Judging by the bucks flying around, you might have believed that a Trump-Clinton rerun was being replayed Tuesday in upstate Georgia. Perhaps it was — but that slant should not have been in the center ring of the political circus.
In Tuesday’s 6th District runoff for a U.S. House seat to represent suburban northwest Atlanta, Republican Karen Handel handily trumped novice Democratic rival Jon Ossoff. Handel (a former Georgia secretary of state) beat Ossoff (a self-described investigative filmmaker) by 52 percent to 48 percent — a margin of nearly 11,000 votes among the 250,000-plus ballots cast.
Most of the media latched onto the hook that the special election reflected the nation’s support (or lack thereof) for President Donald J. Trump, who defeated former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton last November. Indeed, the Handel-Ossoff contest was viewed that way because of the millions of dollars poured into the campaign from beyond the boundaries of the 6th congressional district. At $50 million donated to one side or the other, it was the most expensive political contest in Georgia’s history.
CNN’s report even trumpeted Handel’s victory as “denying Democrats their first major victory of the Donald Trump era.”
But isn’t that view just a little bit myopic? C’mon, you left-leaners. The Handel-Ossoff campaign was about the issues. And the majority of voters in House District 6 favored where Handel stands.
It’s time for reporters and editors alike to put aside the bitterness and acrimony that continue to dominate the fallout from the November election. It’s time to let the influence of social-media bias bite the dust. What the heck has happened to good news judgment? When will we once again read news reports on national politics that reflect not only the truth, but also accuracy and — most importantly — impartiality?
Handel spoke for many in the electorate during her victory speech, when she said voters in both red states and blue states “need to lift up this nation so that we can find a more civil way to deal with our disagreements. Because in these United States of America, no one — no one — should ever feel their life threatened over their political beliefs.”
So, let’s get to it, eh?
And one more thing: In the 6th District race, the pre-election polls were wrong again. When will the media understand that polls are not news? Poll results do not reflect the broader populace. The results reflect only the opinions of those surveyed. The questionnaires can be “loaded” and/or incomplete, and the sampled areas can be gerrymandered to conform to an expected outcome.