Fox News is helping Mitt Romney spread the false perception that the Obama campaign is trying to limit military voting in Ohio through a lawsuit that is actually intended to expand voting. This is part of a pattern in which Fox has consistently promoted misinformation that benefits the Romney campaign.
Previously, Fox twisted President Obama's “you didn't build that” comments, a misrepresentation that Romney echoed on the campaign trail and in several ads. Fox also distorted Obama's remark that the wealthy paid higher taxes under President Clinton and that “it worked,” in terms of the country's economic success during the 1990s. The Romney campaign released an ad using the same distortion.
This time, Fox and Romney are spreading misinformation about a lawsuit that the Obama campaign filed last month seeking to allow all Ohio voters more time to cast their ballots, falsely suggesting that it actually seeks to restrict military voting.
Fox has aired multiple misleading segments on the lawsuit. Today, Fox & Friends Sunday hosted Pete Hegseth, a member of Concerned Vets for Freedom (and a former GOP Senate candidate), to obscure that the lawsuit simply seeks to overturn Ohio Republicans' attempts to limit early voting for civilians. Hegseth claimed that the defenders of the Ohio law limiting early voting see it as being “about allowing Ohio to give more opportunities to veterans.”
That statement turns the intent of the Obama campaign lawsuit -- and the history of early voting in Ohio -- on its head.
The lawsuit filed by the Obama campaign clearly states what it seeks: “Plaintiffs bring this lawsuit to restore in-person early voting for all Ohioans during the three days prior to Election Day.”
The lawsuit uses the word “restore” because Ohio had expanded early voting after the 2004 election. Last year, the Republican-controlled legislature passed laws that eliminated voting during the three days prior to the election, except for military families and voters overseas.
Bloomberg News explained this clearly in a July 17 article:
The state's early-voting laws were enacted after the presidential election in 2004, when long lines and broken equipment forced voters to wait as long as seven hours to cast their ballots, according to an Obama campaign press statement released today.
The Republican-controlled legislature enacted two laws last year with provisions to move the deadline to the Friday before the election for all voters, then repealed one measure in May to halt a statewide referendum sought by Democrats, the Obama campaign alleged.
Fox's reporting on this subject has ranged from outright false to highly misleading -- all part of a solidifying routine in which it fuels misinformation from the Romney campaign.