Monday, November 08, 2004

Media Black Out on Vote Fraud Allegations

Media Black Out on Vote Fraud Allegations
By DAVID SWANSON
CounterPunch

The "mainstream" media has fallen down on the job by failing to cover efforts since November 2 to ensure that all votes in the presidential election are accurately counted. The conclusion by John Kerry that an investigation could not possibly reverse the election may quite possibly have been premature. But the question that both activists and the media should be asking is not whether there was enough fraud and errors to decide the election, nor even whether there was more than is usual, but whether there was any fraud or errors, where the problems occurred, how they can be prevented in the future, and -- in particular -- whether new kinds of fraud were permitted by new technologies and by the privatization of our election process.

The International Labor Communications Association is particularly concerned, because of indications, detailed below, that fraud may have occurred in areas where there are heavy populations of workers, African-Americans, and other progressive voters that our member organizations represent. People deserve to have their votes counted, and the strategists who will spend four years studying the election results deserve to have the facts. Some citizens and independent media outlets are raising these issues, but the corporate media is AWOL. An investigation by the media would seem especially appropriate, since the 2000 election led to investigations in Florida that determined the loser was occupying the White House.

Evidence existed before this election that quite possibly "the fix" was in: the co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio was running the 2004 election in that state and had for weeks been demonstrating every intention to disenfranchise Democrats; the head of a company manufacturing electronic voting machines for use around the country had announced his intention to help Bush stay in the White House. The weaknesses and susceptibility to abuse of electronic voting machines, including the machines that many people vote on and the machines that add up the votes from multiple precincts, had been well documented.


QUESTIONS ABOUT EXIT POLLS

If the pre-election context wasn't enough to put the media on alert, the exit polls on election day should have been. The polls by the National Election Pool, throughout the day, showed Kerry ahead in a number of swing states. Media commentators made it quite clear that they had seen and took seriously the polls. Professional pollster John Zogby took them seriously enough to call the race for Kerry. Wall Street took them seriously enough to start dropping stock prices.

...

As pointed out in various analyses, the exit polls were accurate within their margin of error in many states but were surprisingly far off in a number of swing states, and always off in the same direction, showing more support for Kerry than was found in the official counts. Warren Mitofsky, co-director of the National Election Pool, told the News Hour with Jim Lehrer that "Kerry was ahead in a number of states by margins that looked unreasonable to us." Mitofsky speculated that perhaps more Kerry voters were willing to participate in the exit poll, but did not suggest any reason for that speculation other than the difference between the exit polls and the final counts. He and his colleagues have since produced other speculative reasons why the exit polls could have been wrong, all grounded in circular reasoning. Mitofsky told the News Hour that on the evening of November 2 he decided to wait for the official counts and then use those to "correct" the exit polls, thus rendering the hugely expensive exit polls useless as either predictors of the election outcome or measurements of the count's accuracy. Media outlets "corrected" the exit polls on their websites early in the morning of November 3. Mitofsky promised in the future to keep exit poll results secret, thus fully rendering them useless for any stated purpose related to election outcomes (they will still be able to tell us after the fact how many voters were female or Jewish or go to church weekly or believe health care is the most important issue, etc.).

. . .

Nor has the corporate media touched on the topic of spoiled ballots and hanging chads in Ohio, which BBC reporter Greg Palast believes wrongly cost Kerry the election there.

The stories of election problems that would seem to merit investigation are numerous.

. . .

The mainstream media will not report these claims unless indisputable evidence is produced that Kerry won the election. And, if the 2000 election is any guide, the media will bury the story even then. In the meantime, following the narrowest win for a sitting president since Woodrow Wilson, the media has announced that Bush has a "clear mandate" to enact his agenda an agenda that the media is reporting on more now than prior to the election.

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