Ignoring its own reporting, NY Times omitted key facts on ACORN voter registration allegations

››› ››› MORGAN WEILAND

The New York Times quoted Sen. John McCain's assertion during the third presidential debate that ACORN was "on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country," but ignored key facts, including that the statutes of most of the states in which ACORN allegedly submitted false or duplicate voter registration applications this year require third parties registering prospective voters to submit all forms they receive, or that actual instances of illegal votes being cast as a result of registration fraud are extremely rare.

In an October 16 New York Times article, reporter Michael Falcone quoted Sen. John McCain's assertion during the October 15 presidential debate that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) was "on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country," but ignored key facts that undermine that claim.

Falcone did not report that the statutes of most of the states in which ACORN allegedly submitted false or duplicate voter registration applications this year require third parties registering prospective voters to submit all forms they receive, despite having reported on October 14: "Acorn officials said that in many states they were required by law to turn in all registration forms even if they were deemed problematic."

Nor did Falcone point out that actual instances of illegal votes being cast as a result of registration fraud are extremely rare. As Media Matters for America noted, on April 12, 2007, the Times itself reported, "Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews." On the same day that Falcone's story was published, the Times noted in an editorial: "But for all of the McCain campaign's manufactured fury about vote theft (and similar claims from the Republican Party over the years) there is virtually no evidence -- anywhere in the country, going back many elections -- of people showing up at the polls and voting when they are not entitled to."

Additionally, Falcone wrote that Sen. Barack Obama "represented Acorn in a lawsuit in 1995," but did not note that the Department of Justice joined with ACORN as a plaintiff in the case, which the Times previously reported, and which Obama pointed out during the debate.

Posted In
Elections, Voting Rights & Issues
Network/Outlet
The New York Times
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine, Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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