Debate over value of VNS continues

NEW YORK: Voter News Service (VNS), the polling firm charged with supplying incorrect information on Election Night, is tight-lipped about widespread calls for its abolition.

NEW YORK: Voter News Service (VNS), the polling firm charged with supplying incorrect information on Election Night, is tight-lipped about widespread calls for its abolition.

NEW YORK: Voter News Service (VNS), the polling firm charged with supplying incorrect information on Election Night, is tight-lipped about widespread calls for its abolition.

The organization, which is owned by a consortium of TV networks and the Associated Press, has kept virtually silent since Election Night when the media twice incorrectly named a presidential winner.

The proposal to dismantle VNS comes from the American Antitrust Institute (AAI). In a letter sent to the Federal Trade Commission last week, AAI claimed: 'When the principal news organizations move in lockstep, based on the same methodology and the same polling of the same samples, no single organization takes the risk of being wrong.'

ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CNN all rely on VNS information. That situation has prompted Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA), chair of the House Commerce Telecommunications Subcommittee, to hold congressional hearings concerning possible bias in election coverage. Tauzin wants VNS officials to testify.

However, Fred Yang, a partner in the DC-based political polling firm Garin-Hart-Yang Research, disagrees with AAI. 'The networks should be able to contract who they want,' he said.

To avoid a similar situation next time, ABC News plans to remove TVs from the room where poll analysts work, and CNN has named a panel of journalism academics to review its election coverage.





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