Florida recount abandoned
October 12, 2001 10:09 AM   Subscribe

Florida recount abandoned by major news organizations in the wake of terrorist attacks. I know it's all academic now, but wouldn't this fall under "letting them win"? And did any other news org. report this?
posted by Ty Webb (38 comments total)

 
my favorite 9.11 conspiracy theory is that jeb bush's evil plan didn't just stop with cheating his bro into the white house, he had to make him a war hero too (for re-election purposes). not to mention the built-in excuse for new defense spending and grabbing more oil reserves.

yet for some reason, i'm 95% bought into the whole "bin laden did it" story
posted by danOstuporStar at 10:19 AM on October 12, 2001


The NORC, which was conducting the recount, bascially has all the data assembled. It is not clear whether the public will get access to this data (as we were supposed to) if the media as rejected it. Would this be covered under any sort of freedom of information legislation?
posted by iceberg273 at 10:26 AM on October 12, 2001


Yes, cause the terrorists plan was to stop the Florida recount.
posted by Doug at 10:26 AM on October 12, 2001


Abandoned indefinitely--meaning it will probably be released eventually, although that could mean 3 years from now.

Since the survey is already complete, is there any chance that another news org could pick this up, or possibly the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center could release the results themselves?

I do think that now is not the time, though--regardless of whether or not it undermines Bush's legitimacy, it won't receive the attention it deserves. Some people might even find it overwhelming at this time.
posted by espada at 10:32 AM on October 12, 2001


[...it won't receive the attention it deserves. ]

I think it's getting all the attention it deserves...
posted by revbrian at 10:35 AM on October 12, 2001


By "spiking" the story, they have raised questions about whether the country's biggest media conglomerates are suppressing news that potentially could tarnish the image of Mr. Bush in the midst of the President's war on terrorism.

Oh for crying out loud. We all know this final report was going to be as inconclusive as the preliminary reports, another "well, it all depends on what the definition of 'chad' is" wishwash that would say Bush wins under X set of counting rules and Gore wins under Y. The remaining diehard partisans would latch onto one of the Y scenarios and do their usual shriek job, all the conservatives would laugh again, and it would be published on the bottom of page 5A somewhere and be immediately forgotten by 95% of the population.

And even if this study showed that Al Gore had actually won Florida by five trillion votes, Al would immediately call a press conference and pretty much demand that his remaining followers fall in line behind Bush and drop it. I don't particularly care for Al, but I don't believe he would want to do anything to fracture public support for the government given the current situation.
posted by aaron at 10:38 AM on October 12, 2001



The recount, whichever way it goes, sorta misses the point, of course.

Regardless of who ultimately has the most Floridian votes, that doesn't change one whit the fact that the SCOTRP (ie: Supreme Court Of The Republican Party) awarded the election to Shrub through judicial fiat. That alone makes Bush illegitimate. We had a coup d'etat. We are in an interregnum.

On the bright side for Republican's, Governor Shrub should be able to run for two more terms, since he wasn't elected to this current one.

BTW: "Smith and Wesson" doesn't make a gun big enough to force me to vote for Gore under any circumstances, so don't imagine I'm sour-grapsing. Between the two, I'd actually prefer Bush, but that (also) doesn't change the fact that he's illegitimate. I could care less if Tweedle-Dee wins over Tweedle-Dum -- what does matter is judicial integrity, which has been rendered toast by partisan bastards like Scalia and his spit-sucking lapdog, Thomas.
posted by RavinDave at 10:43 AM on October 12, 2001


Would this be covered under any sort of freedom of information legislation?

Absolutely not. These are private companies. If they want to blow several million bucks to count a bunch of ballots and then shove the final report in a drawer, that's their business, not yours.
posted by aaron at 10:43 AM on October 12, 2001



-- rb: I think it's getting all the attention it deserves... --


I knew someone would post a response like this. You're already under the assumption that everyone interested in the results hopes they show Gore won FL. The results are important, no matter who comes out on top, because the survey's going to do a lot more than suggest who the winner really was. You think these guys paid $1mm just to say "Bush won" or "Gore won"? I'm sure they also examine voter error, machine error margins, % of uncounted votes by county, etc., just about everything they possibly can.
posted by espada at 10:44 AM on October 12, 2001


From the story: But "to say it is not a story any more is an utterly ingenuous thing to say," Prof. Kirtley said. "Of course it's still a story, whatever are the results of that audit."

