Monday, July 09, 2012

 

Star-Advertiser editors snip the meat out of a poor voter ID article


by Larry Geller

Do you have a copy of today’s Star-Advertiser? If so, open it up, I’m going to rant on their choice of the story printed on page A5. The editor’s choice served to keep their readers in the dark about the true issues surrounding the Republican move to put in place restrictive voter ID laws before the November 2012 elections.

There are plenty of articles out there that clearly state the issue with the voter ID laws that many states have or are in the process of putting in place: 18 percent of Hispanics and 25 percent of African Americans don’t have the required form of ID and so lose their right to vote. Since these and other minority groups typically vote Democratic, the laws are clearly designed to tilt the November elections towards the Republicans. One honest Pennsylvania Republican even admitted it:

Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.—Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai

If you have a paper, scan the voter ID story. There’s not much there.

For contrast, here's a snip from this morning’s Democracy Now:

And you look at what the GOP is doing, they’re not only passing these restrictive voting laws, they’re challenging the Voting Rights Act, which is the most important civil rights accomplishment, in many respects, of the 20th century. And so, when these people say that the GOP is trying to fight for civil rights, you have to question, well, why are they doing it in such a way that discriminates against minority voters and undercuts the most important minority voting achievement of the 20th century?

[Democracy Now, Texas, Justice Dept. Square Off over Voter ID Law as Part of Dispute That Could Decide 2012 Election, 7/9/2012]

The Star-Advertiser editors chose a bland AP article to reprint, and cut out a great deal of it, leaving a very poor picture of the situation. For example, they cut out one sentence that illustrates why we should care about the disenfranchised votes:

Remember that the 2000 presidential race was decided by a 537-vote margin in Florida.

This sentence appears in versions of the same article posted elsewhere.

Sure, they had to cut for space.

But the article chosen also fails to mention that the US Justice Department is going after states which have passed the restrictive laws.

From the Democracy Now story:

The Justice Department and the Texas legislature are squaring off in court today over the state’s controversial voter ID law. The law requires voters to show photo identification at the polls, and Texas hopes to implement it before the November election. The DOJ blocked Texas’ voter ID law in March, saying it will disenfranchise at least 600,000 voters — a disproportionate number of which are Latinos and other minority groups. Currently, 16 states have passed restrictive voting laws that have the potential to impact the 2012 election, including vital swing states such as Florida and Pennsylvania.

More:

Hispanics are anywhere from 46 to 120 percent more likely to not have IDs than white voters. It’s also much more difficult for them to get IDs, because they’re more likely to live in counties without DMV offices. They’re less likely to have a car to get to a DMV.

And of course they may have to give up a day’s work to make that trek to a DMV office.

That tells us what the whole thing is about, doesn’t it? It sets the context missing from the AP story chosen by the S-A editors. Ho-hum turns into how dare they??

A more complete version of the S-A story, restoring the cut material, can be found on the web, for example, here. The longer version is only a bit better.

This is bias by selection. I can only assume that editors understand the context of stories because they read widely and choose what to print. They chose not to implicate Republicans in a vast vote-suppression scheme. They chose not to mention the DOJ intervention, which is hot news.

As a subscriber, I’m disappointed.

[check out the Democracy Now story above. includes video]



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