Scott Gessler: All That Stands Between Freedom And Al Franken

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 andSaddam 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.

15 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. The Pueblo Chieftain keeps doing it because at least their editorial department is not credible.

    • gertie97 says:

      Bob Rawlings.

      Newspaper editorial departments are dictatorships where the only vote that counts is the publisher. The Chieftain is no different.

      • I stand by the statement.  If you can’t publish stuff that at minimum meets basic news-gathering standards, regardless of the reason, then you have no credibility.

        • BlueCat says:

          distinctions between the editor and the publisher are irrelevant given the end result.  The Chieftain officially has no need to worrry about losing credibility. Can’t lose what you don’t have. They are basically the Onion without a sense of humor.

      • ParkHill says:

        Remember when the publisher at a Denver newspaper overruled the editorial board in 2000 to demand that they endorse George Bush?

        The boss says jump so the editorial board jumps: do what it takes to put Republicans back in power. All you need to know is who owns the newspaper, and who owns the right-wing think tanks like Heritage and Cato.

        Notice that ease with which editorial space is provided to right-wing Libertarians like Vincent Carroll and propagandists from Cato institute.

  2. Gray in Mountains says:

    that a news organization, who should know enough to fact check, in an effort to be “fair” to someone like Gessler, end up spouting such crap that is easily disproven. And, since it comes from the editorial board is likely to NEVER be corrected. Fortunately, almost no one reads editorials.

  3. PitaPita says:

    The Grand Junction Sentinel has been in a downhill slide for several years now. They do have some good, young reporters but I dare say if opportunity knocks they are going to grab on and leave.

  4. ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

    Did Gessler make this comparison? Who cares about the Pueblo Chieftain editorial board?

    If you want to spend your time attacking a small media market’s newspaper that’s fine, but I seriously doubt you’d care as much if the article were praising a Democrat.

    • Sir RobinSir Robin says:

      that it’s OK with him to lie, cheat, steal, etc. What’s the big deal? It’s just the dominant newspaper in that market. Why should they be held to any standard of integrity or truthfulness? That’s for suckers.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      has already previously provided enough stupidity for all of Colorado, it is at least slightly informative to note that he doesn’t have a monopoly on the market.

      You’re funny.

    • BlueCat says:

      right on cue. Poor little small market Chieftain. How unfair to expect stuff like fact checking. But really, ArapG, Gesslers problem isn’t what we say about him.  It’s what he says and does all on his own, no matter how any poor little, small market papers choose  to frame it.

    • ClubTwitty says:

      How absurd!  A blog about Colorado politics examining an editorial in a Colorado newspaper (from one of its larger cities…) about Colorado politics.   Over the Top!  Saul Alinsky!  Democratic takeover of all that is well-and-good.  We’re sick of it.  Mittens will win so STFU!   All those other candidates that keep Willard down are just flashes in the pan, one flash, two flash, three flash, four flash, people love Mittens!  He will win and you stupid Democratic Democrats with your fair elections and competitive seats nonsense will all see.

      And now I return you to Club Twitty…

  5. pueblogrouch says:

    A few weeks ago I went to a big dinner here in Pueblo. Someone got up and announced that ColoradoPols had discovered that the local rag was not objective. It drew a big laugh. This paper serves most of Southern Colorado. They advertise that they have the greatest market penetration in the country.

    Welcome to our world.

    • Gilpin GuyGilpin Guy says:

      by the Pueblo County Democratic Party.

      It’s my understanding that Pueblo is a Democratic stronghold.  Shouldn’t the local party be writing letters to the editor and offering an alternative view to their ultra-conservative editorial board?  This sigh of acceptance is unacceptable.

      Occupy the Chieftain.

      • pueblogrouch says:

        we push back, but getting anything printed is a problem. There have been serious efforts to buy the damn rag, but nothing has come of those efforts. Bob Rawlings really liked Buffie McFadyn and tried to talk her into becoming a Republican. Since paper news sources are experiencing such tough times, there is a group who is planning to start an online news source for Pueblo. I wish them well.

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