Definition of ingenuous. At least she's not an English professor
posted by boaz at 10:47 AM on October 12, 2001


[You're already under the assumption that everyone interested in the results hopes they show Gore won FL. ]

No, I just think it's been done a half dozen times already and we all out to move on with our lives.
posted by revbrian at 10:53 AM on October 12, 2001


[You're already under the assumption that everyone interested in the results hopes they show Gore won FL. ]

No, I just think it's been done a half dozen times already and we all out to move on with our lives.
posted by revbrian at 10:54 AM on October 12, 2001


We all know this final report was going to be as inconclusive as the preliminary reports

I can't remember hearing you talk of the "inconclusiveness" of the studies when earlier preliminary reports gave the recount to Bush.

I like hypocrisy: does anyone else like hypocrisy?
posted by holgate at 11:04 AM on October 12, 2001


RavinDave: Referring to this period as an interregnum is not accurate. The moment GWB took the oath of office, he legally & constitutionally became the POTUS. There is no gap, no break in the continuity of the office of the President.

(disclaimer) While I didn't vote for Bush, I believe he is serving ably (more so each day), and I am proud to call him my President.
posted by davidmsc at 11:10 AM on October 12, 2001


davidmsc: If tomorrow a partisan from the SCOTRP administered the oath of office to you ... would that make you president? Bush lacks constitutional legitimacy -- pure and simple. Manufacturing it out of whole cloth does not create it.

And you misspelled "PONTIUS".
posted by RavinDave at 11:23 AM on October 12, 2001


It's not "letting them win", it's "ceasing to beat a dead horse."
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:33 AM on October 12, 2001


By posting the story i did not intend to challenge Bush's legitimacy as POTUS, which is not seriously in question at this point, regardless of the shady dealings that got him there. In fact, I think the man still embarrasses himself and us every time he opens his mouth, no matter how many expensive speechwriters he trucks in. The Supreme Court's decision to crown Bush was inarguably the broadest piece of judicial activism in history, but it stands.

What's troubling is that major news organizations seem to have exercised self-censorship out of fear of consequences. These companies, like all corporations, are thinking about the bottom line. If they thought running the recount findings would improve circulation, I'm sure they would do it.
posted by Ty Webb at 11:42 AM on October 12, 2001


no, they'd get a jump in ratings for the moment. they're afraid of being branded unamerican.

here's an unofficial account of the recount.
The Consortium was stunned to discover that the recount revealed Gore won a clear victory. Even after casting aside the controversial butterfly ballots and discarding ballots that were “iffy”, Gore decisively won the recount. While the precise numbers are still unavailable, a New York Times journalist who was involved in the project told one of his former companions that Gore won by a sufficient margin to create “major trouble for the Bush presidency if this ever gets out”.
Gore’s victory was large enough that it became apparent he would win prior to the Consortium recount being fully completed. And contrary to a recent claim by the New York Times, the terrorism of September 11 was not the crucial factor that determined whether to release the results to the American people. Prior to that time, the de facto majority shareholders in the publicly traded New York Times Company reportedly intervened on the side of quashing the recount results and convinced the other participants to shelve the story. The executive claims that the most important decisions at the Times are made by the influential money center banks that exercise actual voting control of a majority of stock. These banks are extremely pro-Bush. In addition to their control of the Times, they have substantial financial clout with the Washington Post Company, Dow Jones and Company, and the Tribune Company. As a result, the banks exert tremendous influence on a majority of the Consortium.
posted by rebeccablood at 12:40 PM on October 12, 2001


I can't remember hearing you talk of the "inconclusiveness" of the studies when earlier preliminary reports gave the recount to Bush.

