Four years ago Fox News helped turn ACORN into a dirty word among conservatives by leading an often-hysterical right-wing crusade against the community activist group, charging it time and again with "voter fraud" on behalf of candidate Obama. In order to bolster its flimsy "voter fraud" attacks, the network repeatedly harped on reports that ACORN canvassers had submitted questionable voter registration forms.
Yet this week Fox has shown little interest in covering the unfolding story out of Florida, where the state's Republican Party has cut ties with a consulting firm accused of handing in more than 100 dubious voter registration forms.
From Tuesday night's Palm Beach Post:
The Republican Party of Florida is dumping a firm it paid more than $1.3 million to register new voters, after Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher flagged 106 "questionable" registration applications turned in by the contractor this month.
In an interview with blogger Brad Friedman, Bucher described the "similarities in the signatures and certain characteristics in the applications that were very disturbing" on registration applications collected by the firm. The "disturbing" defects on the forms included addresses of existing registered voters changed to commercial buildings or addresses and, "in some places, they were changing political parties."
Yesterday, Michael Isikoff reported that the registration troubles had spread:
NBC News has learned that four other Florida counties have also reported hundreds of possible fraudulent registration forms submitted by the firm, including apparent dead people being registered as new voters. Prosecutors in two counties are investigating possible voter fraud by the GOP consulting firm, officials said.
And Thursday afternoon, Republicans in Colorado also pulled the plug on the voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting, run by veteran GOP consultant Nathan Sproul.
The allegations lodged against Sproul's company are similar to the ones ACORN faced in 2008; workers submitted voter registration forms that contained dubious information. In `08, that was enough to light a short fuse on Fox News and within the right-wing media, as players rushed in to condemn the independent ACORN group as a corrupt and a criminal extension of the Obama campaign. (In 2009, a majority of Republicans believed ACORN had stolen the election for Obama.)
Note that in the unfolding Florida story, the firm in question was paid directly by the Republican Party and is accused of ACORN-like activities. But on Fox News, it's crickets.
In fact this morning, Brian Kilmeade hosted a Fox & Friends panel discussion about voter fraud. In 2008, the allegation that ACORN submitted questionable registration forms was routinely referred to and condemned as "voter fraud" on Fox. (To this day, Fox treats misaddressed voter registration forms as "fraud.") But this morning, Kilmeade and his guests made no mention of the fact that the Republican Party was just forced to fire a consulting firm for submitting potentially bogus voter registration forms; forms being reviewed by local law enforcement.
At Fox News, the hotbed for "voter fraud" stories, the embarrassing news from Florida is of little concern.