2. Clift, Carlson and Hunt All Predict a Kerry Victory
3. Public Sees Media Favoring Kerry, CNN Watchers Prefer Kerry
The New York Times last Monday beat 60 Minutes to the "missing" explosives story, so CBS couldn't air that last-minute hit on President Bush 36 hours before the election. On Sunday it replaced that planned story with another, "In Harm's Way," about problems in Iraq: Deaths and injuries caused to servicemen by the lack of armor on Humvees, as well as issues such as the lack of radios for troops. The story was not explicitly pegged to deriding Bush's conduct of the war, but Steve Kroft blamed the lack of armor on how "Pentagon war planners didn't anticipate a long, bloody insurgency." Kroft then brought up the media's favorite Bush-bashing lodestone: "But 18 months after President Bush declared an end of major combat, the Pentagon is still struggling to provide equipment needed to fight the war." Kroft blamed the equipment inadequacies on pork barrel spending and John McCain tied that back to a Bush policy: "I don't think that this war has truly come home to the Congress of the United States. This is the first time in history we've cut taxes during a war."
Later, in his end of the show commentary with advice to undecided voters, Andy Rooney charged that "President Bush's tax proposals leave no rich person behind" and he mocked Bush's claim that Kerry is a flip-flopper by reminding his viewers that while "Kerry has always been a Catholic," President Bush "started as an Episcopalian, then he joined the Presbyterian Church and now he's a Methodist."
Kroft tied the lead piece on the October 31 edition of 60 Minutes to a member of the Oregon National Guard severely injured when an IED went off near his Humvee in Iraq. Kroft explained how in-country soldiers are improvising protections, such as by lining the Humvees with plywood and sand bags. Kroft then asserted:
Kroft directed viewers to an underlying reason: "Winslow Wheeler, a long time Capitol Hill staffer who spent years writing and reviewing defense appropriations bills, thinks he knows one reason why those shortages exist, after looking at the current Defense budget. Army accounts that pay for training, maintenance and repairs are being raided by Congress to pay for pork-barrel spending."
Kroft soon turned to the media's favorite Republican: "According to Senator John McCain, a member of the Armed Services Committee who speaks out against pork-barrel spending, there is a total of $8.9 billion of pork in this year's defense bill, which would go a long way towards upgrading all the equipment used by the National Guard."
Kroft noted: "It is not a comforting thought for families with loved ones in Iraq, who lack armored vehicles, radios or things they need to stay alive."
At the very end of the piece, Kroft relayed how Acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee wrote 60 Minutes to report that "the President approved spending $840 million to improve the armor on Humvees in Iraq."
For the CBSNews.com version of the 60 Minutes story: www.cbsnews.com
-- "Bush accuses Kerry of changing his mind. But Kerry has always been a Catholic. The President started as an Episcopalian, then he joined the Presbyterian Church and now he's a Methodist. Religion is a factor in this election. There are 65 million Catholics and only eight million Methodists. Methodists are Protestant, though, and there are 150 million Protestants. A lot of Protestants would never vote for any Catholic. Forget John Kerry. They wouldn't vote for the Pope if he was running.
-- "Taxes are important. President Bush's tax proposals leave no rich person behind. Voters approve of President Bush helping the kind of people they wish they were one of."
The text of Rooney's commentary which also took some shots at Kerry: www.cbsnews.com
For those participating in office pools on the election outcome, a rundown of the predictions made over the weekend by the pundits on the McLaughlin Group, Beltway Boys and Capital Gang. All the journalists for mainstream media outlets -- Eleanor Clift, Al Hunt and Margaret Carlson -- forecast a Kerry victory on Tuesday and offered the most optimistic, from the Democratic perspective, predictions about the House and Senate.
-- McLaughlin Group:
# On control of House, Senate and White House:
# "Who wins more electoral votes on Tuesday?"
# Presidential winner in swing states:
# Presidential electoral college:
# House seats:
# Senate seats:
# Presidential winner/electoral vote split:
# Senate breakdown:
# House breakdown:
Two polls released last week found that more people perceive the media tilting coverage in favor of Democrat John Kerry than in favor of Republican President George W. Bush. Gallup determined that 35 percent think coverage has tilted toward Kerry compared to just 16 percent who said it favored Bush. The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press discovered that "half of voters (50 percent) say most newspaper and TV reporters would prefer to see John Kerry win the election, compared with just 22 percent who think that most journalists are pulling for George Bush." While 27 percent described Kerry coverage as "unfair," 37 percent considered Bush coverage to be "unfair."
CNN, the network of Kerry supporters. Pew also learned that "voters who get most of their election news from CNN favor Kerry over Bush, by 67 percent-26 percent." The opposite is true of Fox News Channel, where viewers back Bush by 71 to 21 percent, yet it is only FNC that mainstream media journalists see as appealing to an audience of a particular ideology.
Indeed, a Pew survey of journalists, released in May, discovered that an incredible 69 percent readily named the Fox News Channel as "especially conservative," but when asked, "Can you think of any news organizations that are especially liberal?", at 20 percent the New York Times earned the highest response while only two percent listed CNN. See the last paragraph in this item for a link to the CyberAlert item about that poll.
