it should have taken). They reversed themselves and declared Bush the winner without completing their own analysis. Al Gore conceded the race even while his own analysts were trying to reach him to tell him that Florida was still too close to call.

And by the next morning when Al Gore had to retract his concession, the perception that Bush had won and Gore was just trying to prolong the inevitable had already started to settle into the minds of many Americans.

Most national polls are showing Bush and Kerry to be neck and neck. The Associated Press' most recent poll shows Kerry with a narrow lead of 49% to 46% for Bush. The headlines are screaming that it's a tie because the difference is within the poll's margin of error.

And Fox News and MSNBC will also declare it to be a tie ... if they even report on it. More likely, they'll find another one with Bush slightly ahead. According to a commentator on MyDD, last night Pat Buchanan declared on MSNBC that George Bush had a "commanding lead" in a new poll. Never mind that his so-called commanding lead was within the margin of error. Never mind that the polls show him hovering around 47% of the vote. That spells doom for an incumbent president, even if his challenger is behind. In presidential races, undecided voters break for the challenger by a roughly 2:1 margin - and that will be enough of a margin to give Kerry the victory, and that's without factoring in the hidden voters (like the mostly younger, mostly Democratic-leaning cell-phone only users that pollsters can't reach) who will also disproportionately vote for John Kerry.

My point? If you're a Democrat (or other Kerry supporter) and you watch Fox News or MSNBC, you'll get discouraged. You'll think the race is over. They're trying to poison you. They're trying to get you to skip voting. (And if you think it couldn't happen, that the Fairness Doctrine requires balanced reporting, think again. The Fairness Doctrine never applied to news reporting, and in any event, Ronald Reagan's appointees to the FCC repealed it in 1987. There is no Fairness Doctrine.)

Watch Outfoxed. It's a great documentary, and it will inoculate you to the poison that Fox News is trying to spread.

 

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