Nov 1 2012


Extra! November 2012

Don’t Look to NYT  to ‘Litigate’ the Facts Margaret Sullivan, the new New York Times public editor (9/16/12), used the topic of “voter fraud” to illustrate the concept of “false balance”―when two sides are treated as equivalent even when one side has reality on its side. Despite Republican efforts to pass laws to prevent voting by the ineligible, research finds next to no examples of this problem―but coverage often treats the absence of fraudulent voting as a partisan assertion (Extra!, 10/12). While Sullivan rightly observed that “journalists need to make every effort to get beyond the spin and help readers […]

Oct 1 2012

Actual Suppression vs. Imaginary Fraud

Media won't ID voter ID myths

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Madison Guy

As usual, comedian Jon Stewart explained reality on a fake news show better than most “real” news outlets. On the August 16 broadcast of Comedy Central’s Daily Show, Stewart imagined a world where peanut butter was treated with “huge amounts of hydrochloric acid to dissolve any potential dragon bones.” Sure, people die from the acid–but the dragon bone problem is solved once and for all. That absurd metaphor was used to illustrate the wave of “voter ID” laws in states like Pennsylvania–where, as Stewart put it, the possible disenfranchisement of over 700,000 legal Pennsylvania voters is “the price you pay to prevent something that doesn’t […]

Mar 1 2005

America’s Broken Electoral System

Get over it, says mainstream press

Throughout 2004, the “swing state” of Ohio was in the media spotlight. Prior to the election, it was a site of alleged voter fraud and sup­pression; as Extra! reported (12/04), the news media tended to portray the charges as partisan ploys rather than significant threats to the electoral process. Then, on November 2, Ohio became this election’s Florida: Once again a tight race hinged on the electoral votes of a state too close to call. At the end of the night, with only about 130,000 votes sep­arating Democrat John Kerry and Republican George W. Bush, Kerry refused to concede. The […]