New York Times Reports Illegal Vote Purge

Greg Palast

The New York Times has uncovered Katherine Harris’ wipe out of thousands of voters … only three years after killing the story exposed by the BBC TV and the Guardian. Here, ‘News Dissector’ Schechter, formerly of ABC’s 20/20, asks how The Times could editorialize on a story they never ran in the first place. And note the Times still can’t bring itself to say that the color of illegally purged voters is … Black.

by Danny Schechter

The New York Times lead editorial Sunday was about “How America Doesn’t Vote.” It featured proposals for many reforms to guarantee Americans the right to vote and to have that vote counted. Its lead paragraph has as its second sentence:

In 2000, the American public saw in Katherine Harris’s massive purge eligible voters in Florida, how easy it is for registered voters to lose their rights by bureaucratic fiat. The editorial goes on to quote the US Civil Rights commission’s findings documenting how people falsely designated as felons were struck from the polls.

When I read this, I called investigative journalist Greg Palast to read it to him. Greg appeared in Counting on Democracy, a film I directed on the voting debacle in Florida. He was the first top journalist to report on the voter fraud, but not in the United States, oh no, but on the BBC in England.

What? he shouted at me on the phone. You must be kidding. He couldn’t believe it because the New York Times refused to carry the story at the time when it might have done some good. It didn’t even report on the Civil Rights Commission’s findings it references in the editorial, only on Republican OBJECTIONS to those findings.

You would think that the MASSIVE PURGE they cite in 2004 might have been news fit to print back in 2000. The Washington Post carried Greg’s article on the subject but not until June 2001. The NATION ran it and followups earlier. CBS News wouldn’t run it, Greg was told by a staffer, because Harris office denied it. Huh?

The whole sorid story of big media response to his findings appears in Palast’s book “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy” and was carried first on Mediachannel.

This is so strange. Remember the heavily hyped media “review” of the balloting? The New York Times was one of the key newspapers in the consortium. The findings were delayed and delayed, and then reported in such a confusing manner that you would need an MIT degree in linguistics to puzzle out what it was saying. An airplane crash that day knocked it out of the news.

Later, the New York Times own investigative reporter who supervised the media review told me on camera and it is in the film that Al Gore won.

Does any of this make sense? A top reporter challenging the main frame of the story as published, and an editorial three plus years later citing, as alarming and as fact, a Massive purge that it never reported or explained. One more thing, Greg noted they are still not making clear that most of those who were purged were black.

And, natch, likely Gore voters. Surprise. Surprise.

Reprinted with permission from MediaChannel.org. To see the BBC-TV report on the purge of Black voters, go to www.GregPalast.com. Go to the left column on the home page to link marked “BBC TV Theft of the Presidency.” Subscribe to Palast’s writings at www.GregPalast.com.