:::sigh::: This is such a blatant intentional distortion of my multiple statements on the matter in the past that I'm not even going to try to respond.

I like hypocrisy: does anyone else like hypocrisy?

It's more than obvious that you do, judging from that post.
posted by aaron at 12:45 PM on October 12, 2001



Regardless of who ultimately has the most Floridian votes, that doesn't change one whit the fact that the SCOTRP (ie: Supreme Court Of The Republican Party) awarded the election to Shrub through judicial fiat. That alone makes Bush illegitimate. We had a coup d'etat. We are in an interregnum.

Wake me up in 20 years when the Gore supporters are still crying about how their candidate was "robbed". By then I might be in the mood again to listen to that nonsense.

A 7-2 ruling is not partisan. End of story. Say goodnight.
posted by ljromanoff at 12:46 PM on October 12, 2001


rb: Wow...that's paranoid-conspiracy theory stuff that would do JFK-Hoffa types proud.

ljromanoff: Goodnight indeed. Next!
posted by davidmsc at 12:54 PM on October 12, 2001


I don't have a clue who these "makethemaccountable" guys are, but blaming the quashing of the report on "international bankers" is to have moved far beyond mere ideological blinders and into pure tinfoil hat territory.
posted by aaron at 12:55 PM on October 12, 2001


RIGHT ON, brother aaron!

The only thing to be learned from the whole sordid mess was that the process of tabulating votes, certainly in FL but also nationally, lacks sufficient resolution to determine a winner in a close contest. It just ain't accurate enough.
posted by groundhog at 1:16 PM on October 12, 2001


I quote the great sage John Stewart :
"Threats to our democracy and freedom from outside the country... horrifying... threats to our democracy and freedom from inside our country... hi-larious."
posted by dong_resin at 1:20 PM on October 12, 2001


whatever pet theory you have about what happened, I don't see how something as fragile and prone to tampering as those ballots can provide proof of anything.

They've been handled and re-handled, pushed and poked by so many folks that they can't possibly prove anything at this point.
posted by nobody_knose at 1:41 PM on October 12, 2001


It's not "letting them win", it's "ceasing to beat a dead horse."

There's an element of truth in this, for me at least. The importance of finding out who really won Florida pales in significance to the importance of dealing with Sept. 11, and to do the latter we need to move past the recount mess.
posted by rcade at 1:44 PM on October 12, 2001


international bankers? the paragraph I pulled out doesn't indicate an international status at all. you wouldn't be misrepresenting the article you claim to refute, would you?

more importantly, you don't believe that what news is reported ever affected by the organization's controlling interests? of course it is.

for whatever reason the decision to shelve the story was made, these points remain: 1) an important news story has been shelved and 2) the bush machine intimidated election workers, and 3) gore won. :)
posted by rebeccablood at 1:44 PM on October 12, 2001


It's paid for, it's done. I'd like to see it. (I didn't vote for Gore. I've never voted Democrat in my life)
posted by nikzhowz at 1:50 PM on October 12, 2001


Get over it. The election would have been inconclusive whichever the outcome. MOVE ON.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:51 PM on October 12, 2001


rcade: The importance of finding out who really won Florida pales in significance to the importance of dealing with Sept. 11, and to do the latter we need to move past the recount mess

absolutely, this pales in the present, particularly since no new evidence of wrongdoing or miscounting will change who is president.

but the people have the right to know about it. they have the right to know for certain that their constitutionally mandated process was subverted. and they have the right to decide for themselves whether this information requires a response at present, or later, or ever.

it is not for the news agencies and the government to tell us only the things they deem important for us to worry our little heads about. that's not the way the United States is supposed to work.

the whole idea of the fourth estate is that we, the people, be kept apprised of the news of the world, with particular focus on the things our government does, so that we can hold our elected officials accountable.

if we decide that there's nothing to be done about this, or that it's not important right now, that's fine. but the NY Times and the US governement doesn't get to decide that for us.
posted by rebeccablood at 1:52 PM on October 12, 2001


paris: according to the article I linked, there's nothing inconclusive about the results. I'm over it; but I know who really won. ;)
posted by rebeccablood at 1:53 PM on October 12, 2001


for whatever reason the decision to shelve the story was made, these points remain: 1) an important news story has been shelved and 2) the bush machine intimidated election workers, and 3) gore won. :)


