For the past several months, Fox News has hyped GOP accusations of voter fraud, no matter how little evidence exists to support them, and Bret Baier has promised that Fox will cover voter fraud allegations "in every show." But Fox has failed to report on, or has dismissed and distorted, numerous accusations of voter fraud or intimidation carried out by individuals linked to right-wing groups and politicians.
Fox largely ignores the DoJ is looking into allegations that Texas Tea Party group members engaged in voter intimidation
King Street Patriots' "True the Vote" initiative accused of intimidating voters. Talking Points Memo published an article on October 19 about allegations of voter intimidation by poll watchers trained by the Tea Party group King Street Patriots. According to the article, the Department of Justice is looking into claims that poll watchers in Harris County were "'hovering over' voters, 'getting into election workers' faces' and blocking or disrupting lines of voters" at early voting stations. From the article:
Poll watchers in Harris County, Texas -- where a Tea Party group launched an aggressive anti-voter fraud effort -- were accused of "hovering over" voters, "getting into election workers' faces" and blocking or disrupting lines of voters who were waiting to cast their ballots as early voting got underway yesterday.
Now, TPMMuckraker has learned, the Justice Department has interviewed witnesses about the alleged intimidation and is gathering information about the so-called anti-voter fraud effort.
"We are currently gathering information regarding this matter," Justice Department spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement confirming the Civil Rights Division's involvement.
Harris County, the biggest county in the state, is where a Tea Party group called the King Street Patriots launched an anti-voter fraud initiative called "True the Vote," which recruited poll watchers and amped up fears over groups like the community organizing group ACORN.
Chad Dunn, a lawyer who is representing the Texas Democratic Party, told TPMMuckraker a number of witnesses have been interviewed by Civil Rights Division lawyers already. "We've gotten a number of reports -- quite a few out of the Houston area -- that poll watchers, King Street Patriot training poll watchers, are following a voter after they've checked them out and stand right behind them," Dunn said. There's at least a dozen reports that they could confirm with witnesses, he said. "Interestingly, it's all in the polling places in Hispanic and African-American areas," he added.
Beck briefly mentioned and dismissed allegations that King Street Patriots poll watchers were engaged in voter intimidation. A Nexis search of Fox transcripts for "King Street Patriots or Houston Votes or True the Vote" returns two results, one from Glenn Beck's October 31 program and one from the September 27 broadcast of Fox & Friends. Megyn Kelly also mentioned the King Street Patriots during a segment on November 1. Beck appeared to dismiss the allegations, managed to tie the DOJ's actions to George Soros, and concluded, "Gee, I wonder which side will take the phone calls at the DoJ." From the Nexis transcript of the program:
BECK: So expect the reaction. Expect the fraud. Expect intimidation. It's all been done before. Eric Holder's DoJ didn't seem alarmed, you know, at the radical militants that were hovering at the polls. No big deal! They inexplicably dropped the rock solid case against them. Now they're being looked at to look into voter intimidation, alleged voter intimidation, in Harris County, Texas. A group there called the King Street Patriots have been trained -- have been training poll watchers to watch out for document or voter intimidation or fraud. They document everything they see. They write it all down.
The lawsuit has been filed against the King Street Patriots now. Wait a minute. This is against -- who's filing -- the Democrats and a group called Houston Votes are now alleging that it is the King Street Patriots that are the ones doing the intimidation. Both Jackson Lee and the King Street Patriots are requesting that the DoJ sends reps to the polls. By the way, Houston Votes, the group suing their parent company, funded by George Soros. The George Soros Open Society-funded group, Texans Together Education Fund. Gee, I wonder which side will take the phone calls at the DoJ."
Fox & Friends hypes King Street Patriots' "True the Vote" allegations of voter fraud, ignored reports they doctored a photo to support claims of voter fraud. On the September 27 broadcast of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-hosts Brian Kilmeade and Gretchen Carlson interviewed Catherine Engelbrecht, spokesperson for the "True the Vote" initiative, which is affiliated with the King Street Patriots. The initiative this summer claimed to have found thousands of fraudulent voter registration forms among those turned in by a civic group called Houston Votes. Lawsuits surrounding the claims are ongoing. On September 6, the Huffington Post reported that the King Street Patriots reportedly used a doctored a photo in a video on alleged voter fraud to make it appear as though a black woman was holding a sign that read, "I only got to vote once!" Original photos from the 2000 Gore-Lieberman recount rally show that her sign read, "Don't mess with our vote."
Kelly mentions King Street Patriots but fails to mention Department of Justice involvement or specific allegations at polling places. On November 1, "America Live" anchor Megyn Kelly led a segment about the King Street Patriots, but failed to mention that the Department of Justice was looking into these claims, saying only that "some minority groups say" King Street Patriot activity "amounts to voter intimidation." A local anchor says instead that "King Street Patriots have been accused by some of frightening white voters with allegations that New Black Panther Party members" will intimidate voters in Harris. According to Talking Points Memo, the King Street Patriots director Catherine Engelbrecht derisively refers to the Houston Votes headquarters as the "New Black Panthers' office" in a video on the group's website.
