We’ve taken note a couple of times now of faulty reporting and editorializing in the Pueblo Chieftain, regarding the recent controversy over the delivery of mail ballots to so-called “inactive failed to vote” voters. Beginning with a grossly inaccurate report (later made right) from correspondent Peter Roper on the high rate of return for these ballots in Pueblo County, followed by an absurd editorial from the Chieftain that brazenly misrepresented what was in fact a return rate three times higher than predicted by Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler.
Our conclusion was, and remains, that the Chieftain, particularly the editorial board, simply had no interest in accurately telling the story of what happened. They knew the correct story, but chose to retell it as a 180-degree mirror image of what everyone else agrees are the facts.
So, needless to say, we are now in the habit of not taking the pronouncements of the Chieftain’s editorial board all that seriously: though it’s really too bad for the Chieftain’s 50,000 readers to be so wantonly misled. But we have to say we were not prepared for yesterday’s editorial, in which the Chieftain attempts to sum up what Secretary of State Gessler’s agenda has really been all along. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you…“Gessler’s Quest.” Not a joke:
We know what kind of elections have been held in nations where a dominant party can skew the outcome of elections, from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela to Fidel Castro’s Cuba. In just the past week there were credible reports of massive voting fraud in Russia, although Vladimir Putin’s party managed to hold on to partial parliamentary power.
None of this is to say that Mr. Ortiz or any other Colorado county clerk has allowed ballot fraud. But it is to say that, when the safeguards are not thoroughly enforced, fraud can – and will – occur.
That’s why Mr. Gessler backed legislation to require Colorado residents to prove citizenship before they register to vote and to require registered voters to show photo IDs before casting ballots. Both ideas were rejected by Democrats in the Legislature who argued there is scant evidence of voter impersonation, and that the changes could suppress voting among ethnic minorities and elderly people…
We cannot keep our republic if we do not have confidence that our elections are clean and fraud-free. If we end up with government leaders by dint of fraudulent elections, the U.S. will be no better than Hussein’s Iraq, Chavez’s Venezuela, Castro’s Cuba and Putin’s Russia. [Pols emphasis]
Got that? Because election fraud happens in Russia, Venezuela, and Cuba, and used to happen in Iraq, we need new election laws that “could suppress voting among ethnic minorities and elderly people.” And it doesn’t matter if there is “scant evidence of voter impersonation,” because…hey! Do you want America to be ‘no better’ than Russia and Cuba?!
It’s pretty bad, isn’t it? It gets much, much worse we’re sorry to say:
Recall that the Minnesota election for U.S. senator was tied up for weeks until – lo and behold – a batch of ballots were “found” in the trunk of a car. The result was the “election” of comic Al Franken by a margin amounting to a handful of votes. [Pols emphasis]
And with that, the Chieftain has crossed over into the spreading of totally discredited lies. As the Minnesota Independent reported just days after the 2008 elections:
Minneapolis election director Cindy Reichert…attests the car-ballot story is “just not true”: She never had the ballots in her car – nor were they in anyone’s car for several days – and they were kept in secure facilities between election day and vote counting. It was Coleman’s attorney, Fritz Knaak, who told reporters, “We were actually told ballots had been riding around in her car for several days, which raised all kinds of integrity questions.” From there, the Wall Street Journal picked up on it and reported it as fact; similar to Hannity’s on-screen graphic, the error appeared in a story headlined “Mischief in Minnesota?”
And the St. Paul Pioneer Press over a year ago:
Stoked when Gov. Tim Pawlenty mentioned it during a news conference, the story called [Reichert's] integrity and her competence into question, and it still lingers despite [Coleman attorney] Knaak’s almost immediate insistence that there was nothing to it. [Pols emphasis]
“My mom called and said: ‘Put it on Fox News! They’re going to be talking about Minneapolis elections!’ I thought, ‘Oh, gee, wonder what this is?’ ” Reichert said.
What she saw alarmed her.
“They’ve got a picture of an open car trunk on one side with an arrow pointing in it, and a picture of Al Franken with his angry fist up on the other side, and they’re reporting that I’ve been driving around with ballots in my car,” Reichert said.
Wild speculative leaps? Check. Invocation of communists and/or–in this case and–Saddam Hussein? Check. Repeating falsehoods discredited over three years ago? Check! This editorial has everything you’d expect from a spam chain letter about Barack Obama’s birth certificate.
Perhaps the only unanswered question is why a “credible” media outlet keeps doing this.