Monday, November 15, 2004

First Heat, Then Light

Just as the kettle on the Election Fraud issue was starting to boil, in rushed the mainstream media to turn down the gas. "Vote Fraud Theories, Spread by Blogs, Are Quickly Buried," read one headline in the NY Times. "Florida E-Vote Fraud? Unlikely" read another from Wired News. And these are from two venues that are sympathetic to the idea that when people vote their counts should actually be counted and should actually count.

The problem with these stories is that they covered only some of the issues at hand (optical scan voting machines in the Florida panhandle), and then only partially, prompting a swift rebuttal from Kathy Dopp, the mathematician ("Internet enthusiast" in the Times story) who discovered the optical scan anomalies in the first place. I exchanged vaguely unpleasant emails with the Wired writer, who used to be an employee of mine back in the day and took offense at what she perceived as criticism of her work. (It wasn't.) She says she's working on a followup article regarding the rebuttal, but it hasn't appeared yet.

The good news? A week of blogs rubbing against this issue caused enough heat for the Men in Suits to take notice, even if they reacted in typical "we didn't find this story, so it couldn't possibly be true" fashion. Even better news is that it looks like we're going to get a recount in Ohio and New Hampshire, as MSNBC's Keith Olbermann reports. (Olbermann has become the new darling of the pinko blogs, simply because he's covered the story that everyone else in his tax bracket was waiting to dry up and wither away.)

At least, until the RNC files the inevitable lawsuit attempting to block them.

Meanwhile, after a week in which's site was either inaccessible or as exciting to watch as an oil painting, the site was finally updated with a spate of news, including the item that Beverly Harris and her team of intrepid investigators have "launched a fraud audit" of Florida counties that haven't complied with the Freedom of Information Act requests she filed back in October. Lord only knows what "fraud audit" means, but -- you go, girl.

In a 15-minute radio interview with Randi Rhodes on Air America, Harris says she's been scheduled to appear on several news shows, including Olbermann's, to talk about the "F word" (fraud), but that it's always been nixed by someone higher up the food chain. And the reason? Not some massive conspiracy by the Men in Suits, nor some cabal cooked up by Karl Rove (though if there's a cabal to be cooked, he's the master chef). It's because no one "official" on the opposition side is pressing the issue, just a bunch of rabid bloggers who tend to shoot their mouths off first and ask questions later. That's how Big Media works -- if you don't have proper credentials, you can be safely ignored.

Fortunately, as we've discovered a few times this frenetic election season, if you generate enough heat online someone with an appropriately tailored suit will start to sweat. And if you keep generating heat it's possible to actually get some questions answered.

That's all I want. I want to know who won this election, fair and square. If the Republicanazis really did snooker all those people into voting against their best interests, and they can prove it, then so be it. We live at the mercy of the snookered. But if they didn't.... I'm stockpiling torches and pitchforks.

So. Read the blogs. Write letters to the media questioning their assumptions and their assertions. Ask our elected representatives to kindly please represent us. Keep generating heat. And then, maybe, we'll start to see some light.


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