Thursday, October 26, 2006

When Journalists Pull a MacManus

Guest blogger: Michael Hussey

I read University of South Florida Susan A. MacManus's analysis of the midterm elections with great interest. I also wasn't surprised by her prediction.
Polls tell us that Democrats are angrier and more likely to turn out than Republicans. (Actually, the poll question wording focuses more on enthusiasm about voting than about the likelihood of turning out). It is assumed that Republican turnout will be lighter and that many will cross over and vote for Democratic candidates.

While this may be true, there are enough signs that Republicans who do plan to vote are just as angry as Democrats to make one a bit wary of these assumptions.

Nationally, Democrats are angry first and foremost with President George W. Bush sitting in the White House, followed by the War in Iraq, then corruption.

But Republicans are increasingly angry over their entire party being cast as “predators” due to the sins of former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley. They are also moved somewhat by the thought of Nancy Pelosi and other liberals in high leadership posts.

For GOPers who may cross over to vote for Democrats or just take a pass and not vote in a congressional race at all, they are most disgusted with the failure of Congress to address immigration and to control spending. The question is how many of these voters will really stray from their party when it comes right down to casting a ballot.

The most interesting unknown this election season is turnout among independent voters who tend to be young and tend not to vote in midterm elections. Yet to be discerned is the extent to which this year’s record negativity in ads and media coverage will prompt them to turn their backs on both parties and leave the election to the ardent partisans on both sides of the aisle.
Shorter Susan MacManus: Democrats and Independents are not going to turn out. Republicans will get the vote out and win the midterms. The indications are that the Christian Right will stay home November 7. A Pew Research Center poll found Democrats more excited to vote than Republicans. To illustrate how bad things have gotten for Republicans; Democrats, in South Carolina, have raised more money for out-the-vote drives. With all this bad news for Republicans; why did MacManus view the GOP's chance through such rose-colored glasses. Because she is a professional Republican shrill. McManus has been appointed by Jeb Bush to his transition team, Florida Elections Commission and Governor's Council of Economic Advisors. Hey, no conflict of interest there. The problem is the media use her for fair and balanced analysis that is neither the former or latter. MacManus has also donated to the a Republican PAC. Bob Norman cited a A-list of Florida political reporters who don't cite that MacManus is a Bush crony. Buddy "I'm a Republican" Nevins, William March, and former Orlando Sentinel scribe Mark Silva are guilty of doing the MacManus. This opus co-written by March contained MacManus b.s. that's so strong that I had to hold my nose.
University of South Florida political scientist Susan MacManus said the issue can only help Republicans.

Besides religious voters, she said, it will also affect a larger group, ``the married vote and family vote,'' and an underestimated voting group, the disabled. About 17 percent of Florida households include a disabled person, she said.
The Pew Research Center, ABC News, and CBS News polls show the the majority of Americans were strongly against the Republicans handling of the Terri Schiavo matter. March told Bob Norman, "I agree that it's good to identify MacManus as a Bush appointee when writing about either Bush." March admitted to Norman that he knew MacManus has worked for Bush. The Columbia Jornalism Review made note of March's use of MacManus quotes. The Norman piece was written in 2004. March still failed to mention ManManus's Bush ties in his Terri Schiavo article. He may end up getting another dubious CJR mention, again. "I agree that it's good to identify MacManus as a Bush appointee when writing about either Bush." So do I. For future PR reference: when I say a reporter pulled a MacManus - that means citing a partisan as an unbiased pundit.


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