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.
From the October 31 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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From the October 29 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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From columnist David Zurawik, after noting that Kelly will co-anchor Fox News' election coverage next week [emphasis added]:
One of the most notable differences among the channels this year is that while CNN, Fox News, the broadcast networks and PBS are designating anchormen and anchorwomen to lead their coverage, MSNBC is showcasing opinion-mongering hosts like Keith Olbermann at its anchor desk on election night.
I would not be surprised if MSNBC finishes last among the three major cable news channels and is further marginalized yet into being a non-contender on a night when Americans are looking for accurate, verified information and sound analysis rather than the kinds of adolescent histrionics Olbermann and Matthews have given viewers on past election nights.
Fox continued its relentless campaigning for Republicans this week by hosting three more GOP candidates as well as the campaign attorney for Nevada GOP senatorial candidate Sharron Angle. Fox had kicked off the week before the election by hosting seven* Republican candidates in the course of 24 hours, and RNC chairman Michael Steele twice, while hosting just one Democratic official, DNC chair Tim Kaine.
Promoting a report published by Republican senators Tom Coburn (OK) and John Barrasso (WY), Fox News forwarded the false claims that the health care reform law "will kill 800,000 jobs - perhaps more" and "8 in 10 small businesses could lose their health care plans." Health care experts have said Fox's claims are misleading or "just plain wrong."
One of Fox News' purportedly objective news programs reported the false claim that Mi Familia Vota submitted 3,000 "shady" voter registrations at the "last minute" in Arizona to benefit the Democratic Party. The fake story originated from an Arizona blogger who has a history of making questionable statements, and was denounced as false by the Yuma County Recorder's Office.
Fox News' Megyn Kelly said today that "there are reports of, quote 'voter fraud on a massive scale' with the intention of keeping Democrats in office." Kelly hosted Michelle Malkin to provide evidence of fraud in four states, but Malkin got her basic facts wrong in at least two of her examples.
Let's take them one by one.
KELLY: You start with Colorado, where you say there is, in your words, an apparent scheme to foist some 6,000 shady voter registrations on the state. Six thousand shady voter registrations. Why?
MALKIN: Well, because they were submitted at the last minute and in fact, a judge rejected a petition by left-wing groups, big labor groups that were involved in submitting these voter registrations to somehow accept them despite a 20 day rule that the state of Colorado has passed. ... This is just one of many cases in which these left-wing groups have tried to submit these very suspicious voter registrations at the last minute and they're waging further war on this front despite this loss on Friday.
So a judge rejected a petition to reinstate 6,000 voter registrations that Malkin calls "suspicious" because, she claims, "they were submitted at the last minute." They weren't. According to court documents retrieved through PACER, most of those registrations were submitted before the November 2008 elections. The registrations were canceled because of Colorado's "20-day rule," and voter registration groups have been trying to get them reinstated since 2008. Around 2,000 of the 6,000 were submitted and canceled in the nearly two years between November 4, 2008, and this month. The other 4,000 were submitted before November 4, 2008.
KELLY: Well you talk about Arizona as well, where there was a massive attempt to get a bunch of these last-minute voter registrations through, despite some very curious facts about those voter registrations.
MALKIN: Correct. Arizona bloggers have found out that tens of thousands of these voter registrations submitted by a group called Mi Familia Vota ... Those tens of thousands of those voter registrations just happen to be, well, a majority of Democrat voter registrations and all sorts of watchdogs are raising questions and blowing the whistle over those shady registrations.
KELLY: Yeah, you said that there were 3,000 voter registration forms all dropped off at once by this one group on the deadline and that almost all of them were registrations for the Democratic Party, which is a statistical improbability at best.
On her website, Malkin cites a blog called Publius Pundit for this claim -- which is unfortunate because Publius Pundit misreads a Yuma Sun article and mistakes 3,000 people signing up for Arizona's permanent early voting ballots list for "3,000 voter registrations." The blogger then claims "a source in the Yuma County Recorder's Office" said "these 3000 voter registration forms" were dropped off by one group, right on the deadline; that "almost all" of them "were for the Democratic Party, a statistical improbability at best"; and the Recorder's office found that "more than 65% of them are invalid."
