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The Election Story Never Told
February 28, 2001 5:23 PM   Subscribe

The Election Story Never Told On it’s face, this article is about corruption in Florida before the election. It is still basically an known story in the US, but it is very popular in Britain. Also of note is the continued record of a lazy corporate media refusing to do any sort of journalistic legwork.
posted by capt.crackpipe (8 comments total)

 
correction:
It is still basically an unknown story in the US,
posted by capt.crackpipe at 5:24 PM on February 28, 2001


I dunno, I seem to remember hearing about this during all the recount stuff. It got lost in the noise, sure. But it's not completely unknown. Just not well-known. But I agree with the author of that article. American corporate "journalism" is a joke, and this story did not get the attention it deserved.
posted by Potsy at 7:48 PM on February 28, 2001


The part that got through the noise was "felons" and "vote". The Republicans have been running hard against allowing felons to vote for a few years now, while Democrats had been running a quiet but persistent campaign to repeal or relax the bans that did exist on the grounds that they tilted heavily toward disenfranchisement of black men. When this story broke, yes, it was largely buried amid other brouhaha. But what got through was "felons" and "vote". That is, most Americans probably believe that the people who couldn't vote were, indeed, felons, so the laws in Florida notwithstanding, it's no great loss if they were not permitted to vote.
posted by dhartung at 9:09 PM on February 28, 2001


Jeb Bush and Harris are involved in some extremely dubious voter-purging efforts. Florida is the only state that contracts with an outside firm to purge the rolls of ineligible voters, and the firm that got the contract was set up by a bunch of Republican fatcats.

The company is either woefully incompetent or corrupt -- last year more than 8,000 people were removed from the rolls erroneously for being felons, including a county elections supervisor and a mayor.

Bush also has a scam going where he refuses to recognize felons from other states who had their voting rights restored before moving to Florida. He has instructed county election officials to make these people request clemency, even though they don't need it and it's a violation of the law to ask.
posted by rcade at 10:55 PM on February 28, 2001


*sigh* I've got my work cut out for me when I become governor, then...
posted by methylsalicylate at 4:36 AM on March 1, 2001


Potsy said:
I dunno, I seem to remember hearing about this during all the recount stuff. It got lost in the noise, sure. But it's not completely unknown. Just not well-known.

I agree with you on this one. This does not sound like a story that I have not heard before. This sounds like something that I heard somewhere in the whole flood of news and media coverage that the election did receive.

As I have been staying here in England for the last three months, I have to disagree that the British press is any better. Last weekend, I read an article in one of the British newspapers which had the headline, Pardons May Put Final Nail In Clinton Marriage. The article quoted credible sources regarding the pardons, yet when it actually started to talk about the clinton marriage the newspaper quoted their analyst. Of course, this British analyst hired by the British paper was the source who provided the quotes claiming that the Clinton's marriage may finally breakthrough. I wish I could find an online link to this article, but I can't.

Even better, you should see how much fun some of the British papers have had with making headlines for the recent samurai killer, Samurai killer is sent to secure hospital...
posted by crog at 5:56 AM on March 1, 2001


As I have been staying here in England for the last three months, I have to disagree that the British press is any better. Last weekend, I read an article in one of the British newspapers which had the headline, Pardons May Put Final Nail In Clinton Marriage.

That was in one of the middle-market papers, wasn't it: the Mail or the Express? And they're not "news"papers at all. You'll get more reportage in the downmarket Sun and Mirror than those insidious rags.

Anyway, Palast is referring to the Graun and Obs, owned by the Scott Trust and with a long tradition of investigative, campaigning journalism. And to the BBC, whose correspondents in the US were visibly relieved at the opportunity to discuss "America's dirty little secret" at length, after years of not having enough evidence to go public.

Journalism in the US is hamstrung by two extremese: centralised corporate ownership, with its inbuilt conservatism, and extreme localisation, with its latent parochialism. Divide and conquer, if you like. There's also the bleak advantage in the UK that everything revolves around London, so that the national papers have the proximity to do their research.

This isn't to say that there isn't any campaigning journalism going on in the States, but that it's hardly ever "mass media": and when it is, it's often suppressed, as in the case of the Fox news anchors in Florida, sacked for refusing to report propaganda from Monsanto.
posted by holgate at 8:13 AM on March 1, 2001


It certainly got reported, but it fell off the radar in favor of the trivial — and therefore imminitely reportable — “chads” story. 64,000 people, most of whom were Democrats, were barred from voting. That is an important story. They let institutional and illegal disenfranchisement slip by. News reporting is a public service. Which public is the media reporting to?
posted by capt.crackpipe at 9:06 AM on March 1, 2001


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