|November 24, 2004|
New York Times: "All the News thats Fit to Print" or "All the News thats Already Proven"?
Exactly why a battle of statistical experts was anything other than "he said she said" news instead of a "refutation" we may wonder. But, as it turns out, in unusual cases real mistakes can be found such that a "refutation" can be claimed. Except that in this NYT article linked to above, the New York Times got it exactly backwards, chose the wrong side in the debate, and it is the MIT-Cal Tech study relied on by the political scientists that is flawed, and now refuted by Dr. Steven Freeman as "an awful mistake". See pages 3-4 (PDF).
The MIT-Cal Tech study is itself fatally flawed because it uses the "CORRECTED" exit polls numbers (ones that were adjusted to more closely match reported election results) instead of using the raw exit poll numbers (uncorrected) that were actually obtained by the exit pollsters. This means that the MIT-Cal Tech study uses the numbers changed/adjusted to the election "results" in order to prove that there is nothing wrong with the reported results! Thus, the MIT Cal Tech study is perfectly circular and fallacious reasoning, yet is something being used to "refute" the election "conspiracy theories" out there. As an aside, not a single election theory of which I am aware actually posits an agreement by two or more people to accomplish an illegal result (a criminal "conspiracy"). Instead, the reality is that long prior to the election everybody in the world knew where Bush and Kerry needed votes (Ohio and Florida and other battleground states) and no order or command from anyone in the Bush campaign was necessary for any one or more independent actors to know what to do to help their favored candidate.
Although Mr. Tom Zeller, the lead reporter on the 11/12 New York
Times article dissing the election investigation, is not listed in
directory of the New York Times, people can send an email to email@example.com and they will receive the email addresses of all New
York Times staff
by automated response. If you write to other New York Times staff members,
perhaps someone on the staff there will know how to forward a message
to Mr. Zeller and/or the two other assistants on the November 12 story.
In any event, it wont hurt to make other staff members aware of
grievous errors reported in the New York Times as "refutations" of
Okrent notes that election theft is "a story [that] (if true) that no one can ignore." and claims that the NYT wouldnt hesitate to cover it if were true. Okrent further admits that hes seen evidence that "there was a certain amount of error in certain counties" but justifies the lack of coverage and the ridiculing attitude of the New York Times with the objection that "theft of the election" has not been proved, even though error in some counties is admittedly present, and there is no proof that undetected error has been ruled out .
The puzzling thing about this response by the NYT public editor is pondering why the New York Times thinks it now has to discern some kind of final truth or "proof" instead of reporting the allegations and facts that are out there, and letting readers decide? Do they refuse to print stories on "mere allegations" of crimes until the trial is over and the defendant convicted? Naturally, the mere fact that a criminal allegation has been made is itself news, regardless of the ultimate truth of the matter determined in a court of law. There are numerous lawsuits already filed on the election that can be additional reasons for coverage. In addition, the GAO announced Tuesday November 23, that it will start an investigation as requested by Congress.
While there is indeed little
excuse for not reporting on the allegation of a stolen election, the "stolen
election" angle is set up
as a straw man argument to refuse to cover most or all of the individual
facts of this developing story. Consequently, it may be best to frame
requests for news coverage more narrowly as requests for coverage of
individual facts. Even if a stolen election could not be proven, our
systems of voting should be beyond any reasonable objection in order
to maintain confidence in the system, so from the standpoint of election
integrity, this is a major news story even if the result of the election
were impossible to change. In fact, as with judges, the mere appearance
of unfairness, even if not ultimately borne out, is a problem that
has to be addressed.
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