Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Robocalls puzzle RoboTimes

The most immediately obvious and glaring omission in the NY Times story about the so-called "robocalls" that were seen prior to the November elections is how the story's author, Susan Saulny, manages to make it the whole way through without once mentioning anyone's party affiliation, except when noting that Republican lawmakers have grown angered by the sleazy tactic. That is a pretty remarkable feat in our current political climate, so one is forced to conclude that Saulny's omission was conscious and intentional.

Right off the bat, Sulany must confess that State investigators are "trying to figure out" who was behind the aggressive use of robocalls in Nebraska that may ultimately have kept Democrat Scott Kleeb from winning the election, after having led in the polls just prior.
State investigators here are still trying to figure out who sabotaged Scott Kleeb’s campaign for Congress last November with a barrage of automated telephone calls to voters. The unauthorized calls, officials said, distorted Mr. Kleeb’s views and even used a recording of his voice — sometimes arriving in the middle of the night — with the greeting: “Hi, this is Scott Kleeb!”
While it may be true that, as a matter of evidence, investigators do not "know" who was behind the irritating robocalls, rest assured, everyone really does know. Is this really that fucking hard to figure out? But Ms. Saulny won't tell readers the obvious affiliations. Kleeb was the Democratic candidate for Nebraska's 3rd district and nowhere in the story does Sualny mention this. Now, a robocall campaign in which Nebraska voters were called 20 times a day and makes Kleeb appear to be the offending party; hmmm, who could be behind such a scheme?

The Times' story goes on to describe how various states' lawmakers have grown rather irked by these negative tactics. If her job was make the robocall tactic appear bipartisan, well, Saulny certainly managed that on its face. But in doing so, Saulny actually achieves to opposite for her media outlet: she manages to make the NY Times look partisan. And not toward the Democrats nor the truth behind the matter. But then we're already used to that. What struck me was just how blatant this latest effort to wash over GOP dirty election tricks came across. Nowhere in this article does Saulny inform readers of what actually went on prior to the election. Nowhere do the words "National Republican Congessional Committee" make an appearance, either together or separately.

In fact, it was widely reported that in the days leading up to the November elections, the National Republican Congressional Committee had contracted at least two companies to perform robocall campaigns in at least 20 tightly contested districts around the country. One company was Direct Strategies, which was paid $3500 by the NRCC for phone banking in Kleeb's district in Nebraska, the very place where Sualny tells us investigators are puzzling over the calls. The other comapny was Conquest Communications, which made between $1500 and $7000 per district for the robocall campaign, bought and paid for by the NRCC. (Incidentally, the $1500 was charged for Kentucky's 2nd district, all others were far more expensive that this. Not a lot of phones in Kentucky, I guess.)

The NY Times has been on a long term mission painting the American electoral system as perfectly fine; just something with a few bipartisan and benign hick-ups. They have editorially chosen to attack those who have questioned election results or otherwise produced evidence that the elections in 2000, 2002, 2004 and now 2006 experienced major problems, problems that were the direct result of electoral malfeasance on the part of partisan Republican operatives like Kenneth Blackwell. Oftentimes, at least when the NY Times is not ignoring these problems completely, they paint highly qualified experts as conspiracy theorists. It is an established fact that the Republican party bought and paid for a nation-wide robocall campaign designed to annoy voters away from the Democratic candidates. The latest news coming out of Ohio should be raising sirens at major news outlets but, in reality, not a word is coming out about the fact that Republican National Committee computers were serving election results in November, 2004, while Blackwell had the Ohio State government's web servers redirect traffic to the RNC machines.

But at the NY Times, laze is the order of the day and nothing is out of the ordinary in this country's electoral system; just a few bipartisan tricks, nothing that Republican lawmakers won't get fixed. My only question for the NY Times editors is, why bother with nonsense like this? Oh, I know, you're part of the corporate machine that must insist American democracy is healthy but, really, a worthless piece of crap like Saulny's story only makes you look bad.

[for another hit on NY Times propaganda, check out Chris Floyd's latest about the anarchy in Somalia story.]


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