Jobs @ MG
Media suppress the news that Bush lost
election to Gore
By Charles Laurence
The most detailed analysis yet of the contested Florida votes from last
year's presidential election - with the potential to question President
George Bush's legitimacy - is being withheld by the news organisations
that commissioned it.
Results of the inspection of more than 170,000 votes rejected as
unreadable in the "hanging chad" chaos of last November's vote
count were ready at the end of August.
The study was commissioned early this year by a consortium including The
Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The New York Times and the
broadcaster CNN. The cost was more than $ 2million.
Now, however, spokesmen for the consortium say that they decided to
postpone the story of the analysis by the National Opinion Research Centre
at the University of Chicago for lack of resources and lack of interest in
the face of the enormous story after the September11 attacks.
Newspapers were saying last week that the final phase of the analysis,
counting the 170,000 votes, had been postponed.
"Our belief is that the priorities of the country have changed, and
our priorities have changed," said Steven Goldstein, vice-president
of corporate communications at Dow Jones, owner of The Wall Street
Catherine Mathis, a spokeswoman for The New York Times, said: "The
consortium agreed that because of the war, because of our lack of
resources, we were postponing the vote-count investigation. But this is
not final. The intention is to go forward."
However David Podvin, an investigative journalist who runs an independent
Web page, Make Them Accountable, said he had been tipped off that the
consortium was covering up the results.
He refused to disclose his source other than to describe him as a former
media executive whom he knew "as an accurate conduit of
information" and who claimed that the consortium "is
deliberately hiding the results of its recount because [former Democrat
vice-president Al] Gore was the indisputable winner".
He also claims that a New York Times journalist involved in the recount
project had told "a former companion" that the Gore victory
margin was big enough to create "major trouble for the Bush
presidency if this ever gets out".
"The goosiness, the sensitivity, that the press which organised this
analysis is now showing to publishing the results and the persistence of
questions about the Florida ballots raise questions," said Dr John
Mason, a professor of political science at William Paterson University, in
New Jersey. "There is a sensitivity over the legitimacy of this
president." National Opinion Research Centre staff have been puzzled
by the idea that the media would lack the resources because, they said,
they had computer programs already designed and fitted for the final