Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Un-unanimous Agreement

As the news breaks of potential voter fraud perpetrated by ACORN in this STLtoday article, "Suspect voter registration cards found in St. Louis,"it is ironic published this article: Report refutes fraud at poll sites today:

"At a time when many states are instituting new requirements for voter registration and identification, a preliminary report to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission has found little evidence of the type of polling-place fraud those measures seek to stop.

USA TODAY obtained the report from the commission four months after it was delivered by two consultants hired to write it. The commission has not distributed it publicly."

Reading on I discovered this little tidbit from that same story:

"The bipartisan report by two consultants to the election commission casts doubt on the problem those laws are intended to address. "There is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling-place fraud, or at least much less than is claimed, including voter impersonation, 'dead' voters, non-citizen voting and felon voters," the report says."

Okay, this is some fine creative writing but, as the guru of The Rhetorica Network might say, it sets up a straw man fallacy. Read the paragraph above carefully, note that there is "widespread but NOT unanimous agreement," what does that mean? How can you have agreement and yet it not be unanimous? Un-unanimous agreement isn't really agreement at all, and yet the writer goes on as if to say this "widespread" DISAGREEMENT is some sort of proof that there is "little polling-place fraud, or at least much less than is claimed...." Huh?

Now, let's read on:

"Conservatives dispute the research and conclusions. Thor Hearne, counsel to the American Center for Voting Rights, notes that the Justice Department has sued Missouri for having ineligible voters registered, while dead people have turned up on the registration rolls in Michigan. "It is just wrong to say that this isn't a problem," he says.

That's one reason the commission decided not to officially release the report. "There was a division of opinion here," Chairman Paul DeGregorio says. "We've seen places where fraud does occur."

I wonder if Thor Hearne was counted among those minions in the "widespread but NOT unanimous agreement" department?

Now, another straw man fallacy, in the very next paragraph:

"The consultants found little evidence of that. Barry Weinberg, former deputy chief of the voting section in the Justice Department's civil rights division, reviewed their work. "Fraud at the polling place is generally difficult to pull off," he says. "It takes a lot of planning and a lot of coordination.""

The USA Today writer sets up another straw man fallacy by pointing out that "the consultants found little evidence of that (voter fraud)" and then quotes Barry Weinberg, an indisputably credible reviewer of their work, as if to support their conclusion when he does not support it at all, at least not in the content of this quote. In fact, he has stated that fraud is "difficult to pull off...takes a lot of planning and...coordination" but does NOT say that there is little evidence to suggest voter fraud exists.

The media wonders why Americans believe that certain things are true when they are not true. Hmmm...this particular writer issued his report in such a slanted manner as to suggest that this report is more credible than it really is, will he later have the gall to suggest that the American people are not following current or political issues when in fact, as he has so clearly exampled, many journalists today make every effort to intentionally confuse the very issues that they claim voters do not understand.

Another instance: repeatedly I have heard liberals claim that the Bush administration said Saddam Hussein was tied to the terrorist attacks on 9/11, but when asked for quotes to support this claim they cannot provide them. With reporters promoting that straw man fallacy is it any wonder so many Americans are confused?

Reporters are reporting what they think others have implied rather than what others have actually said. Then they scratch their heads and wonder why so many Americans believe them. Sick.

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