by Ralph Raico
However the presidential election turns out, no one can say that the left-liberal media didn't do their job in the messy post-election jostling.
Everyone who's kept up with the major TV networks probably could cite a number of examples. As for CNN — the Clinton News Network indeed — there's one thing to be said in favor of their shameless perpetual spinning. At least it kept them from fomenting the bombing of some other small country we're not at war with.
The best example I've seen so far, though, was in the New York Times. On Tuesday, November 14th, the "newspaper of record" (a record for what, by the way?) published a pie chart of a poll conducted by the Times and CBS News. The chart appeared right in the middle of the front page, above the fold, and was titled, "Uncertain Election."
People were asked, "When there is a conflict, who has a more legitimate claim to the presidency?" Among all adults polled, 45 per cent answered, "Popular vote winner" to the 39 per cent who said, "Electoral vote winner." Ten per cent said neither (the rest, presumably, had no opinion). Predictably, the great majority of Gore voters went for the popular winner and Bush voters for the electoral winner.
Thus, among adult American polled, 55 per cent believe that when it comes to choosing a president the Constitution of the United States should be defied.
This is an interesting and instructive result and may do its bit in helping the Gore cause along. But, while they're at it, the Times and CBS might very well sound out the American people on a number of other questions.
Here's a short list:
- Many people think that Bill Clinton has done a very good job as president. In view of this, do you think that his term in office should be automatically extended by at least two years?
- What if he promised to do some really, really great things for the country? For all our children?
- As you may or may not know, big states like California and New York have exactly the same number of senators as very small states like Delaware and Rhode Island. Do you think a special election should be held to choose two more senators from each of the larger states?
- Many people believe that states like Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah are filled with gun-nuts, religious fanatics, and (other) Nazis. Should the electoral votes from these states just be torn up and flushed?
- Should important states like California and New York send their own ambassadors to foreign countries?
- Should New York send its own ambassador to the United States?
I stress that this is a short list. Doubtless the geniuses at the Times and CBS News will be able to come up with a number of other ad hoc mutilations of the Constitution they can poll the public on.
For those who might be interested, www.smartertimes.com is a website that provides a brief daily critique of the leftist biases in what is, alas, the world's most influential newspaper. Somewhat oddly, though, the good folks furnishing this useful public service seem to think that the Times is really engaged in a secret plot to undermine the State of Israel.
November 15, 2000
Ralph Raico is a senior scholar of the Mises Institute.