The Yuma County Recorder's Office tells Media Matters that those claims are "completely false." Mi Familia Vota says they have registered 289 voters in Yuma County over the past two months.
Last week, I pointed out that right-wing media had tried to push back against criticism of conservative political groups for funding GOP attack ads with money from undisclosed donors, possibly including foreign donors by baselessly claiming that the AFL-CIO is funded by foreign sources.
With that charge debunked, they've moved on to their next target: long-time conservative target SEIU.
Today on Fox News' America Live, Megyn Kelly accused Democrats of "hypocrisy," for not "taking aim" at SEIU, claiming that the union "has acknowledged that not only does it have these donors, but that says it cannot 'be certain that foreign nationals have not contributed to its $44 million political budget to support pro-labor Democrats.'" Watch:
Kelly's criticism really doesn't add up.
From the October 20 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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On today's America Live, Megyn Kelly hosted "Democratic pollster" and Fox News contributor Doug Schoen, who bashed the Democrats' strategy of making the funding sources of the Chamber of Commerce a campaign issue. At no point did Fox News mention that the Chamber of Commerce recently commissioned -- and presumably paid -- Schoen to conduct a poll for the GOP-aligned group.
On September 23, the Chamber released a poll "by Frank Luntz and Doug Schoen" finding that as a result of the health care law, "small businesses are less likely to create jobs, less confident in their ability to succeed, and consequently less capable of helping to lead our economy out of this downturn." The Chamber also released a memo that Schoen co-wrote for them and a transcript of a conference call he participated in for reporters on behalf of the Chamber.
While Kelly and the onscreen text identified Schoen as a "Democratic pollster," Schoen appears to be rooting against the Democrats in this congressional cycle. He's donated money to the unsuccessful congressional campaign of Republican Angela McGlowan, and was listed as a headliner for a fundraiser for Republican candidate John Gomez. This, of course, makes him one of Fox News' favorite "Democrats."
From the October 14 edition of Fox News Channel's America Live:
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From the October 13 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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This afternoon, Fox News hosted Bruce Josten, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's executive vice president of government affairs, who lashed out at the Obama administration for its recent criticism of the chamber. Subjected to a flurry of softball questions from anchor Megyn Kelly, Josten said the administration was "acting out of desperation" and "seems to have gone from a campaign of hope and change to fear and smear." Watch:
Josten seems pretty sure of himself -- as well he should be. He's giving an interview on the one network where he knows his attacks will not be challenged.
How could the chamber be sure they would have a friendly venue on Fox to discuss allegations about the donors funding their attack ads? Because Fox's parent company is one of those donors! Yup, News Corp. gave $1 million to the chamber this summer.
Somehow, Megyn Kelly forgot to mention that donation during her six-minute interview with one of its top executives.
This whole situation is an ethics nightmare. But as usual, Fox couldn't care less.
On Tuesday, I noted that two nonpartisan campaign finance watchdogs had asked the IRS to investigate whether Crossroads GPS -- a GOP slush fund promoted by Karl Rove -- had violated its tax status through excessive electioneering. I concluded the post by saying, "It will be interesting to see if Fox chooses to ignore this story altogether, or bring Rove on to spin for his group."
Well, Fox fooled me; they did neither. Instead, the network's Megyn Kelly hosted Dana Perino -- not only Rove's current colleague at Fox News, but also his former colleague at the Bush White House -- to discuss the allegations. Rove has reportedly praised Perino as "one of the most talented professionals I've seen."
Oh, and of course, neither Kelly nor Perino mentioned the allegations by the campaign finance groups, who issued similar calls for action after the 2004 election against Democratic-linked groups, resulting in more than $1 million in fines.
Instead, they focused on identical allegations by Democratic Sen. Max Baucus. That way, you see, they could call it a politically-motivated smear tactic.
Seems like a tactic straight from the Rove playbook.