October 18, 2001
12:59 PM   Subscribe

The "Florida Recount Abandoned" story is a hoax. (Scroll down to the bottom three grafs.) See also Kausfiles 10/15 for corroboration.
posted by aaron (22 comments total)
I don't think I've seen anything solid on either side of this story yet. Statements like
"In fact, participants say, the results have not been tabulated or analyzed. No journalist has a clue whether they favor Bush or Al Gore."
strike me as no more reliable than what you label a "hoax". Kausfiles' corroboration also fails to give anything solid.

Let's wait and see. When people step up and give actual numbers or leak actual interoffice memos, we'll have something to actually debate.
posted by cps at 1:19 PM on October 18, 2001

aaron, you're funny. :)

I just got an email from someone who read those stories and took the step of calling the Wall Street Journal for more information. he was told they have postponed it indefinitely. 'they have way too much invested to drop the story entirely but they are waiting until after the war ends.'

of course, if the WP were suppressing the story they would claim that they are not.

I'm with cps; only with the actual numbers will we be able to know for sure.

I'll be back with this thread in a year, if the results haven't been released by then....
posted by rebeccablood at 1:58 PM on October 18, 2001

aaron, if you had actually read the (washpost) piece you linked to, you would notice that it says, "The eight news organizations... have delayed the project..." which is exactly what was being said elsewhere on the web and mefi. No conspiracy to bury facts, just information "for corroboration" of the fact that this topic is unpopular in this era of newfound patriotism.
posted by Vek at 2:06 PM on October 18, 2001

the ballots are made of paper.

they have been counted several times now.

they have been poked, prodded, handled and possibly tampered with by dozens of people at this point.

off or on, why isn't anyone asking the real question:

how can they reveal anything objective at this point?
posted by nobody_knose at 2:10 PM on October 18, 2001

nobody_knose: the only ballots that would be affected by handling are the ones with hanging chads. one article suggested that the consortium wasn't including controversial ballots at all, so your objection is baseless.
posted by rebeccablood at 2:14 PM on October 18, 2001

If the chads fell off while being handled, then they'd look legit. Or a previously legit ballot could have an additional chad poked out accidentally ... you get the idea.

nobody_knose's argument isn't baseless. You may think the likelehood of these things happening slight, but even the slightest error/mishandling could change the results of their study.
posted by schlyer at 2:29 PM on October 18, 2001

why would only hanging chads be affected by handling? are you familiar with the physical properties of paper?

how are "controversial ballots" or "hanging chads" being defined? and by whom?

your trust that the process is objective and that the ballots are tamper-free at this point is the thing that is truly baseless.
posted by nobody_knose at 2:31 PM on October 18, 2001

Oh, how I long for the days when a "hanging chad" was the most important thing we had to worry about...
posted by davidmsc at 2:47 PM on October 18, 2001

nobody_knose, you are making the assumption that this recount involves subjective judgements.

In fact, the entire purpose of the newspaper recount was to come up with comprehensive numbers of ballots based on their state, with interpretation of the numbers left up to the reader. X number of double votes; Y number of hanging chads.

Also remember that not all the ballots are of the Votamatic variety. This recount was looking at the entire state, including paper (checkmark) ballots, machine ballots, etc., whatever was used.

The variety of journalistic interests involved should allay any fears that this is somehow a partisan effort.

In any event, since the ballots are a public record, and the newspapers are doing this under freedom of information law, there's not really much you can do about it. I could go in and count all the ballots tomorrow if I liked (and if I could afford the service fees); so could you. We both could come out with our own reports. You would be free to discount mine, and vice versa. Isn't free speech wonderful? In fact, without recounting at all, I get to point out that Bush still received a minority of the votes by one half million.

Those who wish to prevent review of a controversial election ought to examine their own motives. What are you afraid of them finding?
posted by dhartung at 4:11 PM on October 18, 2001

Aaron, you trolling bastard. Hoax, schmoax- based on some of your more recent postings, I think you've gone around the bend into "clinically insane paranoia" land, where you're on a Mission from God to attack those hippie commies lefties everywhere you can see them. As rb and vek pointed out, the original story, MeFi and elsewhere, was that the news organizations were sitting on the story and not really reporting that they wouldn't be reporting it- "postponed indefinitely" when pointedly asked by interested media observers. Um- so how, exactly, has this been disproved or shown to be a "hoax"? It hasn't, of course: the NORC news agencies are deciding to not finish and air the story for at least an unspecified long while, a point they will readily concede. Are you really not able to see that, or do you in fact understand this distinction- but figure it'll be worth a few freeper-esque points to still try and twist it around so it sounds different, phrase it in a way that makes it sound like those ka-razy lefties are at it again with their baseless conspiracy theories, har har?

