WorldNetDaily embraces the highly dubious Arizona election audit because it cast the aspersions on the 2020 presidential election that align with its Trump-friendly agenda.
By Terry Krepel Posted 10/25/2021
WorldNetDaily made its partisan bias clear on the issue of the audit in Maricopa County, Ariz., to recount presidential election ballots yet again. ConWebWatch has documented conspiracy-addled editor Joseph Farah's full-throated endorsement of the audit back in April -- which involved the utterly partisan aspect of it, the lack of election experience by the audit's operator, Cyber Ninjas (and the conspiracy-mongering of the company's leader and the overall poorly run operation.
But the rest of WND was similarly all in on promoting the Arizona audit and not fact-checking anything that came out of it.
Bob Unruh breathlessly wrote in a May 13 WND article under the headline "Maricopa bombshell!":
A letter from the president of the Arizona state Senate, which is conducting an audit of the 2020 presidential election results in Maricopa County, has a bombshell: County officials apparently erased an election database from a computer just before turning it over, under subpoena, for the audit.
"We have recently discovered that the entire 'Database' directory from the D drive of the machine 'EMSPrimary' has been deleted," the letter from Senate President Karen Fann to the Maricopa Board of Supervisors, and its chairman, Jack Sellers, notes.
This removes election related details that appear to have been covered by the subpoena. In addition, the main database for the Election Management System (EMS) Software, 'Results Tally and Reporting,' is not located anywhere on the EMSPrimary machine, even though all of the EMS Clients reference that machine as the location of the database," the letter says.
"This suggests that the main database for all election related data for the November 2020 General Election has been removed. Can you please advise as to why these folders were deleted, and whether there are any backups that may contain the deleted folders?"
None of that is true. As fact-checkers have pointed out, the Board of Supervisors denied any databases were delated, and indeed they never were -- a screw-up on the audit investigators' part simply hid them:
Snopes obtained a May 17 technical memo, prepared by the Maricopa County Elections Department in response to Fann’s letter and other speculation. In it, the department explained that, roughly speaking, those who received the server in question, on behalf of the state senate investigators, appear to have erred when using software to reconstruct those directories.
This in turn created the mistaken impression that the underlying databases and files had been deleted, when in fact they were merely inaccessible because of those errors. Backups of the original server still contained the databases and files in question, according to the Maricopa County Elections Department.
On May 18, after this fact check was originally published, one of the investigators tasked by the Senate with conducting the audit admitted that he had access to all the databases in question. At a special hearing on the audit, Ben Cotton, founder of CyFIR, told Republican state senators “I have access to that data,” and “I have the information I need from the recovery efforts of the data.”
As of this writing, WND has not corrected the article's false information -- suggesting that WND no longer cares about facts, though it sorta did for a time earlier this year.
The state Senate audit of the Maricopa County, Arizona, 2020 presidential election results has taken, so far, months, and the first stunning numbers were released on Thursday.
It was during a Senate hearing to listen to the auditors, from Cyber Ninjas, the company hired for the review, which revealed that, according to election records, more mail-in ballots were counted than were mailed out.
A lot more. In fact, 74,243 ballots were counted for which there is no corresponding record that they were mailed out.
Officials from Cyber Ninjas also said there were 3,981 people who voted who were registered to vote after an Oct. 15 deadline, there were 11,326 people who voted who were not on the rolls on Nov. 7, but were on Dec. 4, and some 18,000 voted, but were removed from the rolls after the election.
Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan explained, "Based on the data we’re seeing, I highly recommend we do the canvassing because it’s the one way to know for sure whether the data we’re seeing are real problems."
Meanwhile, a fact-checker found that there are questions about where its numbers came from, and that Logan would not explain:
A spokesman for Logan would not explain how he reached his 74,000 figure. But the number appears to have come from a lack of understanding of the data contained in early voting reports that state law requires counties to provide to political parties. Counties must provide two reports: EV32 reports, which show daily early ballots requests from voters, and EV33 reports, which show early ballot returns by day.
State law only requires counties to provide EV32 reports through the deadline for requesting early ballots by mail, while they must provide EV33 reports through Election Day. Some counties continue providing reports on early ballot requests after the deadline, but Maricopa County cut them off at the Oct. 23 deadline, said Sam Almy, a strategist with the Democratic campaign consulting firm Saguaro Strategies.
The EV33 reports would show the returns for all early ballots cast in-person at early voting centers through Election Day, but in Maricopa County there were no corresponding reports showing which voters requested early ballots at those centers after Oct. 23, Almy said.
Unruh went on to complain that "While Democrats up and down the ladder of government influence have tried to close down the audit, the media has not been on the sidelines. The Associated Press has characterized the Arizona state Senate's audit of 2020 presidential election ballots in Maricopa County as an effort prompted by the 'fraud fantasies' of Republicans." He didn't tell readers that a hosts and reporters for the right-wing One America News channel have been raising money to pay for the audit, which places right-wing media directly on the playing field in a much more active way than Unruh accuses the Associated Press of being.
