Fox News reports as fact a blogger's made-up attack on Mi Familia Vota
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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.
Blogger's false claim jumps from Malkin to Fox News
Publius Pundit claims Mi Familia Vota is "committing voter fraud in Yuma County." In an October 21 post titled "Raul Grijalva ally committing voter fraud in Yuma County," Arizona blogger Publius Pundit claimed:
The Yuma Sun is reporting that two organizations -- Mi Familia Vota and One Vote Arizona -- submitted more than 3000 voter registrations in Yuma County, and more than 20,000 voters statewide. Even more, they have signed up 43,000 people statewide for the permanent early voter list.
What they didn't tell you is that voter fraud on a massive scale could be taking place, ostensibly to help Raul Grijalva keep the congressional seat he holds by stealing the election.
But Publius Pundit misread the Yuma Sun article, which actually said that Mi Familia Vota had signed up 3,000 people in Yuma for "early voting ballots," not that it had submitted 3,000 voter registrations. Publius Pundit went on to claim "a source in the Yuma County Recorder's Office" said that the "3,000 voter registration forms" were all dropped off at the last minute, were mostly "for the Democratic Party" and that "65% of them are invalid."
Fox News accuses Mi Familia Vota of voter registration fraud in segment built around Malkin's blog post. In a segment on purported "voter fraud on a massive scale," host Megyn Kelly and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin claimed that Mi Familia Vota submitted 3,000 "shady" voter registration forms" at the "last minute" in Arizona, and that "almost all of them were registrations for the Democratic Party." From the October 25 edition of Fox News' America Live:
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, which keeps coming up in many of these cases. They were involved in the Colorado case as well, are closely tied to the Service Employees International Union, in fact, cohabitate in the same offices. There's a clear lack of transparency here because it seems clear to me that Mi Familia Vota is essentially an SEIU satellite social justice organization.
And those tens of thousands of 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.
Yuma County Recorder's Office: Claims of registration fraud are false. On October 25, Mi Familia Vota denounced the false claims made by Malkin and Hoft and stated they have registered 289 voters in Yuma County over the past two months, not 3,000. The Yuma Sun further reported on October 26:
The Yuma County Recorder's Office says it has processed a large number of requests to be put on the permanent early voter list but claims of fraudulent voter registration is not an issue in Yuma County, despite reports in the blogosphere.
After some reports of the perceived voter fraud hit the Internet over the weekend, one local group of residents held a protest Monday evening on the corner of 24th Street and 4th Avenue. One report of "voter registration" came from a blog called Publius Pundit; it was also circulated on other websites.
Publius Pundit is run by a right-wing political operative in Arizona
Mayer is actively involved in Arizona state politics. Mayer's Twitter page lists him as the "Southern Arizona Coordinator for the Proposition 106 campaign." According to the Proposition 106 campaignwebsite, Proposition 106, which is on the ballot in Arizona this year, is intended to "prevent Washington's mandate that Arizonan's buy health insurance -- or pay a HUGE penalty, fine or tax." Proposition 106 is a conservative initiative supported by many Arizona Republican candidates; including Governor Jan Brewer, Arizona state Rep. Nancy Barto, and Congressional candidate Ruth McClung. Publius Pundit frequently promotes Proposition 106.
Publius Pundit accused Grijalva of fak[ing] a 'terrorist attack' to cover up Yuma "voter fraud" story. On October 21, an envelope containing white powder and swastikas was reportedly mailed to Rep. Raul Grijalva's office in Tucson. In an October 22 post Publius Pundit accused Grijalva of arranging the incident "to cover up the story of voter fraud that had just broken," referring to the Publius Pundit post on Mi Familia Vota from the previous day.
Publius Pundit accused Grijalva of abusing alcohol and cocaine. In an October 23 post on the suspicious package, Publius Pundit noted that the white powder turned out to be non-toxic, and then added: "One could venture that it isn't as toxic as all the liquor that Grijalva drinks or the cocaine that was rumored to be piled in his office during his days at the Pima County Board of Supervisors."
Publius Pundit pushed discredited claim that Grijalva "aided group that helped terrorists kill Americans." In an October 17 post, Publius Pundit claimed that Grijalva facilitated a Code Pink effort to "help terrorists kill Americans" by "providing aid to the insurgents." As Media Matters has noted, the claim that the humanitarian aid package was delivered to insurgents rather than refugees is completely baseless.
Former Fox News executive: "Seeing an item on a website does not mean it is right."
Ex-FNC VP for news Moody: "Seeing an item on a website does not mean it is right." Fox News has a documented pattern of delivering news reports based on Internet rumors that turn out to be false. In January 2007, after Doocy retracted his false assertion that President Obama "was educated in a madrassa," then-Fox News' vice president for news, John Moody, reportedly said in a memo to Fox News staff: "For the record: seeing an item on a website does not mean it is right. Nor does it mean it is ready for air on FNC. The urgent queue is our way of communicating information that is air-worthy. Please adhere to this."
Right-wing media regularly promote entirely fabricated stories
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