A member of the Iowa Republican Party’s state central committee suggests party officials need to ensure the results of the party’s presidential caucuses are shared equally with all media.
The former chairman of the party decided in January to release the certified Caucus results to The Des Moines Register a day before releasing the results to other media. Iowa GOP state central committee member Wes Enos suggests snubbing the national media could damage the future of the Caucuses.
“For the party itself, conspiring to give exclusive election results to one outlet over another, I think, is unfair and I think it does actually hurts our process across the board because it makes different media outlets think they can’t play here unless they are, you know, part of a ‘good old boys club.'” Enos said this morning. “We don’t want to see that happen because the Iowa Caucuses without the media buy-in, without the media input, the Iowa Caucuses wouldn’t be what they are. People would pay no attention to them.”
Preliminary results announced on Caucus night showed Mitt Romney as the winner of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses, by eight votes. Certified results released in mid-January, though, showed Rick Santorum the victor, by 34 votes. Jamie Johnson of Fort Dodge, a Santorum supporter, said this morning that releasing the results to one media outlet first was a “stunning” mistake by the former Iowa GOP chairman.
“One of the things that is going to come out of the Iowa Caucus Review Committee is a pledge to never allow that to happen again, where one media agency, be it print media or electronic media or broadcast media, be able to get the jump on an official release of Caucus results,” Johnson said.
Johnson and Enos are two of the members of a panel the new Iowa GOP chairman appointed to review what went right and what went wrong with the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. Dave Busiek, news director of KCCI TV in Des Moines, testified before the panel this morning.
“Please note that I do not blame The Register. Any of us in journalism would try to get an exclusive like that, but I do fault those in the party who made this decision,” Busiek said. “…I didn’t then and I don’t know understand how the party could play games with election results like this.”
Carol Hunter, an editor at The Register, suggested Busiek and others in the media are just jealous of good reporting.
“At times there can be some competitive juices at work,” Hunter said, turning to look at Busiek, “and at times no one of us likes to be beaten on a story and I would humbly suggest that, perhaps, some of the complaints might have to do with that.”
Hunter told the four-member panel of Republican activists “there should be no question about the ethics of The Register’s procedures” in obtaining the results and she urged party officials to avoid an edict that would prevent a party official from providing a media outlet with exclusive Caucus results before those tallies are released to others.
AUDIO of 21-minute hearing