After heavily promoting on Tuesday the Ohio ballot initiative to legalize marijuana before the polls closed, NBC Nightly News offered an about-face of sorts on Wednesday and refused to acknowledge the fact that measure was soundly defeated.
Hailing it as “high stakes” in the Buckeye State, anchor Lester Holt hyped in a tease on Tuesday’s newscast: “Legalized pot on the ballot tonight in the biggest swing state of all. Is it a tipping point for the nation? A big money fight with a famous singer caught in the middle.”
Introducing correspondent Kevin Tibbles in Columbus, Holt touted the vote as “a big fight involving big money and wealthy investors” with the idea that pot could have subsequently been passed in a variety of states if it was approved by Ohio voters.
Along with free press for former 98 Degrees star Nick Lachey and his backing of Issue Three, Tibbles summarized the views of each side: “Supporters claim pot money will soon be used to fill potholes in the Buckeye State. Critics counter the investors will be filling their pockets.”
Before turning back to Holt, Tibbles concluded the two-minute-and-13-second segment by playing up the implications for the country at-large: “And the experts say if marijuana can be legalized here in a conservative state with voters in an off election year, then it could happen almost anywhere in America.”
Of course, that’s not what happened as voters declined to move forward with legal marijuana in their state by a margin of 64.35 percent to 35.65 percent. Here’s more from the Cincinnati Enquirer:
In a major blow to marijuana legalization nationwide, Ohio voters rejected Tuesday a sweeping initiative that would have ended pot prohibition in the Buckeye State. Unofficial election results found that the proposed constitutional amendment was defeated 64.35 percent to 35.65 percent.
Voters did write into the Ohio Constitution a provision that prohibits the establishment of a “monopoly, oligopoly or cartel” in the state’s founding document. Issue 2, which the state legislature wrote expressly to defeat the marijuana language, passed 51.89 percent to 48.11 percent.
While NBC punted on this bad news for marijuana fans, the CBS Evening News barely did any better with a minuscule 10-second brief from anchor Scott Pelley: “In yesterday's elections, Ohio rejected legalized marijuana. Many were opposed because it would have given exclusive growing rights to just a few investors.”
The transcript of the brief from the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on November 4 can be found below.
CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
November 4, 2015
6:40 p.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: No-Hi-O]
SCOTT PELLEY: In yesterday's elections, Ohio rejected legalized marijuana. Many were opposed because it would have given exclusive growing rights to just a few investors.
The transcript of the tease and segment from November 3's NBC Nightly News can be found below.
NBC Nightly News
November 3, 2015
7:00 p.m. [TEASE]
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: High Stakes]
LESTER HOLT: High stakes. Legalized pot on the ballot tonight in the biggest swing state of all. Is it a tipping point for the nation? A big money fight with a famous singer caught in the middle.
7:11 p.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE CAPTION: High Stakes]
HOLT: They say as it goes, Ohio, so goes the nation and that is why there is attention from across the country tonight with legalized pot on the ballot in the Buckeye State. It’s a big fight involving big money and wealthy investors, including a famous music star caught in the middle. NBC's Kevin Tibbles is there.
KEVIN TIBBLES: The “yes” campaign has spent some $25 million, promoting the legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use in Ohio.
NICK LACHEY [in pro-marijuana ad]: I'm Nick Lachey. Ohio is my home.
TIBBLES: One of the biggest supporters is reality TV and former boy band star Nick Lachey.
LACHEY [in pro-marijuana ad]: I'm proud to be part of a movement that’s going to create jobs and reinvigorate our economy and improve the safety of our communities.
TIBBLES: But Lachey is also part of a group of ten wealthy investors that stands to profit considerably should the ballot pass. [TO JAMES] For the ten, is it going to be a license to print money?
RESPONSIBLEOHIO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR IAN JAMES: No, it’s going to be a license to grow marijuana and create thousands of jobs.
TIBBLES: Supporters claim pot money will soon be used to fill potholes in the Buckeye State. Critics counter the investors will be filling their pockets.
TIBBLES: Opponents created a ballot measure of their own that, if successful, would prohibit the creation of monopolies in the state. Should both issues pass, it would all wind up before the courts. For other opponents, it’s very simple.
TIBBLES: And the experts say if marijuana can be legalized here in a conservative state with voters in an off election year, then it could happen almost anywhere in America.