Fox airs no reports on fliers from phony Texas group that were intended to trick Democratic voters
Non-existent "Black Democratic Trust of Texas" distributed fliers telling voters not to vote "straight ticket Democratic" because "it is actually voting for Republicans." ABC affiliate KTRK reported on October 27 that misleading fliers were handed out and left on windshields at a predominantly African-American polling place in Houston. The fliers urged voters not to vote "straight ticket Democratic," saying, "it is actually voting for Republicans and your vote doesn't count." It tells them instead to only vote for Bill White, Democratic candidate for governor in Texas. A copy of the flier obtained by Talking Points Memo shows that the fliers read:
Republicans are trying to trick us! When you vote straight ticket Democratic, it is actually voting for Republicans and your vote doesn't count. We are urging everyone to VOTE for BILL WHITE. A VOTE for BILL WHITE is a VOTE for the ENTIRE DEMOCRATIC ticket. We have fought too hard to let Republicans use voting machines to deny us our basic rights. We must guard the change andNOT VOTE STRAIGHT TICKET DEMOCRAT!"
YES WE CAN!
The flier is attributed to the "Black Democratic Trust of Texas," which, according to TPM, is a "non-existent group."
Fox News has made no mention of this story. Nexis searches of Fox News transcripts for "Black Democratic Trust of Texas or (Houston w/50 (fli! or letter or mail! or straight ticket))" returned zero results.
Fox airs no reports on Republican activists in Texas allegedly harassing elderly black voters at their homes
Seven elderly black voters report being harassed at their homes in Texas after sending their mail-in ballots. Mother Jones reported on October 29 that a voting rights lawyer filed a complaint with the Department of Justice on behalf of elderly black voters who complained of being harassed and intimidated at their homes in eastern Texas. The article said at least seven elderly voters complained they were harassed by "two unidentified white women" who came to their homes in Bowie County to interrogate them about their mail-in ballot applications. The article describes the women as "middle-aged, local Republican activists who had accessed publicly available information about which voters had requested mail-in ballots":
The complaint claims that the women showed up unannounced this week at the home of 78-year-old Willard Wherry, of Dekalb, who had voted by mail. The pair proceeded to grill Wherry about who had helped him to fill out his mail-in ballot, repeatedly questioning whether anyone had showed up at his home to assist him. "We are just trying to be sure no one is trying to coax someone to vote," one of the woman said, according to Hebert's complaint.
The women then went to a local senior citizens center to question whether five residents had received improper assistance in voting, as well as the home of L.E. Bohannon, a 79-year-old African American voter from DeKalb, the complaint says: "Then they pulled out a copy of form with his signature on it and they asked if that was his signature. They asked him who helped him fill out the form." Molly Beth Malcolm, a local Democratic consultant, spoke directly with some of the alleged victims and claims the incidents are racially discriminatory. "They're not going around to older Anglos, but the African-American community," she says.
Fox News does not appear to have covered this story. A Nexis search of Fox News transcripts for "Bowie County or (Texas w/50 (ballot or absentee or mail-in)" did not return any relevant results.
Fox did not report on allegations that GOP candidate Kirk planned "voter integrity" squads for African-American neighborhoods
Kirk: We'll deploy lawyers and others in "vulnerable precincts...where the other side might be tempted to jigger the numbers somewhat." On October 8, WLS-TV in Chicago reported that Mark Kirk, GOP senatorial candidate in Illinois, was secretly recorded telling state Republican leaders that he had hired a "voter integrity squad" to concentrate on four regions that are populated by large numbers of African-American voters. According to WLS-TV, Kirk said, "These are lawyers and other people that will be deployed in key, vulnerable precincts, for example, South and West sides of Chicago, Rockford, Metro East, where the other side might be tempted to jigger the numbers somewhat." Kirk was not aware he was being taped at the time. The Kirk campaign later confirmed that the congressman made the remarks, for which he was widely criticized.
Fox News does not appear to have covered this story. A Nexis search of Fox News transcripts for "Kirk and (voter integrity or jigger or vulnerable or fraud! or intimid!)" did not return any relevant results.
By contrast, Fox has repeatedly hyped stories of "voter fraud" allegedly carried out by Democrats
Baier vowed that Fox News will cover voter fraud allegations "in every show." After airing a report on various allegations of voter fraud on an October 31 special edition of Special Report, host Bret Baier concluded that "we'll be following this in every show."
Fox has relentlessly hyped GOP-linked accusations of voter fraud, regardless of their credibility. As Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, Fox News has promoted many allegations of voter fraud supposedly carried out by Democrats and left-wing groups, no matter how little evidence exists to support these claims.
Fox has voter fraud email tip line. As Talking Points Memo noted, on October 28, Fox News announced that it "has set up an e-mail to collect viewer complaints over voter fraud ahead of the midterm elections." The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.