Sloppy 'Experts' at ABC Incorrectly Label Five (of Nine) GOP Seats as Held by Democrats
Published: 10/12/2010 5:06 PM ET
ABC News, which likes to bill itself as delivering "up-to-the-minute political coverage," on Sunday identified nine key Senate seats and mistakenly labeled five of them as held by Democrats. In front of a map, Good Morning America's Dan Harris pronounced, "Our political unit says nine Democratic-held Senate seats are now leaning Republican. Those are the ones in pink, to the eastern part of the country."
Highlighted in pink as Democrat seats? Ohio, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Louisiana and Florida. All of those are, in fact, Republican controlled. (In order, Republicans George Voinovich, Richard Burr, Judd Gregg, David Vitter and George LeMieux currently occupy those seats.) ABC certainly doesn't inspire confidence with this kind of coverage.
During the segment, Harris talked to This Week host Christiane Amanpour. She made sure to paint Republican Sharron Angle, the Senate candidate from Nevada, as extreme: "The veteran lawmaker and one of the state senators, Bill Raggio, has said that he will support Harry Reid because he says he cannot support his opponent Sharron Angle because of what he calls some of her extreme and even, he said, radical ideas and positions."
Amanpour added, "And, indeed, also the widow of the late Republican governor of Nevada has also stepped in to support Harry Reid."
Yet, when Amanpour discussed the Illinois Senate race, she failed to mention Democrat Alexi Giannoulias' connection to a bank that gave loans to mobsters. Instead, the host blandly explained, "And, of course, this is one that the Democrats want to hang onto because it is Barack Obama's old Senate seat that is up for grabs and, of course, they want it."
A transcript of the October 10 segment, which aired at 8:10am EDT, follows:
DAN HARRIS: T-minus 23 days until the midterm elections, and we're starting to see some key Senate races tighten up. Our political unit says nine Democratic-held Senate seats are now leaning Republican. Those are the ones in pink, to the eastern part of the country. And there are six states that are pure toss-ups. Those are the ones in yellow across the middle of the country. There are, and this is interesting to know. There are no Republican seats that are leaning toward the Democrats right now. Three of the seats that hold the key to the Republicans winning control of the Senate are Nevada, Illinois and Connecticut. We're gonna focus on those hot contests with "This Week" host Christiane Amanpour. Christiane, good morning to you. Let's start with the big one, Nevada, where the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in a tight race with the Tea Partier Sharron Angle. Talk us through this one.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Well, you're absolutely right, Dan. And, of course, this is very important for the Democrats to hold onto. It should have been a shoo-in for Harry Reid, but one of the big problems is the high unemployment there, anywhere up to about 14.4 percent. And it's got very ugly lately with horrible negative ads by both sides attacking each other. One extraordinary thing, though, just at the end of this week, Harry Reid picking up the endorsement of two prominent Republicans in Nevada.
The veteran lawmaker and one of the state senators, Bill Raggio, has said that he will support Harry Reid because he says he cannot support his opponent Sharron Angle because of what he calls some of her extreme and even, he said, radical ideas and positions. And, indeed, also the widow of the late Republican governor of Nevada has also stepped in to support Harry Reid. So we'll see how that turns out on Election Day.
HARRIS: Potentially very big for Harry Reid. Let's talk now about Illinois, where Barack Obama's old Senate seat is now up for grabs. A Republican by the name of Mark Kirk is up, up against Democrat Alexi Giannoulias. And this one is very close, right?
AMANPOUR: Well, it is. And, of course, this is one that the Democrats want to hang onto because it is Barack Obama's old Senate seat that is up for grabs and, of course, they want it.
He, the President was there campaigning, and he's called for the base to come out, and he's called for the party and the voters to get fired up because, of course, as everybody has been saying, it is turnout that's going to matter. And as I say, they wanna hang on to this seat not just for numbers, but also, obviously, for, for, for symbolic reasons, since it was the President's seat.
HARRIS: A lot of symbolic value there. Let's focus on the race that you're gonna focus on, especially this morning, the one in Connecticut. This is interesting, a very blue state, but it's up for grabs. The Democrat Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is running against Linda McMahon, who used to run World Wrestling Entertainment. A very colorful race. Talk us through this one.
AMANPOUR: Well, yes. And frankly, this was Blumenthal's to win. He had something about a 40 or 41-point lead in January, and that has been whittled away over the last several months.
He's been in a tough race against Linda McMahon, the challenger, who's never been in politics before, but is running on business cred, if you like, as a former CEO of the WWE, talking about how she created jobs, how she knows how to run a business and would know what to do in terms of the economy. Richard Blumenthal is popular, but he has come under attack, certainly because of, of misstatements that he made about his Vietnam experience during the war there. He implied that he was there. In fact, he wasn't. He was a Reserve in the Marines in the United States. He's apologized for that. But the lead has whittled down. For her part, Linda McMahon is having to overcome controversies, basically being criticized and blamed for a lot of the things that went on in the ring, steroid allegations, all sorts of negative images of women when she was head of WWE.
-Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.