Fox "News" has finally decided to cover the widening GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal. Sort of. Barely. And they've decided to include me in their coverage.
It took more than a week, and it was becoming embarrassing that they hadn't said a word about the national scandal rocking the Republican National Committee, so they had to say something because, ya know, "Fair and Balanced" and all.
I was interviewed by their "voter fraud" correspondent Eric Shawn late last week for use on Thursday night's Special Report with Bret Baier. He ended up running lengthier excerpts from the interview the following day on of their afternoon shows.
The video of both packages are posted in full below.
It's been rather amusing watching the Rightwing's pretend "news" sites twist and turn to find new ways to not cover the growing registration fraud scandal which has now resulted in a criminal investigation being launched by the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement, as well as by prosecutors in the state of Colorado...
Duck and (Fail to) Cover
After two full weeks of GOP operative Nathan Sproul's company, Strategic Allied Consulting --- which was created for, and then hired by the RNC to run voter registration operations this year in FL, CO, NC, VA and NV for more than $3 million --- the very same Rightwing media outlets which went wall-to-wall in 2008 over trumped-up allegations against the community group ACORN, have barely mentioned this year's GOP scandal, even though it includes far more serious allegations than ACORN was ever either investigated for or, certainly, convicted of.
Specifically, Sproul's company is being investigated for, among other allegedly fraudulent voter registration submissions, changed addresses on forms for existing Democratic voters and/or destroying new Democratic registrations entirely. Election officials fear that both actions could result in disenfranchised voters this November 6th, as Palm Beach County, FL Supervisor of Election Susan Bucher explained during my interview with her on Pacifica Radio two weeks ago, when the story was first breaking. Bucher was the first to discover the fraudulent forms in her county in FL. Similarly fraudulent forms have since reportedly been discovered in some 12 counties across the state.
Sproul's companies have a long history of being accused of exactly this sort of thing. (See our summary of Sproul's "greatest hits" in our first report on this scandal two weeks ago.) He has escaped criminal prosecution over the years, while being paid tens of millions of dollars by the RNC and it's affiliated state parties and campaigns, including Bush/Cheney in '04, McCain/Palin in '08, and the Mitt Romney campaign who hired Sproul as a political consultant late last year.
Despite all of that, and despite their breathless, pretend coverage of a "voter fraud crisis" in 2008 which resulted in then GOP Presidential nominee Sen. John McCain embarrassing himself during a Presidential Debate by describing the ACORN "voter fraud" hoax as "one of the greatest frauds in voter history" which "maybe destroying the fabric of democracy" (he may have been right, but not in the way he intended), the Right has gone virtually speechless over a real threat to election integrity, now that it appears to have been headed up by the Republican Party itself.
When Fox carried its first report on the scandal late last week, more than a week and a half after the scandal broke, it was the very least they could do to, finally, cover the debacle in two very short reports. And I mean, the least it could do.
Fox wasn't the only RW media outlet caught with its proverbial pants down here. As Abby Rapoport reported on Friday at The American Prospect: "In spite of all the questions this news seems to raise, Nathan Sproul and Strategic Allied Consulting barely seem to exist in the conservative corners of the media. A search at RedState yielded 0 results. So did a search at Breitbart.com.·Even Matt Drudge, who never seems to let a juicy headline pass by, ignored one·when it came to Sproul and·his company—or to this actual evidence of a political party cavorting with genuinely sketchy voter-registration efforts."
"Compare that to the number of stories mentioning ACORN over the last four years," Rapoport notes, "RedState has 68, The Daily Caller 128, and Drudge 166. A search for 'ACORN' on Breitbart.com, meanwhile, reveals a staggering 1,450 entries."
A quick check of the Breitbart site today --- which made its name in 2009 by first publishing highly doctored video tapes created by Republican hoaxster James O'Keefe which, though containing no evidence of crimes by ACORN or any of its workers, eventually helped lead to its demise --- shows they have finally published one single item, a stub UPI wire story on the scandal. There are no comments on the story at all, suggesting that it was never even featured on any of the site's various front pages. (Articles at Breitbart routinely receive hundreds of comments each.)
