For many months now, Fox News has been on the case of alleged voter fraud in America. And notwithstanding the fact that they have utterly failed to turn up any evidence of more than a handful of incidents (usually implicating Republicans), they persist in presenting it as a rampant crisis that threatens our democracy.
The latest example of this stain on journalism is an article Fox published yesterday about the discredited and disreputable Tea Party-affiliated band of voter intimidation activists, True the Vote. The headline for the article declares that “Voter watchdog says it’s uncovered absentee ballot fraud in Florida, New York.” This is precisely the sort of garbage that has earned Fox a reputation for demeaning professional journalism and violating ethical standards of practice. The article begins by stating that…
“A national voter fraud watchdog group announced Tuesday that it has uncovered at least 31 cases of absentee ballot fraud in New York and Florida — a finding the group claims is ‘just the tip of the iceberg.'”
That’s it. That is pretty much the whole article. There is nothing further that substantiates the claim by the “watchdog” group. There is no production of evidence. There is no affirmation from the state election agencies of New York or Florida. There is only a claim by True the Vote that their investigation yielded a massive trove of 31 voters whose names allegedly appear on the voter rolls of both states. But there is no indication that any research was done to ascertain whether they may have been different people with the same or similar names. So far as can be determined from the article, the voters themselves were not contacted.
So Fox News did precisely nothing to validate the assertions made by True the Vote. Yet they published the claims as if they were newsworthy. In effect Fox is acting as their press release publisher and as such have no obligation to verify any of the article’s content.
That’s convenient because True the Vote has never provided any documentation for their claims of election fraud. They have been operating for a couple of years after having spun off from a Texas Tea Party group called the King Street Patriots. They have been found guilty of conspiring with the Republican Party to provide in-kind contributions that were a violation of the law and cost them their tax-exempt status. And that history must be what Fox relied upon to give them the credibility of publishing their unsubstantiated allegations.
Fox News is using this hoax to further their phony campaign against non-existent election fraud and in support of voter ID laws that are designed to disenfranchise voters who happen to lean Democratic. It should be noted that the claims of fraud in this article are related to absentee ballots and would not have been prevented by any of the new laws, even if they were proven to have occurred. It is also noteworthy that the discovery of a mere 31 incidents would hardly justify purging voter rolls of millions of eligible citizens and thus denying them their right to vote.
In light of this, the only explanation for Fox publishing this story without even a cursory investigation into the substance, is that Fox News has signed on with True the Vote and is acting on their behalf. They are doing their part to prevent millions of seniors, minorities, students, and veterans, from casting votes this November. And that’s the real election fraud.
Republicans know that they can’t win this election fairly, so they are pulling out all the stops to corrupt the process and infringe on voter’s rights. And Fox News is a willing partner in this anti-democratic operation.