- - Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I saw some of the most biased reporting in my lifetime over the course of the recent federal government shutdown. According to the Media Research Center, there were 58 stories by the ‘big three’ mainstream media outlets regarding the shutdown — and not one solely blamed the Democrats for their role. In addition, MSNBC and CNN were openly hostile toward the GOP. Their credibility to the conservative movement was bad enough before this, but it has suffered even more as a result. Yet when these outlets produce or sponsor polls, many take the polling data at face value, which defies reason.

I saw several polls that oversampled Democrats by a wide margin over the generic, partisan ballot, and those poll results were blasted over the air by that same media and even some conservative-friendly voices, such as the Fox News Channel and The Washington Times. For example, there was the NBC poll that showed the GOP had only a 24 percent favorability rating. The questioning almost always pitted President Obama against the House Republicans, leaving out a bloc of people who may have blamed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from the equation.

While I don’t deny that this orchestrated effort hurt the GOP, it was this media hype and discrimination that likely led many of the low-information voters to turn on the GOP. It should be remembered that, per Newt Gingrich, the public came out against the GOP in the 1996 shutdown by 23 points. This is vastly more than the current polling shows. Despite the shutdown, horrible polling data and coming off an election victory in 1994, the GOP only lost two House seats — yet it gained two Senate seats in a year where another party’s president won the election. 2014 is a non-presidential year, which favors GOP turnout (as long as voter fraud or IRS harassment doesn’t cost the GOP 5 million votes like it did in 2012, according to the American Enterprise Institute).

With the looming disaster of Obamacare and a sputtering economy, the media’s doom-and-gloom reports of the GOP’s demise is both premature and reflects extreme bias.

CONOR TOOLE

Middletown, Md.