Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is fully on board with the talking point that Republicans aren't trying to suppress the vote of anyone they dislike by changing election laws, they're merely engaging in "election integrity." Even when such a law has been mismanaged to the point that it sure looks like disenfranchising voters was the goal, the MRC stayed on message.
Nicholas Fondacaro was in full defense mode over a botched Texas law in a Feb. 15 post:
The liberal media are so desperate to find a single instance of so-called “voter suppression” that they’re resorting to suggesting voters incorrectly filling out forms and clerical snafus were evidence of Republicans stealing the right to vote from black Americans. Or, as they ridiculously call it, “Jim Crow 2.0.” This was the case on Tuesday afternoon's CNN Newsroom as they spoke with a Texas voter.
The segment was helmed by co-host Alisyn Camerota, who leaned on hyperbole to drive the narrative. She suggested “[t]he controversial voting law passed in Texas last year is already creating problems for voters,” and declared: “the worst fears are already coming to pass…”
For the supposedly blatant example of voter suppression, Camerota brought on Pam Gaskin of the League of Women Voters who had her application for a mail-in ballot rejected twice.
But according to her own account, Gaskin filled the form out incorrectly. The first time, the elections officials for Fort Bend County had put up the form from 2021 instead of 2022:
As NewsBusters described in our explainer video (embedded below) on the media’s big lie about “voter suppression,” this is a procedural mishap.
Fondacaro is lying. The woman did not "fill out the form incorrectly"; she weas given the wrong form to fill out. He went on to complain about the second example:
The second rejection was convoluted as Gaskin contradicted her own testimony. “This time because I did not include the form of ID that was used when I originally registered to vote which was 46 years ago in this county,” she explained.
Gaskin admits that “they wanted me to include the last four digits of my social security number” but she instead used her driver’s license number despite knowing that “my driver's license number was not in my original voter record. I didn't use that to register to vote.”
So the woman was supposed to remember what form of ID she used 46 years ago? Apparently. Fondacaro is very much invested in blaming the victim instead of the system:
So, clearly, this case was a combination of poor housekeeping work by elections officials by keeping the wrong form on the website and a poorly filled out form. And perhaps the language on the document could be cleaned up. But again, these are procedural mishaps and not efforts to suppress the vote.
But that’s not how Gaskin would see it. Proclaiming herself “a super voter,” she grew indignant at the idea she may not have filled the form out correctly. “I know what the rules are. I follow the rules. I tell folks I have a degree from the University of Texas at Austin in English. I know how to read and follow directions,” she said.
But a short time later, she couldn’t remember the rules for who could apply for a mail-in ballot in Texas: “They're very few people in Texas who can vote by mail. You have to be 65 or over, which that's the class I fall into. Disabled, out of the county or -- I forgot what the last one is.”
And providing no evidence outside her own bungled application, Gaskin concluding by suggesting, “This law is, I think, intentionally, designed to allow legislators to pick their voters instead of voters to pick their legislators.”
These aren’t facts. They’re conjecture, which makes sense because this is CNN.
And Fondacaro is victim-blaming because this is the MRC and the victim can't advance its right-wing agenda. He didn't tell his readers that the woman was far from an isolated case -- one large county in Texa saw a mail ballot rejection rate of 40 percent.
When the woman showed up on ABC to tell her story, Fondacaro ranted at her again in a Feb. 21 post, dismissing her as an "elections activist," whatever that is:
Early voting in Texas has been going on for a week but Monday’s Good Morning America on ABC highlighted a supposed voter suppression case where they complained it took the woman “28 days” to cast her ballot. It was the case of Pam Gaskin, the same woman CNN highlighted last week with the same convoluted, conflicting, and now-evolving story about how Republicans were suppressing her right to vote because she filled out the application incorrectly.
“It took three forms, 28 days, several calls, and some guessing before her mail-in voter was accepted,” Scott proclaimed, failing to note that the early voting window only opened last Monday (and runs until the 25th).
Fondacaro was still in victim-blaming mode, accusing the woman of having filled out "the wrong ballot application form from the local elections website" while downplaying the fact that it was the "wrong form" because that's what was provided to her.He grumbled that the reporter "made it clear that her concern was the proliferation of election integrity laws," but he also conceded thatthe procedure might be an issue and that "if the form could be more succinct, that would get worked out before the midterms."
Needless to say, Fondacaro again censored the fact that the woman's case was far from isolated and that numerous ballot applications were being rejected. Indeed, election results from the March 1 election showed that mail-in ballots were rejected at a stateewide rate of 13 percent -- far higher than the usual 1 percent rejection rate and twice as high as the rejection rate for any state in the 2020 presidential election -- and even higher rejection rates were found in counties that voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
So, yes, it appears that Republican-backed "elec tion integrity" laws seemed geared toward disenfrancising Democratic voters. Not that Fondacaro will ever admit that fact, of course -- he's being paid to deny that truth.