The Committee for the Study of the American Electorate was left with some
serious egg on its face after publishing a study on television coverage of
political debates that the National Association of Broadcasters proved to be
'This report fell so far below [the] standard that CSAE and its director,
Curtis Gans, are deeply ashamed and apologize to those who, based on its
normally reliable track record, published this flawed study,' CSAE said in a
document titled Correction, Review and Apology
'All CSAE and its director can do is promise and deliver on the promise that
it will not happen again.'
In a study published May 16, CSAE released a report claiming that network
affiliates in 10 states televised only 18 percent of 152 political debates that
occurred for the offices of U.S. Senator, governor, or U.S. House of
On June 19, NAB Senior Vice President Dennis Wharton released an opposing
report, contradicting and correcting those claims.
On Friday, June 21, CSAE and Gans released a correction finding generally
that actually 155 debates in these races occurred, and that network affiliates
televised 20.6 percent of them.
CSAE also listed a series of mistakes in tabulating the number of debates
held and in determining which stations carried the debates.
In the end, the organization said it 'stands
by its major findings . that the public was large ill-served by television in
the coverage of debates and that something should be done about
But it also admitted, 'CSAE is not happy about even the modest amount of
errors involved in presenting this conclusion.'
In response, NAB's Wharton said: 'We appreciate Mr.
Gans' willingness to acknowledge the numerous errors in his