WashPost Account of 'Near Tie' Mexico Vote Never Cites Numerical Margin of 384,000

The top of Tuesday's Washington Post carries the headline "Mexico Girds for Legal Battle As Election Yields a Near Tie." But the caption nearby under pictures of the candidates reports: "Felipe Calderon, left, has 36.38 percent of the vote following a preliminary, uncertified tally, and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has 35.34 percent." That's a one percent lead, which is tight, but not a "near tie" -- it's a margin of 384,000 votes, says the New York Times with a more accurate headline: "Conservative Has Slight Edge in Mexico Vote." The Post story never employed a numerical vote margin in its story, hiding the margin of hundreds of thousands of votes.

Is it fair to assume that if the leftist was in the lead instead of the conservative, it wouldn't be a "near tie"?

The Post report by Manuel Roig-Franzia began by saying Calderon held an "ultra-thin lead of one percentage point" and that "Comparisons to Florida during the 2000 presidential election quagmire were rampant." There is no doubt the margin is close enough for recounts and challenges. But Florida's original victory margin for Bush was less than 2,000 votes, and Bush lost the popular vote. Recounts (primarily in pro-Gore counties) whittled the Bush lead down to less than 600. Calderon has an obviously stronger mathematical victory at this point than Bush did in 2000.

The real humor in the Roig-Franzia report came when the leftists of Lopez Obrador's party would challenge the results in part because "They contend that the Calderon campaign offered access to social programs to win votes." At least the reporter notes two independent studies found all three major parties did that. (So do both American parties -- see the Medicare prescription-drug subsidy.) But for leftists to charge an election was fraudulent because someone dangled government subsidy checks before the voters? Priceless.

Can we expect Keith Olbermann to start touting the leftist charge that votes were undercounted in the Tabasco province, just as Keith led the charge for John Kerry's "victory" in Ohio? Lopez Obrador won there by an 8-to-1 margin (hmm, much like O'Reilly's margin over Olbermann in the ratings), but the leftists argue the margin there should have been even more lopsided.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis