November 3, 2004


For Bush and GOP, a Validation (John F. Harris, November 3, 2004, Washington Post)

President Bush, his fate for winning a second term still officially uncertain, commanded the popular-vote majority that eluded him in 2000. And in an impressive run of battleground states, he seemed to win validation for a campaign that unabashedly stressed conservative themes and reveled in partisan combat against Democratic nominee John F. Kerry.

On the same night, Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate and had the Democratic leader on the ropes. It seemed likely they would also make gains in the House, as voters in an age of terrorism seemed to let go of their 1990s preference for divided government and gave a narrow but unmistakable mandate for the GOP.

These gains came in the face of what Democrats for months had been touting as important advantages: a party unified early around its nominee, an energized base filled with grievance against the incumbent, unprecedented fundraising and voter mobilization efforts. They came despite some stiff headwinds for Bush, including a steady stream of bad news out of Iraq and a weak record on jobs.

What's especially remarkable is the degree to which the GOP bucked an overwhelmingly negative media. You'd have to think that market pressures will eventually take hold and force the networks and major papers to reign in their bias. If one of the networks were to follow the Fox News model it would likely take over the #1 slot on the nightly news.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 3, 2004 10:50 AM

It's far more likely that Fox will beat them to it, and start doing national news on their broadcast stations.

Posted by: Timothy at November 3, 2004 11:05 AM

I had considered boycotting the MSM news program's advertisers, but then I remembered that I don't use denture adhesive anyway.

Posted by: Jeff at November 3, 2004 11:34 AM

How strong is the denial that prevents the not so MS-M from doing as you suggest and becoming more mainstream. It is un-American to forgo this profitable low-hanging fruit, but hey, if they have proved anything it is that they are un-American.

Posted by: Pat H at November 3, 2004 11:46 AM

With its cable outlets, NBC seems the network most primed to challenge Fox -- if they wanted to. They did add Scarborough to their MS-NBC lineup and have Dennis Miller over on CNBC, but changing over the regular news department is going to be a chore, since the conventional world view is so entrenched, any effort to even balance the vision will be met by allegations that corporate boss GE is trying to slant the news in favor of Bush.

CBS, ABC and CNN, with corporate parents far more liberal than NBC's owner, will be even harder to alter, even if higher ratings and profits would be the result. Viacom's Sumner Redstone may come out for Bush; Michael Eisner's radio stations may make tons of money off conservative talkers; and CNN can have an anchor babe engaged to Rush Limbaugh, but you would have to have a major housecleaning at the report and executive levels of the news departments to have any result.

Posted by: Johnq at November 3, 2004 12:09 PM

MSM just didn't get it! The people wanted them to do their job and report the news, not influence the news.

Posted by: JR at November 3, 2004 1:39 PM

The exit polls need to be investigated because it seems to me that they were intended to depress GOP turnout. You know that President Giuliani wouldn't let it rest.

Posted by: Bart at November 3, 2004 10:39 PM

I think that it is more likely that they will shut down or outsource money loosing news operations. I would expect CBS with its dismal ratings to be the first to go.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at November 4, 2004 1:30 AM

I think the FCC requires them to have news operations, just like children's programming is a requirement.

Perhaps Dan Rather should just be shifted to a Saturday morning kiddie show. Dan Rather and Scooby-Doo, perfect together. Then, hire Matt Stone and Trey Parker to do the news.

Posted by: Bart at November 4, 2004 10:42 AM

Boy does that gate ever swing both ways.

Did FDR ever have to deal with a negative media?

Did it change?

Sure, we all remember how liberal Henry Luce got in his old age.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at November 5, 2004 4:22 PM

FDR was never shown in his wheelchair. Had he been he'd have been voted out.

Posted by: oj at November 5, 2004 4:34 PM