Tags: Dole | Castigates | Media's | Pro-Gore | Bias

Dole Castigates Media's Pro-Gore Bias

Friday, 17 November 2000 12:00 AM

The media should give up their pro-Gore bias and "report in a more responsible and accurate manner," Dole says.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Dole said that the media have adopted the Gore campaign’s strategy of attacking the integrity of Harris "in the hopes of blurring the fact that she is simply upholding the law" by ruling out the highly suspect hand recounts in four heavily Democrat counties.

"Never mind that she was elected by the people of Florida. Never mind that she has been praised by Democrats and Republicans for her work on the state's behalf. And never mind that she does not have a partisan reputation," Dole wrote.

He goes on to note that because Harris has insisted on upholding the election laws in Florida, her character is being questioned. He cites such "vile comments" as O.J. Simpson attorney Alan Dershowitz’s characterization of Harris as a "crook," which he says "only serves to remind us of the poisonous rhetoric directed at some women by this administration over the past eight years."

But it is for the media that Dole reserves his scorn, pointing out that the blatantly pro-Gore New York Times carried a misleading banner headline stating that "Judge Upholds Hand Recounts in Florida," when in fact the court merely ruled that the recounts could continue but not that Harris had to accept the results.

"No fair and balanced reading of that ruling would come to that conclusion," he writes.

Moreover, a front-page story in the same newspaper called Harris a "Republican Party stalwart who serves in Governor Jeb Bush's cabinet."

The story, Dole wrote, continued by noting Harris’ role as co-chairman of George W. Bush's Florida campaign.

"It would be okay if the Times wanted to label this as an opinion piece," he wrote. "But the front page? This was not serious news. It was an editorial posing as a front-page story."

But the media, which have made such a point of Harris’ being a "partisan Republican," almost completely ignored the fact that Butterworth was Gore’s campaign chairman in Florida.

Dole cites Butterworth as "one of the central figures in this entire recount" and notes that he issued an advisory opinion urging Palm Beach County to ignore Harris' ruling that manual recounts should not be conducted there. This despite the fact that Butterworth's Web page admits he "has neither the authority nor the jurisdiction to provide advisory opinions on election issues."

Dole concluded by criticizing media "pundits" for reporting that their polling shows the American people want all the votes to count.

"Of course the American people want all the votes to count. But how would they respond to an accurately phrased question: ‘Do you think there should be recount after recount in selective highly Democratic counties until the Gore campaign gets the result it wants?’

"T.S. Eliot once said that politics is too important to be left to politicians. I hope the same will not be said of journalists. I believe the American people would make a few simple requests of the mainstream media: Let's be fair, let's be accurate, let's be balanced, and let's do this right."

But if the media are unable to refrain from labeling certain players as "partisan Republicans," then fairness demands that they hold Democrats to the same bar. Unfortunately, this appears too much to ask.

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The media should give up their pro-Gore bias and report in a more responsible and accurate manner, Dole says. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Dole said that the media have adopted the Gore campaign's strategy of attacking the integrity ofHarris in the hopes of...
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2000-00-17
Friday, 17 November 2000 12:00 AM
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