November 28, 2010

Partisan Inconsistency: In Close Congressional Races, AP Gives Two Paragraphs to GOP Win in IL-08, 14 to Dem in CA-11

I’ve noted an interesting disparity in how the Associated Press, the so-called Essential Global News Network, has covered Democratic and Republican congressional victories in situations where the counting has gone on well past Election Day.

Let’s contrast the amount of ink and bandwidth devoted to Republican Joe Walsh’s victory over incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean in Illinois compared to the coverage accorded California Democrat Jerry McNerney in his victory over the GOP’s David Harmer.

First, in Walsh vs. Bean, the following is the only item that comes up in a search on Ms. Bean’s name at the AP’s main site:

US Melissa Bean concedes to challenger

Democratic U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean has conceded to her Republican challenger, Joe Walsh.

Following the completion of ballot counting in each county in Illinois 8th Congressional District, Bean called Walsh Tuesday night upon her return to Illinois.

That’s it. Gosh, don’t overwork yourselves or anything, guys.

The headline doesn’t even give us the name of the election’s winner, or his party, and one can be excused for thinking that “US Melissa Bean” might really be a yacht involved in competitions.

By contrast, in a Tuesday report, the AP’s Judy Lin gave McNerney’s win 14 paragraphs, as well as a far clearer headline:

California Democrat McNerney retains House seat

Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney has been re-elected to a third term in a Northern California congressional district, fending off a challenge from Republican David Harmer.

McNerney held a lead of nearly 2,500 votes on Wednesday with less than 1,900 ballots left to be counted.

His re-election means no California congressional seat changed party hands, even as Republicans took back the U.S. House of Representatives with a national GOP landslide on Nov. 2.

“Congressman McNerney is honored to be re-elected to the 11th congressional district,” spokeswoman Sarah Hersh said. “He looks forward to the opportunity to serve the people of this area, to work to create jobs and to work to improve benefits for veterans.”

… Hersh said McNerney has always made bipartisanship a part of his tenure and “will work across party aisles to serve the people he represents well.”

I had no idea that CA-11 was seven times as important as IL-08, did you?

For those who think I’m catching an aberration, consider the following:

Why, if you didn’t know better, you might think that the folks at the Associated Press are quite pleased when Democrats win razor-thin Congressional elections. When Republicans prevail? Not so much.

Cross-posted at


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