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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Scrutinizing Greg Palast

Greg Palast, African-American Soldiers Scrubbed by Secret GOP Hit List, 6/16/2006:

Palast: "Over one million provisional ballots cast in the 2004 race were never counted; over half a million absentee ballots were also rejected."

Pew Research's Briefing Solution or Problem? Provisional Ballots in 2004 (.pdf), pg 5: "Despite the controversy, provisional ballots could be considered a success. Over 1.6 million provisional ballots were cast and nearly 1.1 million, or 68 percent, were counted." By their raw data, 528,227 provisional ballots were rejected nation-wide.

Palast: "The extraordinary rise in the number of rejected ballots was the result of the widespread multi-state voter challenge campaign by the Republican Party."

USA Today, 10/10/2004: "After the 2000 election, the Census Bureau found that nearly 3 million people didn't vote because of registration issues."

So Palast's "extraordinary rise" is really over a five-fold drop from nearly 3 million to half a million.

Palast's "multi-state challenge campaign by the Republican Party"? Again, from USA Today (ibid):

Already, legal challenges to provisional voting procedures have been launched in five of the most hotly contested states in the presidential race: Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri and Colorado. Democrats or groups allied with them are seeking to block those states from throwing out votes not cast at a voter's home polling place. [Emphasis mine.]

The campaign was, in fact, a Democrat one.

Palast: "While the party insisted the lists were not created for the purpose to challenge Black voters, the GOP ultimately offered no other explanation for the mailings."

Mindy Tucker Fletcher, October 26, 2004, in response to Palast's original BBC story of 26 October, 2004: "the list was a listing of returned mail that came from a mailing that the Republican National Committee sent to new registrants in Duval County in Florida, encouraging newly registered Republicans, Democrats and Independents to vote Republican."

Palast has known of Fletcher's claim for 19 months. The claim is verifiable: if the list wasn't new registrants in Duval County, her lie on the record would be explosive. Instead he falsely claims "the GOP ultimately offered no other explanation," and relies on the reader's ignorance.

If I had more time, I'd compare the unverifiable parts of Palast's story to common features of conspiracy theories. I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

More Palast background: praised by Michael Moore: "Courageous reporting."

Hat-tip: Sewer Den

Update, 6/23: I'm suspicious of USA Today's 3 million number. It was the first such estimate I found reported at the time by the MSM. Even so, Palast has a long way to go to show his "extraordinary rise."


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