After years of insisting elections are secure and above criticism, media experts now contradict themselves to excuse away the problems.
As a preamble, I want to introduce you all to Shannon O’Conner, a writer at The Daily Beast. O’Connor is a “legitimate journalist”, and we know this because she makes her credentials in this profession very clear. This weekend, she gave a lecturing thread explaining why citizen journalists are invalid and have a lower life form than legitimate news outlets. See, they all went to school, and stuff, so they are, like, totally amazing at what they do, and better than all those others not allowed at the Cool Table.
All legitimate news organizations have fact checkers and editors so that false and misleading information isn’t given to the public. Just because you don’t like what is being reporting, doesn’t mean it’s false.
“Citizen journalism” has no system of checks and balances.
— Shannon O'Connor (@ShannonOConnor0) November 11, 2022
There is much amusement in O’Conner’s entreaty to her own magnificence here, from posting her displeasure with Twitter writers while ON Twitter to shutting off her replies so she does not have to endure the comments from the unwashed scribes. But her claim of unimpeachable journalism excellence from her sect is completely unraveled by their behavior over the past week regarding the elections.
Bypassing for a moment how these superior news organizations pushed out the false Russian collusion story for years and buried the now-verified Hunter Biden Laptop story, there is the way they have acted over the past seven days to completely dissolve Shannon’s claim of journalism being free of “false and misleading information” – let us take a look at the misinformation these esteemed news outlets delivered to the public.
After years of telling us that our election system is above reproach and anyone questioning the integrity of our voting process is threatening the fabric of our democracy, in the days ahead of Tuesday’s vote the press was telling us to expect lengthy tabulation delays and curious behavior from undisclosed precincts in the country. So…it is wrong to suggest there is a problem with counting the votes, but we should also expect to see problems with counting the votes in some areas. Sure.
As Arizona became a focal point of tabulation challenges the press rose up in defense of what are demonstrably problematic methods in play. While states with a far greater population managed to wrap up their tallies within a day, Arizona languished with an archaic practice. But there were also reports from the Maricopa County precincts that voting was hindered by mechanical errors preventing votes from taking place, yet the press defied anyone to complain. The same press that promised states like Georgia would be making voting a challenge seemed unbothered that voters were unable to cast ballots in this area.
The New York Times stepped up to declare that Twitter had failed to do its diligence in silencing the voices of those users suggesting that there was a problem with voting in Arizona. The paper was literally stating that these were people engaged in free expression who should have had their voices muted regarding this topic.
More than 40,000 tweets about malfunctioning voting machines in the state’s Maricopa County were posted in the span of two hours in the morning, according to the Election Integrity Partnership, a coalition of online information researchers. Nearly 19,000 tweets specifically mentioned Maricopa alongside terms like “fraud,” “cheat” or “cheating,” according to the research group Zignal, which were references to the debunked belief that the glitches were the first signs of widespread voter fraud.
Let’s harken back to O’Conner’s words above, as she complained about those spreading false and misleading information because it sounds as if the Times is saying the same thing. Except – they are in fact the outlet trafficking in misinformation. Here is the alleged “Paper of Record” saying that certain accounts should have been prevented from expressing themselves when those voices cited were dealing with factual information. Maricopa County officials confirmed that precincts experienced problems with having ballots accepted. This was not a case of a handful of machines either – dozens of precincts went through this problem.
This solution has worked at 17 locations, and technicians deployed throughout the county are working to resolve this issue at the remaining locations. 2/2
— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) November 8, 2022
This is the Times saying that people sharing accurate information should have been prevented from doing so. The Times wanted to push what is a provably false narrative that there was no issue with voting machines in Maricopa County. And it was hardly the lone example. After telling us news organizations are a vaunted source because they employ fact-checkers, we have a case of one of the most highly regarded fact-check sources delivering this same misinformation – and promptly becoming debunked by itself.
Politifact got in on the case of defending Maricopa County against “fraudulent accusations.” Using Tucker Carlson as their foil, the site used his comments about the mechanical foul-ups to state claims of voting issues in that county to be “False.”
That evening, Fox News host Tucker Carlson warned that in a close election, the public needs to have confidence in the entire voting process. And in Maricopa, that broke down, he claimed. “Electronic voting machines didn’t allow people to vote, apparently,” Carlson said Nov. 8.
Carlson said “electronic voting machines didn’t allow people to vote” in Maricopa County. Voters who encountered glitchy tabulators could immediately place their ballots in a slot in the same machine to be counted later. Carlson’s statement lacks evidence.
It was false to say the voting machines were not allowing people to vote, despite both the county and Politifact asserting that the machines were not working. Now the same county experiencing those issues is taking one week to count its votes, in a razor’s edge close governor’s race, with one of the candidates being the secretary of state and overseeing these very same elections. Anyone suggesting this leads to questionable activities is said by the press to be conspirational; even as the same press told us last week to expect these types of delays. The people who predicted this would happen condemn those today noting it is happening, and they deny what has happened all while confirming it took place.
This is the state of our journalism complex. They are displaying monumental levels of ineptitude all while claiming only they can be the arbiters of the truth. Telling us they are educated minds and only they are permitted to deliver the facts might be the biggest example of misinformation being delivered these days.