The first point I'll concede, but the last two are highly debateable. Please give us a source other than an obviously biased website for #3. It is like FreeRepublic claiming a conclusive Bush victory.
posted by gyc at 2:11 PM on October 12, 2001


If the report's findings confirmed Bush's victory, why wouldn't it be released, if only to reassure the naysayers?
posted by liam at 2:14 PM on October 12, 2001


According to a source whose previous information has proven to be accurate

Well then, that's all I need.....
posted by nwduffer at 4:28 PM on October 12, 2001


Please give us a source other than an obviously biased website for #3.

The Web site Unknown News has done a thorough accounting of media recounts and had Gore ahead by 500 as of the last published recount in May.
posted by rcade at 4:33 PM on October 12, 2001


If the report's findings confirmed Bush's victory, why wouldn't it be released, if only to reassure the naysayers?

Exactly. We can now assume that Gore won.

It will be interesting to see if this story itself continues to get coverage. Obviously it won't be covered by CNN, NYT, AP, the Post or WSJ.
posted by D at 5:05 PM on October 12, 2001


You people still don't get it. The votes are not valid to begin with because the voters did not follow the simple instructions given. Instead of being ashamed of this they placed the responsibility with everyone but themselves:

the confusing ballot
the ballot designer
the U.S. supreme court
katherine Harris
jeb bush etc. etc

There's no doubt in my mind that more people favored Gore. There are more democrats than republicans in the United States. However, the responsibility lies with the individual to follow the instructions given on the ballot. People have to at least accept responsibility for filling out a ballot properly. The supreme court did the right thing. Voters did not want to accept responsibilty for not filling out there ballots properly. A person absolutely MUST be expected to be intelligent enough to fill out a ballot.
These people blew it. So all these "votes" that are being counted by these news organizations make for a moot point. Yes, there's no doubt Gore would have won, if only his constituents had been intelligent enough to cast there votes according to the simple instructions printed on the ballot.
posted by rabbit at 6:46 PM on October 12, 2001


rabbit: A person absolutely MUST be expected to be intelligent enough to fill out a ballot

Once again, that's not a democracy...
Oh for chrissakes, you shouldn't expect to live in a democracy if you aren't even intelligent enough to understand its basic precepts. While you may not like it, what you've described is neither applicable election law nor democracy- democratic choice includes counting all votes to the best of our ability, not surrendering our democratic decision making to the Gods of Vote Counting Machinery. Not all the votes were butterfly ballot mistakes, in fact most of the votes being examined by NORC were the infamous dimpled/n-corner chads, or those seeming overvotes such as a candidate's chad being punched out and their name written in (incorrect per the ballot instructions but an unmistakable selection when it comes to "clear intent of the voter"), or even votes that may have been perfectly executed but were nevertheless not counted by the machines due to those machines' own flaws.

The Real Issue is the Media's quashing of this story...
More to the point, that's not the topic of this thread; the topic of this thread was originally "NORC has finished its count, yet the major media that sponsored the count is censoring the results". The question is, why didn't they release the results? The media sponsored analysis was never meant to overthrow the existing administration, but to answer a big historical question, a question that still exists to this day. Are you tacitly agreeing that it is the role of the media to work in concert with government towards creating certain impressions and national moods among the American public? The notion that they aren't just supressing this count for now, but may permanently quash it- that's some scary shit, yo. Isn't that hearkening to a fascist or dictatorial control of expression, when the media acts little more than a willing lapdog of government decree- which in this case it certainly seems to be in a de facto sense. There is no likely reason not to release these results unless they contain information that could displease someone not named "Al Gore"- and the media ideally should never be in the business of upholding the status quo, of avoiding the displeasing of the government, or of acting as a public relations firm for a government they are given broad constitutional license in order to criticize.
posted by hincandenza at 1:00 AM on October 13, 2001



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