Elections

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  • Fox News reports as fact a blogger's made-up attack on Mi Familia Vota

    ››› ››› NED RESNIKOFF

    One of Fox News' purportedly objective news programs reported the false claim that Mi Familia Vota submitted 3,000 "shady" voter registrations at the "last minute" in Arizona to benefit the Democratic Party. The fake story originated from an Arizona blogger who has a history of making questionable statements, and was denounced as false by the Yuma County Recorder's Office.

  • Fox kicks off election week with evidence-free smear of Reid

    Blog ››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

    Eight days before the election, FoxNews.com is smearing Sen. Harry Reid with reports that a former low-level staffer allegedly lied to federal investigators about her marriage -- prior to going to work for Reid's office. The article provides no evidence that Reid or anyone in his office had any knowledge of the investigation or the alleged wrongdoing.

    Indeed, according to Reid's spokesman, Reid and his office did not know about the allegations until being informed by Fox News, at which time Reid's office conducted an investigation and severed its relationship with the staffer. The allegations never resulted in criminal charges against the staffer.

    To date, Fox has barely (according to a Nexis transcript search) mentioned reports that an aide to Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) pleaded guilty to charges that he attacked an ex-girlfriend with a knife, yet remained on Vitter's staff for more than two years after Vitter's office learned of the arrest.

    reid

    In a statement to FoxNews.com, Reid's spokesman Jim Manley said:

    Our office was not previously aware of these allegations and, following an internal investigation, the staffer at issue is no longer with our office. The conduct alleged, which took place several years before the staffer worked for Senator Reid, was clearly wrong. But the bottom line remains that this story was a desperation measure by partisan Republicans, who have stooped to slinging mud about junior staffers to score points in the waning days of her campaign.

    The report comes on the heels of an election season where Fox News has behaved more as a political operation than a news organization.

    Fox News has barely mentioned reports -- first made in June -- that Brent Furer, an aide to Sen. Vitter, had been arrested in 2008 for reportedly attacking an ex-girlfriend with a knife, and that Furer, at the time of these reports, was subject to an arrest warrant stemming from a drunken-driving charge. (FoxNews.com ran an Associated Press article on Furer's resignation in June.)

    From ABCNews.com:

    After drinking at a restaurant, the two returned to Furer's Capitol Hill apartment, the report says. Furer "would not let her leave." He "pulled on her coat, which caused it to rip," then "pulled out a knife and stabbed [her] in the hand," the police report says.

    Charging documents allege that Furer became angry when he found phone numbers for other men in her Blackberry. He smashed her phone when she tried to call 911, the records say, and he shoved her to the floor when she tried to leave, then held his hand over her mouth and threw her on a bed.

    Demopoulos told police Furer "uttered the words to her, 'Do you want to get serious.'" Then, the arrest warrant states, Furer "grabbed an unknown object and held it under her neck. The suspect asked the complainant, 'Do you want to die?' The complainant replies and she stated, 'No, I don't want to die.'"

    After a 90 minute standoff, Furer made her promise not to call police, and then allowed her to leave. She fled to a friend's house, and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. A slash on her chin took eight stitches to close, the police report says.

    Furer eventually pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges, including threatening harm and destruction of property. The assault and weapons charges were dismissed. He was sentenced to 180 days confinement, two years of supervised probation, 40 hours of community service, and treatment for drug and alcohol dependency. After getting a harsh warning from Superior Court Judge Lee Satterfield, his jail term was suspended.

    Moreover, Vitter's office reportedly returned Furer to the payroll within days of learning about his arrest, as ABC reported: "Senate payroll records indicate the 2008 altercation between Furer and his girlfriend registered within the senate office -- Vitter's office suspended Furer's pay on Jan. 17, five days after the incident. But his payments resumed on Jan. 22." ABC News reported that Furer resigned after their initial report in June 2010.

    The only mention on Fox News shows listed in the Nexis database is a passing reference to "domestic abuse charges against one of [Vitter's] staffers" on the October 6 Special Report.

  • Fox News pushes baseless fears of "voter fraud on a massive scale"

    Blog ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

    Fox News' Megyn Kelly said today that "there are reports of, quote 'voter fraud on a massive scale' with the intention of keeping Democrats in office." Kelly hosted Michelle Malkin to provide evidence of fraud in four states, but Malkin got her basic facts wrong in at least two of her examples.

    Let's take them one by one.

    Colorado

    KELLY: You start with Colorado, where you say there is, in your words, an apparent scheme to foist some 6,000 shady voter registrations on the state. Six thousand shady voter registrations. Why?

    MALKIN: Well, because they were submitted at the last minute and in fact, a judge rejected a petition by left-wing groups, big labor groups that were involved in submitting these voter registrations to somehow accept them despite a 20 day rule that the state of Colorado has passed. ... This is just one of many cases in which these left-wing groups have tried to submit these very suspicious voter registrations at the last minute and they're waging further war on this front despite this loss on Friday.

