Coverage of Democrat Hit on Jindal in La. Omits His Front-Runner Status

The Associated Press's Melinda Deslatte covered the controversy over Democratic attack ads on GOP gubernatorial candidate Bobby Jindal yesterday:

A political ad from the Louisiana governor's race is drawing a storm of criticism for accusing Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal of calling Protestants "scandalous, depraved, selfish and heretical."

Democrats say the state party's 30-second TV spot - running in heavily Protestant central and north Louisiana - simply explains Jindal's beliefs with his own words, using portions of the Catholic congressman's religious writings through the 1990s, before he was an elected official.

Jindal, who is running for governor, said the ad distorts his writings.

A lawyer for his campaign has sent a letter to nine television stations saying the commercial is defamatory and asking them to stop showing it. Fellow Republicans and the head of a national Catholic organization called the ad a smear campaign.

State Democratic Party officials said they won't drop it.

..... A review of Jindal's writings on Catholicism, however, show his positions on faith to be more nuanced than the ad suggests.

Here’s what struck me about Deslatte's coverage. I have a general impression that I believe can be backed up by detailed research that when a poll-trailing conservative/GOP candidate goes on offense against a front-running liberal/Democrat candidate, there is almost always a reference to how the liberal/Democrat “is leading in the most recent polls” — the better to play into claims that the conservative/GOP candidate is “getting desperate.”

There is no mention of Bobby Jindal’s poll standings in Deslatte's report, so it is fair to wonder how he's doing.

Sure enough, according to this article in the Lafayette, La. Advertiser, Jindal is comfortably in front:

In Jindal’s internal polling, as in most polls that include a trial heat question naming the specific candidates, Jindal has remained well above 55 percent as the campaigns round the stretch towards the Oct. 20 primary election.”

This example would appear to support those of us who suspect that polls tend to be cited in attack-ad controversies only when they help defend front-running liberal/Democrat candidates.

Cross-posted in briefer form at

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.