The only way this could have been worse was if they simply said, ‘’Hey, we lied about it…’’
It is common practice with the major news outlets to issue ‘’corrections’’ on major news stories which were blatantly incorrect. These not only are not spread around and shared with the same gusto of the false blaring headlines, but they are usually tucked away at the end of pieces where they are barely even recognized and frequently are delivered with the tone of a whisper.
Despite this well-rehearsed subterfuge, the press still manages to pat themselves on the back, declaring that they did eventually get the story correct and that credit should be paid for the acknowledgment of an error. Over at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, they not only issued a monumental correction but in relation to the size of their error what makes this an even more egregious example is it was tucked away under a piece on a celebrity reaction to the election law.
The lies about the voter reform law recently signed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp have been significant, and they have become larger as they are being promoted from the very top, by President Biden. As he frequently declares this law is a return to the Jim Crow era — melodramatically describing it as ”Jim Crow on steroids’’, or when he lapsed into President Silver-Alert mode and called it ”Jim Eagle’’ — Biden has been delivering falsehoods on the law. Beyond the baseless claims that the reforms are targeting POC voters, he has said that the law closes polls at 5 pm on election day, and that water has been banned from polling locations.
Now the paper of record in Georgia has come forward to straighten out the record on many of these inaccuracies — sort of. The AJC has issued a correction that lays out just how some of these falsehoods are supposed to be viewed.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said the new law would limit voting hours. On Election Day in Georgia, polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and if you are in line by 7 p.m., you are allowed to cast your ballot. Nothing in the new law changes those rules. However, the law made some changes to early voting. The bill adds a second mandatory Saturday of early voting for general elections but removes two weeks of early voting before runoffs.
This is a rather significant correction, and yet it still falls short of correcting the record. For starters, the entire reason there is any mention of a 5 pm deadline is that it applies to early voting days, and it is something that had already been the law in Georgia. There was one change to this provision in the new law; it allows counties to move that deadline to 7 pm. That is correct — the new law in truth extends early voting times. Also, the law adds another Saturday for early voting. Are you beginning to see the monumental size of the lies told by President Biden and the media?
Now to start looking at the real misdirection. This clarification from the AJC is placed underneath not a main entry on the election law, it is following an article about Georgia filmmaker Tyler Perry, and his incorrect outrage at the bill. So this correction of the record is not even attached to primary coverage on the law but a celebrity reaction feature. It is complete garbage, but the AJC will still be able to lay claim that they dutifully rectified the mistake in print and ethically corrected the record.
This does not successfully wallpaper over the initial problem. The AJC is guilty of malpractice for not reporting on this accurately from the start. They are situated in the state capital, after all, so it is not as if there are communication problems with their bureaus and reporters. The paper should be plugged in directly to the machinations of the legislature. For this error to even make it into print is a deeply flawed practice. To then hide this correction in such a wan fashion only underscores the desire to have the misinformation about the bill getting circulated as widely as possible.
This is all intentional. The players in the press are relying on loopholes and lax standards to get away with the misrepresentation of things, and the President is repeating the garbage claims which can then be parsed and spun. It all leads to crafting a narrative of GOP voter suppression, even as the claim has no basis whatsoever in proof.