The Washington Post reports that George Bush may have Fox News to thank for the 2000 election. They don’t get into the manner in which Fox’s premature call for Bush may have given the presumption of victory, but do look at Fox’s effect on influencing voters:
Yes, suggest data collected by two economists who found that the growth of the Fox cable news network in the late 1990s may have significantly boosted the Republican Party’s share of the vote in the 2000 election and delivered Florida to Bush.
“Our estimates imply that Fox News convinced 3 to 8 percent of its audience to shift its voting behavior towards the Republican Party, a sizable media persuasion effect,” said Stefano DellaVigna of the University of California at Berkely and Ethan Kaplan of Stockholm University.
In Florida alone, they estimate, the Fox effect may have produced more than 10,000 additional votes for Bush — clearly a decisive factor in a state he carried by fewer than 600 votes.