They Report...At the Absolutely Bare Minimum
And so it was when Fox' Shawn called me last Thursday to ask that I get to a studio in L.A. and do a pre-tape interview on the scandal for use on that night's Special Report. Despite my misgivings about doing a pre-taped interview, which can easily be taken out of context (versus a live interview, in which I have much more control over content --- see my live Fox 'News' Alert in 2008, for example, amidst their phony ACORN sturm und drang, when I was able to announce, on air, the arrest of the head of the firm hired by the California Republican Party that year to do voter registrations in CA), after assurances by Shawn that he'd accurate reflect my comments from the interview, I agreed to do it.
I'm happy to report that Shawn was largely good to his word.
In the first package from Shawn, I am quoted for about 5 seconds. The quote, in fact, is taken out of context. My comment about the need for a federal law to help curb what Strategic Allied and the Republican Party are doing was actually in reference to our recent investigative report including video-taped and other evidence, revealing that the Republican Party's nationwide voter registration strategy involves lying to potential registrants about workers being pollsters, rather than voter registration workers, in order to keep Obama supporters from being able to register to vote at all.
Shawn used that quote out of context, though it largely worked as well in response to what he had been reporting at the time it was used. Here's that first, incredibly short package in which, in contrast to their ACORN coverage years earlier (btw, unlike Sproul's firms, ACORN was never actually employed by the DNC to do voter registration) you'd have to pay close attention to even notice it was a Republican scandal being reported on:
The next day, Shawn ran another, equally short report on one of the Fox afternoon shows. In it, I was quoted a bit more at length, as a counter to a pre-taped interview with Sproul himself. While my quotes this time were appropriate and in context, you'll note that Shawn throws in some evidence-free allegations of voter registration fraud by the Hispanic organization, National Council of La Raza/Democracia USA at the end, because, ya know, "both sides do it" and all.
Sproul's recently-hired spokesman, David Leibowitz, from the crisis management firm Leibowitz Solo, similarly tried to pitch me on the same, so-far evidence-free allegations. I'm not biting unless and until there is more hard evidence. Fox, apparently, had no such qualms.
Here's Fox' Friday package in which I am quoted in response to Sproul:
I'm quoted at more length still, and with more specificity, in Shawn's written report at FoxNews.com
Of course, I had much more to say, criticizing them for their lack of coverage of this real scandal, as opposed to the phony ACORN "scandal" and why they haven't bothered to cover the documented evidence of actual voter fraud by very high-profile GOPers such as Mitt Romney's and Ann Coulter's, but those remarks, so far, didn't make the cut, I guess.
Finally, just one more point for the moment. Sproul claims in the Fox interview above that just 10 workers were the problem, just a few bad apples --- an excuse that wasn't tolerated by Fox during the ACORN "scandal", even though, unlike in this case, it was ACORN themselves who identified the fraudulent registrations before turning them to election officials, along with the name of the worker who defrauded the group by submitting them.
Sproul claims to Shawn that the fraudulent registrations his company submitted were just a handful of the more than 100,000 forms collected by 5,000 workers for his firm.
Really? That means each of his workers turned in an average of just 20 registrations each, since the company began their RNC-sponsored registration efforts in five different states at the beginning of August. I suspect Sproul may be fudging his numbers to Fox "News" in the same way his workers were fudging the information they turned on registration forms, and in the way those workers were trained to blatantly lie to potential registrants about taking a poll, rather than registering voters, in order to screen out Obama supporters to keep them from registering.
Sproul has refused to respond to our queries as to whether his company trained workers to lie to potential registrants as seen in video tapes and other testimony in at least four of the five different states were Strategic Allied was contracted by the RNC to do voter registration work this year.
My on the record email interview with Sproul over the past two weeks --- during which he had been in the process of effectively telling his side of the story on some of the questions he had agreed to answer --- was aborted last week after his crisis manager Liebowitz entered the picture. I may have more details from that exclusive interview, nonetheless, in the days ahead.
For now, I'll just note, that Sproul's judgment in crisis managers isn't the best. I suspect I'll have a few more words on that point as well in a future item, as the scandal continues to widen...even if you wouldn't know it from watching Fox "News".