CNN Spins Elections as Republican Setback

During Wednesday’s post-election coverage, CNN largely ignored conservative ballot victories in Mississippi and Ohio and Republican gains in Virginia, rather focusing on two conservative ballot measures which were defeated at the polls. They followed the three major networks in doing so.

The network relentlessly touted the defeat of Mississippi’s “Personhood” initiative – which would define life as beginning at conception – as they reported it 14 times in 9 hours. CNN also highlighted the failure of a measure pushed by Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich that limited the rights of unions to collectively bargain, as that story appeared 11 times in 9 hours of coverage.

In contrast, CNN made no mention of Republican gains in Virginia, as the Democrats lost control of the state senate and Republicans now enjoy their largest House majority ever. In Ohio, ObamaCare suffered a symbolic blow as voters approved an amendment stating they could not be forced to buy health insurance -- a clear refutation of the President’s health insurance mandate.

However, that measure’s victory received only 3 mentions between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. EST, and GOP gains in Virginia received no attention whatsoever.

“Conservative Issues Lose,” CNN’s headline blared during the 1 p.m. hour. CNN Anchor Kyra Phillips announced during the 10 a.m. coverage that “two Republican-backed measures go down in flames.”

“Conservatives take it on the chin at the ballot box,” offered CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux. Fredricka Whitfield went so far as to cast the defeats as “what may be seen as a barometer for 2012.”

Anchor Carol Costello ironically told RNC chairman Reince Priebus during the 8 a.m. hour of American Morning that Democrats were “probably crowing” over the downfall of the Ohio collective bargaining measure – even though President Obama’s health insurance mandate was opposed by the majority of state voters.

When Priebus argued thus with Costello, she turned to the defeat of the Mississippi “Personhood” amendment to press Priebus about the “rebuke” of his party. “I don’t think we’re going to agree,” she told him at the segment’s end, adding that neither would the Democrats agree with him. Was Costello then inferring that she and the Democrats were on the same page.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014