Unruh has not corrected his article, nor is there an update on the audit correcting the misinformation anywhere at WND. Nevertheless, the article got recycled into the issue of WND's sparsely read Whistleblower magazine which rehashed a panoply of discredited claims to claim that the election was stolen from Trump.
Columnists weigh in
In an Aug. 2 column complaining that "The real threat to states like Arizona is not COVID, it's CALVID, Arizona turning into California," Rachel Alexander huffed, "Let's just hope the voter fraud in Arizona stops." But no election fraud has been proven.
Meanwhile, Craige McMillan used his Aug. 27 column to forward an evidence-free conspiracy theory that President Biden's withdrawal from Afghanistan was designed as a distraction from the (bogus) Arizona election audit:
Who would have thought? Afghan bombings are caused by Arizona election audits! It's such a coincidence that it's almost like it's not. For months now the Big Lie in Big Media in America has been that the Arizona Senate's audit of election processes in Maricopa County has already been discredited. Or maybe "discredited" is just a secret code word that shuts down most of the 81 million Democrat-voter thought processes that supposedly cast a ballot for Joe Biden.
The word "discredited" sitting off there in the corner by itself is an odd claim, though. The entire audit process was live streamed on the internet. Anyone with concerns about the audit processes could have watched everything and raised the alert on Big Media. Perhaps there are none so blind as those who will not look.
Perhaps the real news in the images of Afghanistan human trauma and carnage is that our own elites know that free and fair elections really didn't happen in America on Nov. 3. Maricopa County is the most populous in Arizona. It only needs 13,000 disqualified ballots to flip the vote from Biden to Trump. The larger the election discrepancies, the greater the pressure on the Arizona Senate to withdraw its Biden electors and appoint Trump electors, to correctly reflect the lawful popular vote.
The election audits are necessarily going to extend to all states with questionable election results, and there is a well-established move afoot to extend the audits to all 50 states. Long before that happens, however, the states with troubled election results will succumb to audits, and if fraud is verified that would have changed the result, they will be unable to resist the will of voters who will consider Biden to have been fraudulently elected, and they will decertify their electors. At that point the Biden government becomes illegitimate in the minds of a majority of Americans, and perhaps most foreign nations, with the possible exception of Communist China.
That's why Afghanistan is suddenly in the news, folks. Atrocities and fear push aside election-audit results. The Democratic elites know they are standing on a bridge too far. They cannot stop the audits, because presidential elections are a state issue in the Constitution. Cackling Kamala is not going to step in and fix their problem, as most of us don't think this is a laughing matter. Nancy Pelosi wants Kamala out of the way while she is still speaker, because she sees herself as next in line after Kamala for president.
A draft version of the audit's final report showed that it not only found no actual evidence of fraud but that Biden got even more votes than Trump than were originally counted. Nevertheless, An anonymously written Sept. 23 article tried to work up enthusiasm for it:
Arizona state Senate Republicans will present a final report of their audit of the 2020 election results in Maricopa County on Friday.
The session at 1 p.m. Pacific Time to be streamed live will be closely watch by lawmakers in other states, including Georgia and Pennsylvania, who have been gathering evidence to support their contention that the outcome of the presidential election last fall was fraudulent.
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Judiciary Chairman Warren Petersen will hear the findings of the audit. Among the presenters are Doug Logan, CEO of the lead contractor Cyber Ninjas, and Ben Cotton, the founder of the digital forensics company CyFir.
In May, Cotton said he was able to recover data from vote-counting machines that the Senate audit team had accused Maricopa County of deleting.
Among the audit's critics is Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democratic candidate for governor, who has called it "political stunt" to cast doubt on election integrity.
However, a statewide, citizen-run canvassing launched in December claiming no affiliation with the state Senate's audit found 173,104 "lost votes," people who said they voted but no vote was recorded, and 96,389 "ghost votes" from invented voters.
WND censored the fact that the citizen canvass report has been discredited, and, again, that the databases accused of being deleted were actually inadvertently hidden by the people running the audit, which should offer a clue as to how seriously the audit should be taken.
The anonymous WND writer added:
Jovan Pulitzer, who had invented a system he claims can detect fraudulent ballots, believes the report is "going to be monumental."
"For the very first time you're really going to see how sick this system is that we call our election and voting system," he said in an interview Sept. 17 with St. Louis Real Talk radio station 93.3.
"It's about as efficient as a 1980s fax machine. And you’re going to look at it and go, 'Wow, why didn't we do anything with it?'"
Pulitzer (not his real name) does not have a record that inspires trust: he's a con man, failed treasure hunter and inventor of one of the worst gadgets ever, the CueCat. Not that the anonymous WND writer thought this was worth telling readers, of course.
