Sunday, June 04, 2006

Blitzer's 'Diclaimers': CNN Distorts Evidence of Election Fraud

On Friday June 2nd, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. appeared on CNN’s “The Situation Room” to discuss his recent article in Rolling Stone magazine that documents evidence of fraud in the 2004 Presidential Election.


Unfortunately, the show’s host, Wolf Blitzer, distorted the facts and misled the viewers throughout the segment in a shameful attempt to downplay and discredit Kennedy’s article.

Before the interview even began, Blitzer found it necessary to list numerous misleading ‘disclaimers’ (see transcript):

“BLITZER (voiceover): ... Kennedy cites the early exit polls showing Kerry was winning Ohio. Kennedy contends exit polls are an exact science and, essentially, never wrong. But even pollsters dispute that.

Kennedy lays much of the blame on Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who is now running for governor. Blackwell refused to respond to Kennedy's allegations, and he declined our offer to be interviewed. He's previously denied similar allegations, saying election glitches shouldn't cause the outcome to be questioned.

And there's a noteworthy skeptic about allegations that the Ohio vote was stolen. Senator John Kerry has cited irregularities in the Ohio vote, but he says if he had firm evidence the election was rigged or stolen, he would have taken legal action.

And a Democratic National Committee study of the Ohio vote found significant problems but concluded they did not -- repeat not -- constitute fraud.


Joining us now from New York to talk about these allegations is the author of the article, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. ...”


What an introduction, eh?


Blitzer's first point regarding the exit polls is perhaps the most disgraceful.

Exit polls are indeed an exact science. While they cannot be used to determine exact results, they can be used to determine results within a certain margin of error.

As Kennedy noted in his article, election results have recently been thrown out in the Republic of Georgia and in the Ukraine because the final tallies did not match the exit polls within the margin of error.

As Kennedy also noted in his article, the exit polls for the 2004 Presidential Election were designed to be the most accurate in history, with a margin of error of approximately plus or minus one percent.

Blitzer smears Kennedy for using exit polls as a source, but he never mentions that on Election Day 2004, the polls varied beyond the margin of error in ten of the eleven battleground states. The final results were off by 6.7 percent in Ohio, 6.5 percent in Pennsylvania, 4.9 percent in Florida, 9.5 percent in New Hampshire, 5.5 percent in Minnesota, 3.9 percent in Nevada, and the list goes on. Every shift was in favor of Bush.

So right off the bat, Blitzer has completely distorted the truth and given the viewer a false impression of the facts. But he doesn't stop there.

He proceeds to use his misleading statements to transition into a quote by Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who believes “election glitches shouldn't cause the outcome to be questioned.” Of course, if all you watch is CNN and Wolf Blitzer, you’ll think Blackwell is correct.

Blitzer keeps going: “And there's a noteworthy skeptic about allegations that the Ohio vote was stolen. Senator John Kerry has cited irregularities in the Ohio vote, but he says if he had firm evidence the election was rigged or stolen, he would have taken legal action. ... And a Democratic National Committee study of the Ohio vote found significant problems but concluded they did not -- repeat not -- constitute fraud.”

Blitzer reiterates this talking point later on, and Kennedy actually gets a chance to respond:

KENNEDY: Well, you know what, Wolf? You're right about that. And I think that's a big problem, that the Democrats backed down too easy on this.

John Kerry has said to me that at the -- at -- during the time -- during the narrow window of time when he had an opportunity to protest this election, he didn't do it, because his attorneys told him that at that point, they didn't have the facts that they needed to make the case.

John has looked at the facts that I produced in this article and particularly the issue about the 12 counties, rural counties where the votes were shifted from Kerry, where 80,000 votes were shifted from Kerry to Bush, and said that his opinion has changed as a result of that.

Blitzer seemed slightly dumbfounded and had no response.

Luckily for him, he had somebody to turn to: sharing the screen with Kennedy was the press secretary of the 2004 Bush/Cheney campaign, Terry Hall, who was given equal time and allowed to spew the same rhetoric as the
ACVR, a GOP front posing as a voting rights group.

I suggest watching the full segment to see just how easily facts can be covered up by CNN and lame ducks like Wolf Blitzer.

When Kennedy was allowed to speak, he delivered. But to the average Joe, the message was lost, which is exactly what CNN wants.

Update: Brad Blog has more

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