Wednesday, May 30, 2001

McConnell, newspaper quarrel


Senator says poll supports bias complaint

By Mike Chambers
The Associated Press

        LOUISVILLE — Sen. Mitch McConnell, at odds with the state's largest newspaper in recent weeks, went on the offensive Tuesday by releasing portions of a GOP-funded poll critical of the paper.

        Mr. McConnell, R-Ky., accused the Courier-Journal of Louisville of having a liberal bias and said his poll showed the newspaper is “out-of-touch and irrelevant.”

        Courier-Journal executive editor Bennie Ivory dismissed the poll.

        “If we're as irrelevant as his poll suggests, why waste the time and resources to bother with it? Typical McConnell attack dog tactics,” Mr. Ivory said.

        In recent weeks, Mr. McConnell has been the subject of editorials and political cartoons in the newspaper chiding him for not making public the names of donors to his McConnell Center for Political Leadership at the University of Louisville. The paper has sued to get the names.

        Mr. McConnell was not available for comment Tuesday. His office said in a statement that the senator and his wife, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, have been the subject of 19 different attack pieces by The Courier-Journal within six weeks.

        Mr. Ivory said the paper stands by its McConnell coverage.

        “He has been invited to point out any mistakes in any of these stories, and he has not been able to challenge a single fact,” the editor said.

        The telephone poll of 601 registered voters, conducted this month, included questions about the Courier-Journal, posed to those respondents who said they read the paper regularly, said Jan van Lohuizen of Voter Consumer Research, which conducted the survey.

        The newspaper is owned by Gannett Company Inc., the Arlington, Va., media company that owns The Cincinnati Enquirer.

        The poll asked whether readers believed the Courier-Journal's coverage of politics is generally fair or generally biased. A slim majority said they believed it to be biased, according to the statement from Mr. McConnell's office.

        Mr. Ivory criticized Mr. McConnell for not disclosing the poll's methodology.

       



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