The Oct. 22-24 poll finds that registered voters are more likely to say the media coverage of this year's election has been biased in Kerry's favor (35%) than they are to say coverage has been biased in Bush's favor (16%). A plurality of Americans (45%), however, says the media coverage has not been biased toward either candidate.
The data show that a majority of registered Republicans (56%) say the media coverage has been biased in favor of Kerry, while roughly a third of Republicans (36%) say the coverage has not been biased toward either candidate and only 4% say it has been biased in favor of Bush. These results compare with 13% of registered Democrats who say the coverage has been biased in Kerry's favor, 31% of Democrats who say it has been biased in Bush's favor, and 52% who say it has not been biased.
These results fit with consistent Gallup polling showing that nearly half of all Americans -- including an overwhelming majority of Republicans -- perceive a liberal media bias.
END of Excerpt
When accessible to non-subscribers, this poll summary, with bar graphs, was posted at: www.gallup.com
....Half of voters (50%) say most newspaper and TV reporters would prefer to see John Kerry win the election, compared with just 22% who think that most journalists are pulling for George Bush. That is comparable to findings at about this stage in previous campaigns; in October 2000, 47% of voters felt that journalists wanted to see Al Gore win. In addition, a majority of voters (58%) continue to think that members of the news media often let their own political preferences influence their reporting.
While most voters rate the press coverage of the Bush and Kerry campaigns as fair, an increasing number view the coverage of both campaigns as unfair. Nearly four-in-ten voters (37%) think news coverage of Bush's campaign has been unfair, compared with 25% in October 2000. Similarly, 27% think coverage of Kerry's campaign is unfair, nearly double the number who said that about news coverage of Gore's campaign four years ago (15%).
The latest Pew Research Center survey of 1,307 registered voters, conducted Oct. 15-19, shows that there also is a pervasive belief that news organizations wield too much influence on the election's outcome. Nearly six-in-ten (62%) say news organizations have too much influence in determining the election's outcome; only about half that number (32%) feel that the media's influence is appropriate....
More See Campaign Coverage as Unfair
Overall, 37% of voters believe press coverage of Bush has been unfair, up from 25% at about this stage four years ago. Far more Republicans than Democrats say Bush coverage has been unfair, but the perception that the press has not been fair to Bush has increased across the board, particularly among independents. Fully 40% of independent voters view coverage of Bush's campaign as unfair, about twice the number who expressed that view in October 2000 (19%).
Somewhat fewer voters (27%) think news organizations have been unfair to Kerry's campaign than say that about Bush. But that is nearly double the number who thought Al Gore's campaign was not treated fairly in October 2000 (15%). As is the case with assessments of coverage of Bush, the perception that the press has not treated the Democratic nominee fairly has grown among Democrats, Republicans and independents.
News Audiences Differ Over Coverage
Opinions of campaign news coverage have long been divided along partisan lines, with Republicans generally expressing a more critical view of the coverage. With the increasing politicization of news audiences -- as seen in several recent Pew Research Center surveys -- attitudes toward the coverage also differ markedly depending on where voters get their news.
While a narrow majority of all voters (54%) have a positive view of campaign coverage, voters who get most of their election news from the Fox News Channel are more critical of the coverage than are voters who rely on other sources for news about the election. Fewer than half of voters who get most of their election news from Fox (46%) rate the overall media coverage as good or excellent; that compares with 64% of voters who go to CNN for election news and comparable proportions of those who rely on network news (63%), newspapers (61%) or local TV (58%).
In addition, about seven-in-ten voters who get most of their election news from Fox (72%) say news organizations have too much influence over which candidate becomes president. Smaller majorities of voters who turn to other sources for election news believe that news organizations have too much influence over the election outcome.
Different Sources, Different Choices....
Seven-in-ten voters who get most of their election news from Fox News support Bush, while just 21% back Kerry. By contrast, voters who get most of their election news from CNN favor Kerry over Bush, by 67%-26%.
Other news audiences are more closely divided. Kerry has a modest advantage among voters who mostly rely on network news and newspapers. Voters who get most of their election news from local TV are split, with 46% supporting Kerry and 42% Bush.
END of Excerpt
The breakdown of the vote preferences of consumers of news sources other than CNN and FNC: Amongst those who identified "network news" as their "main source of elections news," 51 percent support Kerry compared to 40 percent who back Bush. For those who mainly rely on newspapers, 50 percent plan to vote for Kerry and 40 percent for Bush.
For Pew's summary of their poll and a link to the full rundown of all the questions in the poll: people-press.org
In May, Pew determined that five times more journalists are liberal than conservative. As recounted in the May 24 CyberAlert: Journalists at national media outlets are more liberal and less conservative than nine years ago, and while in 1995 they were upset that the media were too critical of President Clinton, they are now disturbed that the media are going too easy on President Bush, a just-released survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found. Five times more national outlet journalists identify themselves as liberal, 34 percent, than conservative, a mere 7 percent. The poll also discovered that while the reporters, editors, producers and executives have a great deal of trouble naming a "liberal" news outlet, they had no problem seeing a "conservative" outlet, with an incredible 69 percent readily naming the Fox News Channel. See: www.mediaresearch.org
The headlines in the Saturday, October 30 CyberAlert:
The headlines in the Sunday, October 31 CyberAlert:
-- Brent Baker