Accuracy in Media


A candidate President Trump campaigned for last weekend came from behind to apparently win his congressional race on Tuesday, but it was a night that should scare Republicans and encourage Democrats, according to the mainstream media.

This is media bias by framing. The media had warned the results “could provide some of the biggest clues yet about how much trouble Republicans could be in this November,” but now says the results can’t be taken at face value because the race was closer than previous races won by the district’s former 10-term congressman.

The results show voters moving away from Trump and Republicans and toward Democrats – despite Republicans winning.

Under the headline, “Republicans Spent Big to Win a Special Election. Now They’re Worried,” Time magazine’s Alana Abramson and Abby Vesoulis wrote that Republican Troy Balderson “may have narrowly eked out a win in Ohio’s 12th congressional district over Danny O’Connor, but the victory came at a steep price.

“Outside GOP groups spent millions to keep a House seat that had been in GOP hands for over three decades, winning by such a slim margin that news outlets wouldn’t call the race even as President Donald Trump was bragging about it on Twitter.”

Actually, as the article itself says a few paragraphs down, it was O’Connor, the Democrat, who spent big and, in fact, the race may not have been close if there had been parity in spending or fundraising.

Balderson had about $1.2 million by July 18, according to Time. O’Connor had $1.5 million. On television ads, O’Connor spent $2 million to just $507,206 for Balderson.

But it was the outside groups that boosted Balderson, the media said. And they may be running out of money to fight the Democratic insurgency.

“Republicans have won five out of seven competitive House and Senate special elections this cycle, but it’s come at a price,” wrote Alex Seitz-Wald of NBC News in a story headlined, “Closely watched Ohio special election too close to call, NBC News projects.”

NBC News reported Republican-aligned groups have spent more than $40 million on TV ads to defend “a handful of congressional seats on their own turf in special elections.” They spent $5 million on Balderson, compared to $2.3 million spent by Democrat outside groups on behalf of O’Connor.

Democrats have received just $11.5 million from outside groups, NBC wrote, because “their candidates have been able to raise more money on their own and needed less help.”

Trump claimed credit for Balderson’s apparent victory – the result won’t be made official until absentee and military ballots are counted. The president tweeted that Balderson was down 64-36 before Trump did a campaign event for him in Ohio, after which he shot into the lead.

But the Washington Post pointed out on its website that “the contest … in the solidly red northern Columbus suburbs was the latest example of increased Democratic energy and tepid GOP candidate performance that has defined recent special elections.”

The day before, NPR had suggested an upset by O’Connor might be in the making.

In “Primaries to Watch: GOP Fears Ohio Upset; Trump and Ocasio-Cortez Back Challengers,” NPR’s Jessica Taylor wrote Republicans had struggled in special elections since 2016 and this was the very kind of district where another upset could occur.

“The Columbus suburbs, where Republican state Sen. Troy Balderson and Democrat Danny O’Connor are facing off, have a lot of the hallmarks that have proved problematic for Republicans in other recent elections – relatively affluent and highly educated, Democratic turnout has been heavy in early voting, and it’s not exactly hardcore Trump country.”

So the Trump-backed candidate surged to victory after a Trump appearance in “not exactly hardcore Trump country” in a district that had “a lot of the hallmarks that have proved problematic for Republicans” and despite heavy early voting turnout by Democrats and all that enthusiasm they were supposed to have. But he somehow lost.




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