Magazine article Editor & Publisher

TV Election Coverage on the Grill

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

TV Election Coverage on the Grill

Article excerpt

AP chief challenges congressional role

TV news executives took a pasting last week before a congressional panel investigating Election Night 2000 miscalls, and they promised changes to avoid a repeat of the debacle.

But legislators also took some criticism, with TV executives saying Congress cannot dictate how elections are covered and the top executive of The Associated Press questioning whether the hearing should even have taken place.

AP President Louis D. Boccardi was among witnesses who appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The panel wanted to know why major TV networks first called Florida for Democrat Al Gore before retracting that and awarding the state to Republican George W. Bush -- a judgment only ratified weeks later after Florida's recount had played out. Many papers, facing deadlines amid the confusion, printed front pages declaring Bush the winner.

TV executives said they were led astray by bad data from Voter News Service (VNS), a polling consortium that counts major broadcast networks and AP among its members. …

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