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3. TV Networks Officially Refuse to Release Exit Poll Raw Data

Mainstream media finally displays true colors

by Gary Beckwith

the Solar Bus
December 22, 2004

For those watching the growing body of evidence concerning election fraud in 

our past presidential election, one question has remained: Why don't we hear

about this on the evening news? As of yet it's been hard to explain why the 

controversies in Ukraine make the headlines, but when similar problems are 
discovered at home, you have to scour the Internet to find the information.

It certainly isn't for lack of events on which to report. Members of The House 

Judiciary Committee have been meeting regularly reviewing evidence of systematic

voter suppression and voting machine tampering. A coalition of lawyers have filed 

a lawsuit against the Bush campaign citing deliberate manipulation of votes. 

Sworn testimony and signed affidavits have implicated companies, individuals, 

and a Florida congressman.

This developing story could eventually turn out to be more explosive than 

Watergate. But it's rarely mentioned on the major networks, and when it is, 

there's almost always a chiding remark about the "conspiracy nuts" and 

obscure "internet bloggers" who are behind it all.

The truth is, it's not just conspiracy nuts, or bloggers, or even just Democratic 

supporters of Kerry. It's a growing number of people who want to know what 

really happened on November 2nd. It's teachers, doctors, lawyers, all kinds of 

people who care about their Democracy just as much as the people in 

Ukraine do. And a recent survey showed that even without the media coverage, 

20% of Americans believe the election was stolen.

For these people it's been a difficult task to spread the word, and to tell 

the uninformed about the election problems. That's because for many, 

if it's not on the evening news, it isn't happening. And as soon as you start 

telling someone about it, their first question is always, "Why aren't I hearing 

about this on the news?".

That's a question we'd all like to see answered.

Until now, we've only been able to speculate. Perhaps the media is just tired of 

a long drawn out election season. Perhaps reporters don't want to "stick their 

neck out" until more evidence is uncovered. Perhaps the reporters just haven't 

seen the evidence that already exists. And one possibility of many is that the 

mainstream media has been purposely withholding this story from the American 

people. Emails have floated around, purportedly written by reporters, saying that 

they've been instructed not to write about the problems with the election or they'll 

lose their job.

It's hard to believe that the media would cover up something like this, considering 

that many reporters probably voted for Kerry and would want the people to know 

if the election was stolen. But there's already enough of a story that it should be 

getting attention - the Congressional hearings, lawsuits filed, and sworn testimony 

are newsworthy of themselves, regardless of their outcomes. The lack of coverage 

of already existing events forces us to wonder why.

Attempts to get an explanation from the media have been met with cold and 

evasive responses. Local media outlets say it's not their duty to report the 

national news. National media people say there's not enough evidence yet, 

and they're waiting to see how it pans out before they give it the spotlight. 

This begs the question: Do we wait until the Super Bowl is over to report on it? 

Did they wait until the OJ trial was over to report on it?

But as the story develops, no one has been able to explain why the media is 

avoiding it like the plague. Until today.

Yesterday Representative John Conyers called their bluff. He's the one 

leading the investigation in the House of Representatives Judiciary 

Committee. After weeks of investigation he's become more and more 

interested in seeing the raw data of the exit polls. Exit polls were a red flag 

in Ukraine, and many statistical experts have used the exit polls from our 

election to demonstrate a high likelihood that there was some funny business 

on November 2nd.

Like most people trying to get to the bottom of the matter, Mr. Conyers first 

came to the realization that the exit poll data has mysteriously not been released 

yet. We only have the preliminary exit poll data, which showed Kerry winning 

Ohio by several points. But about half way through election day, the networks 

started "mixing in" the "real" numbers with the exit poll data, and from that point 

on, the raw exit poll data has been locked up.

So, Conyers wrote to Warren Mitofsky, who owns the exit poll data, asking 

for the complete raw data, without the "real" numbers mixed in. Mitofsky

balked, saying that the TV Networks actually own it and he was not able to 

release it without their permission. Conyers then took his inquiry to the leaders 

of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and Fox.

And they promptly laid an egg. Through a spokesperson who spoke on behalf of 

all the media companies together, they said they are still analyzing the data and 

don't want to release it until they're done.

The egg they laid is frustrating for those who want to know the truth and want 

to see the raw exit poll numbers. But it does answer one question for us once 

and for all. It finally shows us that the media is not avoiding the election 

controversy because they're tired of the election, or they want more evidence. 

They are purposefully preventing the information from getting out and 

they are hiding the information they have.

Any objective investigator, or any concerned citizen for that matter, simply cannot 

accept their answer to Conyers. The media has had over 6 weeks to "analyze" 

the exit polls and releasing the numbers would not prevent them from continuing 

their analysis in any way. 

The data is just that - raw data. By itself it is not obscured by "analysis." The 

networks can evaluate and analyze it all they want, but they should also give 

others a chance to look at the same numbers and draw their own conclusions. 

There is absolutely no precedent or moral ground for withholding this information 

from the American public. The bottom line is that raw data does not need to be 

analyzed. Conyers and the American people are not asking for the analysis. We're 

asking for the data.

We're not talking about proprietary trade secrets, or a "secret source" 

that they're trying to protect. We're talking about information about us, 

the American people who voted on Election Day. It's like having your doctor 

refuse to let you see your own medical records.

The media is supposed to report the facts, whatever they are, not withhold them. 

When the media stops reporting and starts withholding, it ceases to be the media.

While it's frustrating that we still can't see the exit polls, let's thank the media 

for at least resolving one thing for us today. Now we know why we don't see 

stories about the election on the evening news. Their refusal to release the exit 

polls shows us categorically that there is a concerted effort on behalf of the major 

media outlets to consciously prevent the information from getting out. It's not 

simple oversight, and it's not because they don't think it's newsworthy. Now we 

know. They are withholding information from us.

Now that that's been resolved, we can move on to the next question: What are 

they hiding, and why?