    So a judge rejected a petition to reinstate 6,000 voter registrations that Malkin calls "suspicious" because, she claims, "they were submitted at the last minute." They weren't. According to court documents retrieved through PACER, most of those registrations were submitted before the November 2008 elections. The registrations were canceled because of Colorado's "20-day rule," and voter registration groups have been trying to get them reinstated since 2008. Around 2,000 of the 6,000 were submitted and canceled in the nearly two years between November 4, 2008, and this month. The other 4,000 were submitted before November 4, 2008.

    Arizona

    KELLY: Well you talk about Arizona as well, where there was a massive attempt to get a bunch of these last-minute voter registrations through, despite some very curious facts about those voter registrations.

    MALKIN: Correct. Arizona bloggers have found out that tens of thousands of these voter registrations submitted by a group called Mi Familia Vota ... Those tens of thousands of those voter registrations just happen to be, well, a majority of Democrat voter registrations and all sorts of watchdogs are raising questions and blowing the whistle over those shady registrations.

    KELLY: Yeah, you said that there were 3,000 voter registration forms all dropped off at once by this one group on the deadline and that almost all of them were registrations for the Democratic Party, which is a statistical improbability at best.

    On her website, Malkin cites a blog called Publius Pundit for this claim -- which is unfortunate because Publius Pundit misreads a Yuma Sun article and mistakes 3,000 people signing up for Arizona's permanent early voting ballots list for "3,000 voter registrations." The blogger then claims "a source in the Yuma County Recorder's Office" said "these 3000 voter registration forms" were dropped off by one group, right on the deadline; that "almost all" of them "were for the Democratic Party, a statistical improbability at best"; and the Recorder's office found that "more than 65% of them are invalid."

    The Yuma County Recorder's Office tells Media Matters that those claims are "completely false." Mi Familia Vota says they have registered 289 voters in Yuma County over the past two months.

  • Report: Rove slush funds have aired 27,683 ads since August 1

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Two weeks ago, I flagged a report by our partner organization Political Correction documenting how the GOP slush funds promoted by Fox News political analyst Karl Rove had aired 17,360 ads between August 1 and October 11. Rove's little elves have been busy since then -- American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS have funded more than 10,000 additional ads between October 11 and October 24, according to a new Political Correction report.

    Notably, 15,210 ads since August 1 have been aired by Crossroads GPS, a 501(c)(4) organization that does not disclose its donors.

    As Politico's Ken Vogel reports this morning, Crossroads GPS was "spun off" of the original 527 organization because potential donors were "leery of having their names disclosed." Meanwhile, Rove and the right-wing media continue to use misleading spin and false equivalences to defend those anonymous donations.

  • $168,228: More evidence Dick Morris lied about working for Republicans "without compensation"

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    On Wednesday's O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Dick Morris said he is working hard for the Republican Party "without compensation."

    Morris' statement was a lie: During this election cycle, Morris has received payments from the Republican-aligned group Americans for New Leadership ($25,228), New York State Senate candidate Greg Ball ($5,000), the Alabama Republican Party ($15,000), Pennsylvania Republican Party ($10,000) and the Christy Mihos for Governor campaign (MA) ($80,000).

    Recent disclosure reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show that four federal candidates also paid Morris' firm Triangulation Strategies $33,000:

    • Steve Pearce for Congress (NM) paid Morris $15,000 for "speaker fee" on October 12. The New Mexico Republican Party stated in an October 14 note about Morris: "Dick Morris will be in Hobbs supporting Steve Pearce. Mr. Morris will be at the Republican headquarters around 5:))PM for abook [sic] signing of his latest book "Take Back America 2010". A fundraiser will at X and X's home Call Steve's office at XXX-XXXX for further details."
    • Brad Zaun for Congress (IA) paid Morris $8,000 for "speaker fee" on October 6. Morris headlined a September 22 fundraiser for Zaun in West Des Moines.
    • Nan Hayworth for Congress (NY) paid Morris $5,000 for "speaker fee" on October 5. Morris was the headliner at a September 26 fundraiser.
    • Dan Debicella for Congress (CT) paid Morris $5,000 for "event expense" on August 6. Morris participated in an August 6 fundraiser.

    In total, Morris has received at least $168,228 this cycle. (And this is just from what we know from disclosure reports that have to be federally filed).

  • Full disclosure? Fox's All Star Panel neglects to mention its parent company's donation to RGA

    Blog ››› ››› KAREN FAMIGHETTI

    Tonight, the Special Report All Star Panel discussed upcoming gubernatorial elections in Florida, Ohio, and Maryland. But nowhere in the segment was there a mention of News Corp.'s $1.25 million contribution to the Republican Governors Association this year.

    As Media Matters reported, on July 14, News Corp. subsidiary News America made a $250,000 donation to the RGA, bringing their total contribution for 2010 up to $1.25 million as of October 16. Murdoch came under fire for the company's contributions to conservative groups -- including the RGA -- at a recent board meeting.

    From the October 21 edition of Fox News Channel's Special Report with Bret Baier: