Barone repeated 2000 Florida recount falsehood


U.S. News & World Report senior writer and principal coauthor of The Almanac of American Politics Michael Barone repeated the false assertion that former Vice President Al Gore would have lost the 2000 presidential election under any recount scenario.

From Barone's February 21 nationally syndicated column:

In other words, Gore sought new counts only in areas where he was likely to gain votes and would not take the risk of a statewide hand count, where those gains might be offset by others for George W. Bush.

We know now that, thanks to the news media consortium that recounted ballots in every Florida county, recounting under any method and any criterion they tested would not have overturned Bush's exceedingly thin plurality.

In fact, the 2001 news media consortium study of the disputed ballots in the 2000 Florida recount found that there were at least four recount scenarios under which Gore would have won the state of Florida. A November 12, 2001, Washington Post article reported on the findings of the study: "[I]f Gore had found a way to trigger a statewide recount of all disputed ballots, or if the courts had required it, the result likely would have been different. An examination of uncounted ballots throughout Florida found enough where voter intent was clear to give Gore the narrowest of margins."

The news media consortium that sponsored the study, which was conducted by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, included the Associated Press, The New York Times, and CNN, as well as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post Company, and the Tribune Company (which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel).

Other conservatives who have repeated this false claim include Wall Street Journal op-ed columnist and author John Fund, FOX News host Bill O'Reilly, syndicated radio host Glenn Beck, and The Wall Street Journal editorial page.

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