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Friday, January 20, 2023
MRC Parrots Bogus Election-Denier Attack On Ariz. Election Official
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center dabbled in election denierism by hyping right-wing claims that the midterm election vote in Arizona may be fraudulent because it took so long to count the votes (which was actually due in large part to mail-in ballots being delivered to polling place on the day of the election because of right-wing scaremonging about mail-in ballots). It did further dabbling when Catherine Salgado took dictation directly from a discredited Trump lawyer in a Dec. 14 post:

Maricopa County, Arizona’s County Recorder Stephen Richer asked the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) for help censoring alleged election “misinformation,” according to a tweet by 2024 Trump campaign attorney Christina Bobb.

Pro-censorship ex-Twitter executive Vijaya Gadde also attended the meeting, endorsing government-tech collusion to “pre-bunk” so-called “misinformation,” according to the tweet’s screenshot.

Christina Bobb tweeted on Dec. 7, “Well look at what we found!! Turns out @CISAgov has been collaborating with Maricopa County @stephen_richer to censor election information and keeping it from the public.” The document she shared had a CISA heading and was marked “FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY.” 

The document recorded what Richer and the CISA Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Misinformation and Disinformation Subcommittee discussed during a March 29 meeting.


The tweeted CISA document shows that Richer described supposed mis-, dis-, and malinformation online and asked CISA to help in five areas. According to the document, the five areas included were:

“- Educate the public and determine how people are manipulating the public’s understanding of the truth;

“– Funding and resources;

“– Intelligence and metrics;

“– Partnership with social media; and

“– Share best practices on pre-bunking.”

That means, per the document, Maricopa’s recorder asked the federal government to partner with social media to recommend censoring election-related content he deemed “misinformation,” “disinformation” or “malinformation.”

So Salgado is back to insisting that misinformation cannot possibly be objective. And she and Bobb are objectively misinforming people about the nature of that meeting; as one writer pointed out, Richer and other officials "were trying to prevent outright lies from being used to try to undermine democracy. Again, that is. As usual, Salgado doesn't explain why lies and misinformaton should never be countered with facts, even though she works for an organizaiton that spends millions of dollars a year claiming to do exactly that by calling it "bias."

Salgado huffed that Richer "previously 'started a Super PAC' to prevent so-called 'election deniers' from taking office, according to Bobb." Which is true -- but Salgado doesn't explain why this is a bad thing. Shouldn't people who spread election lies and misinformation be kept out of political office?

Salgado further complained:

Twitter’s ex-general counsel Vijaya Gadde, who pushed Twitter to ban former President Donald Trump despite no violation of platform rules, recommended that social media work with election boards to remove “false information.”

Gadde added praise for the “effectiveness of pre-bunking on Twitter,” noting that pre-bunk efforts caused a decrease in supposed “false information” online, the document showed. Gadde and Richer then agreed that censorship needs to occur within 24 hours of posting. The subcommittee recommended pre-bunking to encourage state and local officials to “release accurate information” on the handling of elections “prior to misinformation and disinformation campaigns.”

Richer cited the 2020 election as a learning experience for media in the meeting, noting as one challenge that some media outlets are “not open to government feedback.” The Media Research Center previously found that Big Tech and media censorship of the now-verified Hunter Biden scandals helped steal the 2020 election for Joe Biden.

To be fair, nobody thought a sitting president would try to incite an insurrection because he couldn't mentally handle the fact that he lost. And that MRC finding that the election was stolen from Trump is based on polls the MRC bought from Trump's 2020 election pollster and a polling firm founded by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, so it should be treated as the partisan, biased narrative that it is.

Salgado also huffed:

Bobb also tweeted on Dec. 4 that Democrat Arizona Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs’s office had asked Twitter to have “posts removed.” Bobb said in the tweet that Hobbs “ran the AZ election, censored her political opponents, disrupted Election Day votes, and then threatened counties with prosecution if they didn’t declare her the winner.”

As we documented when WorldNetDaily regurgitated this talking point, the posts Hobbs requested to be taken dow ntook place months before she even entered the race for governor and involved the objective falsehood that Arizona's voter registration system is controlled by foreigners; again, Salgado doesn't explain why such a falsehood shouldn't be countered. Further, the secretary of state's role in certifying elections is largely ceremonial, and those counties brought threats of prosecution by refusing to certify the election -- not just Hobbs' victory but the entire election -- by a longstanding state-mandated deadline.

Salgado concluded by whining that media outlets pointing out that social media was serving again as a conduit for election misinformation was "propaganda" -- even though she herself had just peddled propaganda by uncritically promoting a Twitter post filled with misinformation without bothering to fact-check it first.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:08 PM EST

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