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  • NRO's "Latest Evidence Of Voter Fraud" Lacks Any Actual Evidence

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER HANSEN

    AP Photo/The News & Observer, Travis Long

    In a column on National Review Online's (NRO) The Corner, Fox News contributor and NRO columnist John Fund and Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky laid out what they considered "The Latest Evidence Of Voter Fraud." The evidence they offered, however, amounted to one county in Mississippi that was recently ordered to remove ineligible voters from its registration rolls, and a report released by the conservative Voter Integrity Project showing a statistically insignificant number of alleged voter fraud cases, neither of which showed any conclusive evidence or prosecution of voter fraud.

    In a September 9 column, Fund and von Spakovsky wrote, "Obama-administration officials and their liberal camp-followers who routinely claim there is no reason to worry about election integrity because vote fraud is nonexistent suffered some embarrassing setbacks last week."

    The first piece of evidence they offered was a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) -- a far right legal advocacy group whose senior fellow and policy expert once accused the NAACP's president of "treason" for denouncing voter ID laws, and who said it was racist to oppose those same laws -- against Walthall County, Mississippi in which the county was instructed to purge its voter rolls of felons, the deceased, and duplicate registrations. Fund and von Spakovsky made no claims of actual voter fraud in regards to that case, however, writing only that:

    This is the first time in the 20 years that the NVRA has been in force that a conservative group has sued to enforce Section 8, while liberal advocacy groups have filed many cases to try to stop election officials from cleaning up their registration lists, a practice which they foolishly label "voter suppression."

    An inflated voter registration roll by itself is not evidence of voter fraud, which the Brennan Center for Justice defined as "when individuals cast ballots despite knowing that they are ineligible to vote, in an attempt to defraud the election system." Instead, voter roll purges have repeatedly been used as a tool to disenfranchise minorities and students -- traditionally Democratic voting blocs.

    The second piece of evidence Fund and von Spakovsky presented was a report released by the Voter Integrity Project of North Carolina (VIP-NC), a group with a history of false claims regarding voter fraud. VIP-NC released a report they obtained from the North Carolina Board of Elections which shows 475 cases in which the state had a "reasonable suspicion" that voter fraud occurred. Those cases were turned over to the appropriate district attorneys and Fund, von Spakovsky, and VIP-NC acknowledged that prosecutors chose not to bring charges in those cases. However, Fund and von Spakovsky attributed the lack of convictions to political fear, writing, "As VIP also points out, the report raises the important question of why local district attorneys in North Carolina have been 'so negligent in prosecuting' these referrals."

    Fund and von Spakovsky used the VIP-NC report to advocate for strict voter ID laws and portrayed North Carolina as a hotbed of voter fraud (emphasis added):

    The report shows that there were 475 cases of election fraud that the Board "believed merited a referral" to prosecutors between 2008 and 2012. The fraud included double voting, impersonation and registration fraud, and illegal voting by noncitizens and felons. Not all of this fraud would have been stopped by voter ID, but there are certainly people willing to engage in fraud and we need to take a comprehensive approach to protect the security of the voting and election process. 

    In fact, the strict voter ID laws they advocate might have prevented only one of the 475 alleged voter fraud cases referenced -- the single allegation of voter impersonation. According to the report, the majority of the 475 cases occurred during the 2008 general election, when over four million people voted. Yet conservatives in the state have used similar claims of voter fraud to pass what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called a "greatest hits of voter suppression."

    According to Mother Jones, North Carolina's law "prohibits same-day registration, ends pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, eliminates one week of early voting, prevents counties from extending voting hours due to long lines (often caused by cuts in early voting) or other extraordinary circumstances, scratches college ID cards and other forms of identification from the very short list of acceptable state-issued photo IDs, and outlaws certain types of voter registration drives." From Mother Jones:

    The bill's new provisions make it so that, with very few exceptions, a voter needs a valid in-state DMV-issued driver's license or non-driver's ID card, a US Military ID card, a veteran's ID card or a US passport. According to an April 2013 analysis (pdf) of state Board of Elections data by Democracy North Carolina, 34 percent of the state's registered black voters, the overwhelming majority of whom vote Democrat, do not have state-issued photo ID. The same study found that 55 percent of North Carolina Democrats don't have state-issued photo ID. Only 21 percent of Republicans have the same problem.

    Instead of protecting elections from fraudulent voting, strict voter ID laws are instead being used to disenfranchise minorities and low-income individuals in an effort to help Republicans win elections.

    Fund and von Spakovsky both have a history of spreading misinformation about voter fraud, culminating in a book they co-authored that is rife with falsehoods. NRO's continued advocacy of strict voter ID laws is not surprising given its sordid history regarding civil rights.

  • Fox's Anti-Tax Zealotry Leads To Conclusion That One Should Make Less Money In Order To Avoid Paying Taxes

    Blog ››› ››› REMINGTON SHEPARD

    Fox, MickelsonA Fox Business correspondent claimed that it was better to forgo nearly $3 million in additional prize money than to pay the roughly $400,000 in taxes due on it, representing a continuation of the baseless Fox News narrative that the rich have unduly high tax burdens.

    Professional golfer Phil Mickelson placed second at June's U.S. Open golf tournament. Fox Business correspondent Lauren Simonetti argued on June 19's edition of Fox & Friends First that it may have been better for Mickelson to have lost the tournament and place second, for he would avoid paying nearly $400,000 in additional taxes.