The Sept. 24 article on the actual results -- also written anonymously -- started out surprisingly balanced for a WND article, though he (or she) made the mistake of basing the story on the notoriously unreliable Gateway Pundit:
The CEO of a cybersecurity firm hired by Arizona Senate Republicans to audit the 2020 election results in Maricopa County said Friday he found more than 57,000 problem ballots, however his team's count confirmed that Joe Biden won.
Those mixed results produced contrasting reactions on Friday, with media reporting the five-month, $6 million effort was a waste of taxpayers money while President Trump, Arizona Republican lawmakers and voter-integrity activists pointed to findings that verify their belief that the election was fraudulent.
Doug Logan, the CEO of Cyber Ninjas, said his team found 57,734 ballots with serious issues, the Gateway Pundit reported.
Ben Cotton, the founder of the digital forensics firm CyFIR, claimed in his presentation to the senators he has evidence that Maricopa County workers intentionally deleted data.
He said his team caught the election workers at the keyboards of computers in February purging results from the Election Management System the day before the audit began.
Cotton is lying; as county officials stated, "Nothing was purged. Cyber Ninjas don’t understand the business of elections. We can't keep everything on the EMS server because it has storage limits."The anonymous WND writer did acknowledge that "Maricopa County responded with a statement on Twitter saying it 'strongly denies claims that @maricopavote staff intentionally deleted data.'" And, of course, that 57,000 number is a bogus accounting.
As the article continued, the anonymous WND writer became content to simply regurgitate whatever bogus claims were made:
Another 17,000 ballots in Maricopa County should not have been counted because they were duplicate votes, contended Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, an MIT-trained data analyst hired by the Senate Republicans.
He said there were ballots that eventually were double or triple counted that had a "verified and approved" stamp pre-printed on the front. Among the examples he presented was a ballot that was stamped as approved even though it didn't have a signature.
As one fact-checker noted, that's not what happened, and "Ayyadurai appeared to have absolutely no knowledge of Maricopa County policies and procedures regarding the early ballot envelopes and signature verification.
The audit was proved to be a sham, but it produced the results WND wanted, so it tried to keep the narrative alive. An anonymously written Sept. 29 article hyped the next step:
When the Arizona state Senate revealed last week the results of its audit of the 2020 presidential election race in Maricopa County, which confirmed more than 57,000 problem ballots in a county won by Joe Biden by a handful, some may have thought the issue was over.
They would have been wrong.
This week, Arizona Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Mark Brnovich announced a review of the issue, and so did officials in Maricopa County.
The article repeated the false claims about data being deleted.
But to really make that spin desperate and dishonest, you gotta call in the big guy. So take it away, Joseph Farah, who insisted in his Sept. 30 column that the audit was "good news!":
The media did a number in their announcement last week that the Arizona Senate "affirmed" the results of the November presidential vote in Maricopa County.
It was a blatant attempt to cast aspersions on legislators who were challenging the claim that the BIG STEAL of the 2020 election did not occur.
The "affirmation" was based merely a recount of the total votes cast illegal and legal in Maricopa County.
Many who don't watch the news with full discernment didn't understand what was happening. And the reporting mostly was quick to point out the Joe Biden actually picked up a few votes. That was what the media played up big.
Here's what is actually happening in Arizona and it's all good news!
The next stage of the review by the Arizona's attorney general will look at the illegally cast votes totaling an unbelievable 57,734 ballots! That was the determination of Cyber Ninjas, who conducted the audit. Compare that with the 10,457 vote differential that gave Biden the "victory."
Maricopa County was ordered to "preserve all documents and data."
Like his WND minions -- indeed, he seemed to be copying-and-pasting from WND's "news" stories -- Farah went on to parrot the lies the audit officials spouted:
Ben Cotton, the founder of the digital forensics firm CyFIR, claimed in his presentation to the senators Friday that he has evidence that Maricopa County workers intentionally deleted data.
He said his team caught the election workers at the keyboards of computers in February purging results from the Election Management System the day before the audit began. His team, he said, captured screen shots and time stamps and has identified the workers.
Again, that didn't happen -- not that Farah has any interest in telling the truth.
Farah even invoked the old Zuckerbucks claim: "Further, Facebook's leftist Mark Zuckerberg handed out some $350 million to mostly leftist local and state election officials for them to run their 2020 operations, raising the question of undue influence." Actually, the money was needed -- which was available to any election office, not just "leftist" ones -- because state and federal governments failed to adequately fund elections during a pandemic, and the money had no apparent impact on turnout. But who needs facts when there is fearmongering to be done?
Farah closed by admitting that he's trying to keep Trump's Big Lie alive:
Fake news and its masters in Big Tech, which also played a role in the greatest electoral hoax in American history, are as culpable as the Democrats in the 2020 swindle.
And most of all, we must pray for the country and to keep Donald Trump at the top of his game!
Trump has chosen to believe and promote a lie. That doesn't sound like a guy who's at "the top of his game" -- unless Trump's "game" is suckering gullible right-wingers like Farah.