MEDIA WATCH: A Nader vote, friend or foe of third party viability?

Though the election results are now known, it is interesting to look at how Ralph Nader considerably influenced the final few days of the Gore/Bush battle. Nader became a hot topic in the last few weeks, as his popularity with swing voters made many progressives nervous about his effect on the final result.

Though the election results are now known, it is interesting to look at how Ralph Nader considerably influenced the final few days of the Gore/Bush battle. Nader became a hot topic in the last few weeks, as his popularity with swing voters made many progressives nervous about his effect on the final result.

Though the election results are now known, it is interesting to look at how Ralph Nader considerably influenced the final few days of the Gore/Bush battle. Nader became a hot topic in the last few weeks, as his popularity with swing voters made many progressives nervous about his effect on the final result.

Of opinion pieces, editorials and broadcast reports analyzed by CARMA International, most journalists conveyed the sentiment that the Green Party may be cutting off its nose to spite its face. 'Those who are disappointed that Gore isn't a bright enough shade of green could give us the man with a black thumb,' cautioned the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (November 1). Editorials warned that a vote for Nader would give America Republican rule for four years and conservative laws that will offer little room for third parties to grow further. As Newsday (November 2) put it, '(To vote for Nader) is to put a pistol to the head of the very progressive causes and coalitions that have only begun to stir.'

The potential for the development of a viable third party is exactly what Nader supporters say drives their convictions. 'A vote for Nader is a vote rejecting both major parties. Americans who vote for Nader (will) have done their civic duty,' wrote the Houston Chronicle (November 1) Some editorials also criticized media outlets such as The New York Times for being antithetical to the cause of free speech: 'The obvious bias in favor of the Democratic machine is not the most distressing aspect.

The Times has openly said that (Nader) and his co-thinkers should learn to keep their mouths shut and stay out of politics' (Investor's Business Daily, October 31).

Gore supporters questioned the logic of principle over pragmatism, voicing major differences between Bush and Gore and urging voters to choose the most progressive candidate, who can actually win. 'It is wrong to suggest, as (Nader) sometimes does, that in running he bears no responsibility for the possible outcome of the election. There is a dime's worth of difference,' wrote The Washington Post (October 31).

Some Nader supporters say it is worth it to live under four years of a Bush administration for the greater good of a viable third party. As Nader campaign manager Theresa Amato told CBS's Early Show (October 30), 'He's focused on building a third party, not on who's going to win the White House.' This point was reiterated by Nader supporters who say there is no major difference between Bush and Gore.

Others derided Gore for using scare tactics and making the minute differences between the two major candidates seem more polar than they actually are.

'Gore pretends to champion the issues that Nader speaks to. Not having a valid response with which to bring back his former supporters, Gore resorts to scare tactics, the easiest alternative to the facts,' said one opinion piece in The Arizona Republic (October 31).

While some analysts predicted Nader voters would run back to Gore on election day, many others see Nader making a significant impact, both in this year's election and in those to come.



- Evaluation and analysis by CARMA International. Media Watch can be found at www.carma.com.



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