nobody_knose: my understanding is that the media consortium never touches the ballots- sunshine laws and all, the ballots are only handled by official state workers, and the media can look on. I should think that with only one group handling it, there won't be much physical change to the ballots. And as dhartung notes, the point isn't so much to declare a belated "winner" as it is to catalogue for historical and journalistic record how those votes played out- how many were an example of marking a candidate's name and then also writing it in, how many were of the "all dimpled" variety, how many were clearly unmarked in any form for specific political races, etc.
posted by hincandenza at 4:24 PM on October 18, 2001

Aaron, you trolling bastard. [etc.]

You are really out of line here. Please ease up.
posted by rodii at 4:30 PM on October 18, 2001


name-calling is not acceptable. attack the ideas being discussed, not the people discussing them.
posted by rebeccablood at 5:27 PM on October 18, 2001

Am I missing something? Hincandenza does in fact discuss the ideas. To do this in complete and utter isolation from discussing the person putting forward the ideas is a fine and lofty goal, but if that were what we were striving for, we could have strictly enforced anonymous posting -- no pseudonyms or names allowed.

I'll grant that "bastard" is not nice, but an accusation of "trolling" is IMO valid if it's supported by arguments, not just put out there in a vacuum. Strikes me that hincandenza did in fact present arguments that Aaron may be trolling. Then again, I don't know the exact rules here --such discussion would probably belong on MetaTalk, right?
posted by cps at 6:18 PM on October 18, 2001

the word bastard is just not acceptable; accusing anyone of clinical paranoia is clearly a personal attack.

calling someone a troll is really loaded (especially, as in this case, when someone is just riding his favorite hobby horse).

put the three things together and the tone here goes from friendly-adversarial to nasty.

and, yes, metatalk is for discussing things like this; and it's also good form to try and keep things on track within the thread if it threatens to veer off course....
posted by rebeccablood at 6:36 PM on October 18, 2001

Understood and agreed.

Just to keep this somewhat on track, then: regardless of your views of whether the numbers are relevant, does anybody here think that the news media do, in fact, have (initial) results, and are sitting on them (in part) because they are surprisingly out of line with expectations?

I don't have any evidence, nor am I declaring any certainty, but since all of this is speculation for now anyway, I'll wager that the above is the case.
posted by cps at 6:44 PM on October 18, 2001

as someone in the other thread pointed out, why would they sit on it if it supported the man currently in office?
posted by rebeccablood at 6:51 PM on October 18, 2001

oh, and -- how happy is al gore right now that he's not sitting in that chair? who would want this to happen on his watch?
posted by rebeccablood at 6:53 PM on October 18, 2001

rebeccablood : George W. Bush, for one. His butt has been saved from the dustbin of history by this little war, I'd say. Time will tell if the entry in the ledger is black or red.

Metaphor mixing for fun and profit.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:31 PM on October 18, 2001

Of course if it had been Gore, we'd be hearing about 3 weeks ago from the Republicans that Gore was "soft on terrorism" because we hadn't acted yet.

Time will tell if the entry in the ledger is black or red.

Very true. War sure didn't help "daddy" did it?
posted by owillis at 9:10 PM on October 18, 2001

Okay, "bastard" and "trolling" were probably out of line- although I'll be damned if I pull back on my use of the word "freeper-esque". But damn, that aaron frustrates the dickens out of me! Other rightward-ho! MeFites don't generally ruffle my feathers as much...

Ah, what can I say- the way my hapless 116-game winning Seattle Mariners have been swooning in these playoffs, it has me all fired up and wacky in the head... :(
posted by hincandenza at 11:18 PM on October 18, 2001

hinc my friend, keep in mind that pulling a Rush is sport to them, i.e. dragging a liberal into an argument whose terms they have framed in advance. One might call that trolling somewhat unfair and inflammatory ("hoax" my ass), but it's a known tactic. aaron's probably going hee hee those lib'rals sure is excitable.
posted by dhartung at 12:17 AM on October 19, 2001

The Wall Street Journal is "waiting until the war ends"? The war against an amorphous, hard-to-identify opponent. The war of which Bush has said that he's prepared to fight the next Hundred Years' War. That's not exactly a brief postponement.
posted by rosvicl at 7:51 AM on October 19, 2001

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