Second Time in a Week.
Is the tide finally turning?
By Brad Friedman on 4/26/2005, 12:10pm PT  

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win"
- Mahatma Gandhi

If this Sunday article from Washington Post is any indication, it seems we're now somewhere between that "laugh at you" phase and that "fight you" phase. Which I choose to see as continuing good news...since we're heading straight towards that "then you win" phase in the bargain.

The piece headlined "Vote Fraud Theorists Battle Over Plausibility" from WaPo's Terry M. Neal is, at least, a step in the right direction. The issues are finally being discussed on no matter which page in the mainstreamest of the Mainstream Media.

With that, however, comes the usual expected imbalance in the bargain. The WaPo article discusses the recent scientific report from U.S. Count Votes which debunks the notion that the Exit Polls were wrong (as Bush Supporters, Republicans, and even the Exit Polling company would like you to believe) by explaining that the odds are several millions to one that the Exit Polls could say one thing in virtually all of the swing states, only to wildly change --- and in only one direction, Bush's --- at the last minute to give Bush a "victory" in the final Voting Results.

In covering the report --- as we've come to expect whenever such issues are discussed at all in the mainstream --- Neal is skeptical and as well, quotes two other skeptics. They only bother to quote one supporter of the study, one of the authors themselves.

One of the great misconceptions (generously) or misdirections (more probably) that the piece offers is Neal's notion that...

it strains credulity to think that there was some sort of massive, coordinated effort to steal an election. Such a conspiracy would have had to cross state lines, involve hundreds or thousands of people and trickle down from the heights of power to the lowest precinct worker.

...Well, no. That's not actually the case at all. It would take a relatively small number of people to secretly flip the vote only in the states where it was needed, and even in only the counties were such manipulation of the vote would be less likely to be noticed (say, in Democratic Counties...where there was indeed much unexplained funny business, to say the least, last November).

Let's focus, however, on the good news, as we're wont to do. Neal starts the column thusly...

After my recent column on President Bush's popularity woes, a torrent of e-mail flooded in from angry Democrats insisting that Bush's relative lack of popularity only reinforced their belief that the 2004 election was stolen.

Neal, of course, minimizes the issue suggesting that he (she? Not sure! Sorry, Terry!) was flooded by e-mail from "angry Democrats". We didn't send Neal a note, but had we done so, we would have been able to assure him/her that we are neither "angry" nor consider ourselves a "Democrat". That dismissiveness --- considering how many notes we've received personally from Republicans on this matter, who are equally concerned about what happened last November --- simply plays into the hands of those who would like to disregard the entire issue of a potentially stolen election as nothing but sour Democratic grapes.

But the good news that we mean to point out in Neal's opening, is that you folks are making yourselves heard! You folks are writing to such columnists and newspapers and holding their feet to the fire! You, as it was said in Fatal Attraction, will not be ignored! We've said it many times, but needs to be said again and again, your noise does and is making a difference!

Buried within the "conspiracy theory", "angry Democrat" and "hundreds and thousands of people needed" argument, was at least this one comment from the author of the report being discussed, Temple University's Josh Mittledorf:

I called Mitteldorf for an explanation, and he said he only knows the "what," not the "why." The "what" is that the unprecedented discrepancy between exit poll and vote counts cannot be explained merely by statistical error. It is possible though, he said, that there was widespread fraud --- particularly in key battleground states --- without a conspiracy.

"It doesn't necessarily take a conspiracy," he said. "It could just be that there was an atmosphere [from Republican leaders] of 'Hey, we really need to win this election, wink, wink. Whatever you do, we'll stand behind you. There will be no investigation because Republicans control the courts and everything, especially in places like Ohio.'

"It could just be that there are thousands of people working independently but with the knowledge that they are being protected and will never be prosecuted for this crime. . . . But I don't know. That's not my area of expertise."

Neal then goes on to quote from Warren Mitofsky, of the Exit Polling company Edison and Mitofsky, who stands by the shittiness of his companies own product as to the reason for the disparity in Exit Polls vs Final Results.

(Neal did not bother to ask Mitofsky, apparently, why Mitofsky's Exit Polls in Ukraine recently --- which were similarly different from the Final Resutls --- indicated fraud in that election, but not in ours.)

Neal then moves on to another supposedly "Democratic" pollster who also criticizes the study.

Neal, throughout, criticizes or minimizes the study as well...though with no evidence to back up the argument.

Near the end he/she closes with this:

People on the right will cry bias because I even acknowledged this report. People on the left will cry bias because I didn't endorse it. Rather than tell people what to believe, I prefer to let people decide for themselves. And some people on both sides will say I'm the one who's weasely because I don't take a position.

No Mr./Mrs. Neal, we don't think you're weasely for not taking a position. In fact you did take a position. But more to the point, it's your job to report and not necessarily take a position. There is no problem with that.

The problem stems from the overt bias against the notion that anything could have gone wrong despite the overwhelming evidence to suggest that something did go wrong. Almost none of that evidence is presented in the WaPo story, though plenty of statements and direct quotes hoping to debunk such evidence is freely given, even by the writer him/herself.

Nonetheless, our eternal optimism demands that we see this as a victory on the long fight towards the "then you win" phase as Gandhi described it. The WaPo is finally --- six months after the election --- discussing the matter at all. And the second time in a week! (See this previous article from last Tuesday, in which WaPo's Brian Faler described a "dizzying list of electoral problems that might make some wonder how any ballots were counted in November!")

So the word continues to seep out, the laughing continues from some, even while the real fight has begun. And it's citizens like yourselves --- not the politicians and certainly not the corporate media --- who are holding feet to the fire via Email, Letters to the Editor, phone calls and more!

Keep up the good work, Freedom Fighters! Eventually, we will win. And America will thank us for it.

EMail Terry Neal
Letters to the editor may sent here.

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