A Fox Nation headline falsely claimed that Attorney General Eric Holder "[s]ays" it is "[r]acist" to allow only citizens to vote in Georgia. In fact, the AP article Fox Nation linked to made clear that the Justice Department opposes Georgia's voter verification program because it illegally denies some citizens, and disproportionately minorities, the right to vote.
Back on its ACORN hobby horse, Fox News attacks the community organizing group and its possible role as a national partner with the Census Bureau to recruit more than one million temporary workers to go knock on doors for the upcoming census.
Fox stresses ACORN has "a history of voter fraud charges." Actually, that's how the headline is worded. In the actual online article, Fox News insists ACORN has a "history of voter fraud." (The pesky ref to "charges" gets dropped.) But does ACORN have a history of voter fraud? An ACORN rep tells Fox the organization has never been convicted of any crime, and the Fox article doesn't produce any evidence to the contrary.
It's true Republicans, amplified by Fox News, aired endless unproven charges against the group last fall and painted the understaffed outfit as an all-powerful cabal. But there's no proof ACORN's done anything wrong. But now Fox News claims that because unproven charges have been waged in the past (amplified by Fox News), that the group is suspect.
That's a nifty Noise Machine trick.
We recently noted how the folks at Pew Research Center seems quite interested in making claim that most Americans wouldn't care if their local newspaper folded. We highlighted the oddity of Pew's push since that's not what the finding of its own polls found. In fact, 55 percent of Americans would care if their local newspaper went under.
Why does Pew seem so interested in claiming nobody cares about newspapers?
Over the weekend, Pew's president Andrew Kohut appeared on NPR's "On the Media," to amplify the false claim that readers wouldn't miss newspapers, as well as amplifying the false claim that readers don't think their civic life would be hurt if their daily stopped publishing. In fact, according to Pew's own polling, 74 percent of readers think civic life would take a hit if the local newspaper went under.
Kohut also made the false claim that only "oldsters" think newspapers "play an important role in American society." Not true. According to Pew's own survey results, 72 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 39 think the death of a local newspaper would hurt civic life.
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With Norm Coleman's hopes of retaining his seat in the U.S. Senate looking slimmer by the day, a reporter from the Washington Post and an editorial from the Pioneer Press have a suggestion to (prolong the already months long election contest) bring things to a close.
Despite the fact that Al Franken won the recount and continues to hold onto the lead...
Despite the fact that Norm Coleman has been handed legal set-back after legal set-back...
Despite the fact that Minnesota is losing out with only one Senator in Washington...
Despite the fact that conservatives are using the lack of an additional Democratic Senator to stymie President Obama's agenda...
Despite all of this, the Washington Post's Shailagh Murray and the Pioneer Press think it might be a good idea to scrap everything that has happened since Election Day and instead hold a run-off election, something that even Minnesota election law doesn't allow?
How about some critical reporting that holds Coleman accountable for his hypocritical legal wrangling? Perhaps that would speed things along.
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In an article about the Minnesota Senate election recount trial, the AP reported that "voters testified Tuesday their ballots had been unfairly rejected as Republican Norm Coleman argued thousands of disqualified absentee ballots should be counted in the U.S. Senate race" and quoted one voter who testified that he felt his ballot had been improperly rejected. However, the AP did not note that the testimony of two of those voters reportedly showed that their ballots appear to have been properly rejected.
In his Washington Post column, George F. Will falsely claimed that the 25-year extension in 2006 of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act "was based on the evidence used for the 1975 extension." However, as the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia wrote in a May 2008 ruling, before extending Section 5, Congress "held extensive hearings and compiled a massive legislative record documenting contemporary racial discrimination in covered states." Indeed, the House and Senate Judiciary Committees examined evidence of discrimination since 1982 -- the year of the last major reauthorization -- in extending the VRA.
Previously having stated that Democrat Al Franken "only needs to steal 130 more votes to win" his race against Republican Sen. Norm Coleman for Minnesota's U.S. Senate seat, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough again raised the subject of "steal[ing]" votes on the December 16 edition of Morning Joe -- at least the fifth time he has made such comments since the recount began on November 19. After co-host Mika Brzezinski reported that Franken is behind Coleman by 188 votes, Scarborough asked Pat Buchanan, "Buchanan, can you steal 188 out of 1,500? That's easy, right?"
Discussing the recount in the Minnesota Senate race between Al Franken and Sen. Norm Coleman, Fox News' Bret Baier asserted that the Franken campaign has been "dogged" in challenging questionable ballots and then aired a photograph of a ballot challenged by Franken, stating: "Franken is challenging this ... ballot, although the bubble beside Coleman's name appears to be clearly marked." However, Baier did not note or display any of the published examples of ballots that the Coleman campaign has challenged which "appear to be clearly marked" for Franken or another candidate besides Coleman.
Attacking Media Matters on his radio show for noting that his previous claim that Sen. Norm Coleman "was certified the winner" in the Minnesota Senate race was false, Bill O'Reilly repeated the falsehood, claiming: "[W]hat I said was, Coleman's victory was certified by the state because it was. He had 215 more votes, which is absolutely true." In fact, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board did not "certif[y]" a "victory" for Coleman or Al Franken, having authorized an automatic recount of ballots for that race; Minnesota election law states that "no certificate of election shall be prepared or delivered until after the recount is completed."
On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough again suggested that Al Franken is willing to "steal" votes in order to prevail against Sen. Norm Coleman. In making the suggestion, Scarborough again gave no evidence of any wrongdoing by Franken. Gov. Tim Pawlenty stated as recently as November 16 that "[a]s of this moment, there is no actual evidence of wrongdoing or fraud in the process."
Chris Matthews echoed the discredited rumor that 32 ballots from Minneapolis were mishandled in the Minnesota Senate race. Matthews asked: "What about these absentee ballots that were found in somebody's back seat and they're now counting them as official -- what is that about? That sounds pretty squirrely or sneaky or what -- I don't know what it sounds like." In fact, a lawyer for Republican Sen. Norm Coleman has reportedly said regarding those ballots that "[i]t does not appear that there was any ballot-tampering, and that was our concern."
The top of this article seems fine as the reporter outlines the extraordinarily close recount race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman. But boy, the piece completely falls apart as the Times' Christina Capecchi stuffs the second half of the dispatch with right-wing talk points presented by right-wing talking heads.
*The article quotes Coleman's election attorney who accuses the Franken camp of vote-counting ""shenanigans," but requires the attorney to provide not proof/examples.
*In addressing the fact that the Secretary of State overseeing the recount is a Democrat (last time we checked that was allowed), the Times reports that Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten traced the official's "ties to liberal Democratic groups."
The Times though, doesn't bother to note that Kersten is a right-winger who smeared Franken right before Election Day as a "slanderer of Christianity." She's hardly a source worth citing in the New York Times.
*Speaking of dubious sources, the Times also quotes Sean Hannity who claims there's some "fishy business" unfolding in Minnesota. This has been the right-wing mantra all week: Dems are trying to "steal" the Minnesota election. The proof? There is none, which means there's absolutely no reason for the newspaper to be legitimize that kinds of GOP conspiracy talk.
In total, the Times article quotes or references six Coleman supporters but just one Franken backer.
The Franken/Coleman recount is going to be a lengthy process. Let's hope the Times can improve its coverage.