    She explained that had Mickelson won the tournament -- and won the $1.44 million first prize -- he would have had to pay an additional $76,000 more in taxes than he paid by placing second and receiving $700,000. Mickelson would have also had to pay an additional $300,000 in taxes on $2.5 million in bonuses paid to him by his sponsors, had he won. She concluded it's better to avoid paying roughly $400,000 in taxes than to win nearly $3 million in after-tax income. Simonetti said this made Mickelson "$400,000 richer."

    This conclusion may stem from Fox's zealotry against additional taxes for the rich: the rich, because of their supposed onerous tax burden, need lower taxes in order to continue amassing wealth, or else they may stop working.

    The idea that the wealthiest Americans have a disproportionately high tax burden is a fabrication Fox has pushed for years.  However, a February 15 New York Times article reported that incomes for top earners rose more than 11 percent during the recovery from the most recent recession, while the rest saw their incomes decline slightly. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz noted in an April 14 New York Times Opinionator blog post, "as the top 1 percent has grown extremely rich, the effective tax rates they pay have markedly decreased." The Center for Tax Justice (CTJ) found that the effective tax rate -- a rate including all federal, state and local taxes paid -- for the wealthiest Americans is not much higher than the effective tax rate for middle class Americans:

    In the same report the CTJ found that the precentage of all taxes paid by the wealthy is near the amount of all national income captured by the wealthy.

    From this fabrication, Fox has argued that the supposedly high tax burden will make the rich not work or might seek lower taxes in different states. In September 2011, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly equated earnings to achievement and claimed that "if you tax achievement, some of the achievers are going to pack it in." And in September 2010, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade argued that high levels of taxation, to the wealthy, "robs you of your ambition and your push and your drive."

    However, the rich have not been doing this. As Reuters reported, millionaires in high tax states, such as Mickelson's home state of California, have not left the state for low-tax alternatives. Mickelson himself suggested in January he may quit golf due to California's income taxes, walking back the statement a day later. If the 2013 U.S. Open results are any indication, Mickelson is still playing golf, presumably because after taxes he still earns millions and because he doesn't take financial advice from Fox.  

  • Fox Business Complains Children Receiving Food Assistance Participate In "Entitlement Culture"

    Blog ››› ››› JUSTIN BERRIER

    Fox Business figures complained that an increased number of children receiving food assistance is evidence that they are part of an "entitlement culture" and attacked President Obama for allowing the food stamp program to expand in order to accommodate more children.

    Fox Business' Varney & Co. devoted several segments to reports that one-quarter of children are now enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Fox Business anchor Nicole Petallides claimed that while children should receive meals at public school, "we are raising a group of entitlement nation children. I know as a parent, I go out of my way to teach our children how they have to earn each dollar." Fox News anchor John Stossell agreed, saying that expanding SNAP "encourage[s] the handouts" because "once you give away free stuff, people always want more."

    In a later segment, Fox Business contributor Jedediah Bila claimed more children on SNAP is an indication that America "is becoming an entitlement culture" and warned that children receiving food assistance are "going to be entering a job market and in their mind are going to have this sense of entitlement coming along with them." Fox Business contributor Charles Payne agreed, saying people could "grow up and never even tap some of the potential that they have" because "if you make poverty too comfortable, people can't escape it."

  • Fox Echoes GOP's Bogus Claim That Taxes On Wealthiest Will Hurt Economy, Jobs

    ››› ››› MIKE BURNS, ANDY NEWBOLD & REMINGTON SHEPARD

    Fox News guests have repeated House Speaker John Boehner's claim that raising taxes would slow down the economy and hurt job creation. In fact, independent research shows that raising tax rates on the wealthy would have little to no impact on the economy and would decrease the deficit, while lowering taxes for the rich does not boost the economy or create jobs.

  • Conservative Media Reveal Their Contempt For Americans Who Reelected Obama

    ››› ››› DAVID SHERE

    Conservative media figures attacked Americans for reelecting President Obama, with most claiming that those who voted for Obama did so because they see him as Santa Claus and just "want stuff." Others, like Fox News' Greg Gutfeld, likened Obama voters to "the wife who ignores a horrible husband because she can't imagine an alternative."

  • Class Warrior Carlson Complains About Obama's "Sense Of Unity"

    Blog ››› ››› MELODY JOHNSON

    During the July 13 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox's Gretchen Carlson claimed "[s]ome people have a big problem" with President Obama noting that giving the American people "a sense of unity" was a major part of his job as president, claiming Obama is responsible for "the divisive nature that this administration has evoked throughout society. But Carlson and her colleagues at Fox News have resorted to charges of "class warfare" throughout Obama's first term as president in order to protect the wealthy, disparage the poor, and attack the president.

    In a recent interview with CBS's Charlie Rose, President Obama noted that he has shifted from "thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right" to understanding that "the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times. Upon hearing Obama's statement, Carlson said the following:

    CARLSON:  Unity? Unity? Some people have a big problem with that word based on the last year and the allegations of class warfare and the divisive nature that this administration has evoked throughout society. That was an interesting choice of a word . Also what I find amazing is that make no mistake about it, this man has the best oratory skills ever as a man running for the president united states. His greatest strength is communication. In the same breath he says his biggest mistake was communication. 

    Carlson and her colleagues at Fox News have made class warfare a primary facet of their attacks on the president. Just last week, Fox Business' Charles Payne fabricated an attack on wealthy Americans from President Obama's praise of middle class values.

    Although Carlson never mentioned the source of the "allegations of class warfare" which she took as evidence that Obama is evoking a "divisive nature" in society, she wouldn't have to go far to find examples: Carlson herself has been at the forefront of Fox News' campaign to attach the "class warfare" label to Obama.