With the dramatic conclusion of one of the closest presidential elections in history, the Hess Report on Campaign Coverage in Network News presents its conclusions on how well or badly the TV networks covered the Bush/Gore race.
Brookings Senior Fellow Stephen Hess, a longtime observer of politics and the media, spent the last nine weeks analyzing coverage of the campaign by ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS, reporting his findings weekly in USA Today and on CNN, and giving out weekly awards for outstanding coverage.
On election night, all of those networks had to eat their words, reporting first that Al Gore had won the pivotal state of Florida, then that George W. Bush had won it, making Bush the president-elect. The networks retracted this "news" in the early morning hours when it became clear that the outcome in Florida was too close to call, eventually requiring a recount.
A panel of media experts including Marvin Kalb, Robert Lichter, and Ron Nessen will analyze the findings of the project and the role of the networks in the 2000 campaign. Hess will moderate the discussion.