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Campaign Ad for Ken Blackwell Disguised as News Segment

Reported by Janie - June 21, 2006

As Political Correspondent Carl Cameron has done in past election cycles, he is currently traveling the country filing reports on various races for seats in the 2006 elections. Also as in the past, most of these segments are heavily biased towards the Republican candidate, and last night's (6/20) segment during "Special Report with Brit Hume" on the Ohio Gubernatorial race was no exception as Cameron declared "[Ken] Blackwell...has never been implicated in any wrong doing," despite substantial evidence to the contrary.

Cameron began, "Target Ohio, where roles in the gubernatorial contest may seem reversed. The African-American, a former big city mayor and Housing and Urban Development official, is the Republican candidate.

And the pro-gun, Methodist minister? A six-term Congressman from a largely rural and conservative district is the Democrat."

Ted Strickland (clip from campaign stump): "If you're tired of the corruption, if you're tired of the incompetence, if you're tired of the incidents of criminal behavior, if you're tired of the corrupt and incompetent leadership in Ohio, then it's time for a change!"

CC: "Democrat Ted Strickland attacked Republican Secretary of State Ken Blackwell for corruption and bribery scandals in Washington as well as in Ohio, where several investigations are under way and the term limited GOP Governor, Bob Taft has already been convicted of misdemeanor ethics violations. Blackwell, who would become only the second black governor in history, and first black Republican governor ever, has never been implicated in any wrong doing."

Comment: According to Dictionary.com, the definition of "implicated" is "To involve or connect intimately or incriminatingly", therefore Cameron is telling a bold-face lie, as Blackwell has been implicated in a number of scandals.

1. "...on January 16, 2006, a group of 31 pastors, led by Rev. Eric Williams, wrote a 13 page letter to the IRS alleging that Blackwell has enjoyed "special treatment" by two Ohio "mega-churches," World Harvest Church and Fairfield Christian Church. In the letter, the pastors accuse the two organizations of sponsoring at least nine events with Blackwell as the sole invited politician, "partisan voter-registration drives," and distribution of biased voting guides."

2. "Blackwell came under fire when on September 7 2004 his office directed Ohio's county election boards to strictly enforce a rule requiring voter registration forms be printed on 80-lb paper. Any form printed on lighter paper, such as newsprint or typing paper, would be considered an application for a new registration form, to be returned to sender to fill out again and resubmit. Many of Ohio's official forms were printed on lighter stock. Democrats alleged the rule had never been enforced, was outdated in the era of computerization, and would disenfranchise citizens unable to resubmit forms by the October 4th deadline. On September 28 Blackwell revoked the directive."

3. "Various individuals and advocacy groups have accused Blackwell of state-wide voter suppression in Ohio, including:

- Failure to process voter registrations
- Uneven voting machine allocation
- Arbitrary and unreasonable exclusionary procedures in provisional ballot counting"

4. "On March 1, 2006 Blackwell's office accidentally published a list of 1.2 million Social Security numbers of Ohio citizens on a website along with their business filings...The data was a part of a centralized voter database, which is required by Federal law. At that time, Blackwell promised to only retain the last four digits of the Social Security number in the database to prevent future problems. [47]

However, on April 26, 2006, it was discovered that Blackwell's office had again, accidentally mailed out computer disks containing the names, addresses and Social Security numbers of 7.7 million registered voters in Ohio. [48] The list was intended to be used by political activism groups to contact voters with campaign information."

5. "Ohio State Senator Jeff Jacobson, Republican, asked Blackwell in July, 2003 to disqualify Diebold Election Systems' bid to supply voting machines for the state, after security problems were discovered in its software,[1] but was refused. Blackwell had ordered Diebold touch screen voting machines, reversing an earlier decision by the state to purchase only optical scan voting machines which, unlike the touch screen devices, would leave a "paper trail" for recount purposes. The controversy was inflamed the next month when Walden O'Dell, chief executive of Diebold, sent a fund-raising letter to Ohio Republicans, stating that he was 'committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.'"

6. "On April 4, 2006, the Columbus Dispatch reported that Blackwell 'owned stock [83 shares, down from 178 shares purchased in January 2005] in Diebold, a voting-machine [and ATM] manufacturer, at the same time his office negotiated a deal' with the company."

7. "Green Party candidates who submitted more than twice the legally required number of petition signatures to get on this fall's Ohio ballot are being stonewalled by the state's infamous Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, who has expressed personal contempt for the Greens' gubernatorial candidate, Bob Fitrakis."

Gee, I'd say that's an awful LOT of implications.

The segment continued with an interview with Ken Blackwell conducted by Fox.

Ken Blackwell (clip from Fox interview): "This is not a referendum of Bob Taft, this is not a referendum on George Bush, this is not a referendum on the GOP. This is a contest between Ken Blackwell and Ted Strickland."

CC: "Parts of Ohio's economy are hurting. Record bankruptcies and foreclosures. Blackwell helps to pull hard hit minority voters away from Democrats, a Bible carrying Christian Conservative, he says Strickland after 12 years in Washington has become a typical out of touch liberal."

Comment: "Typical out of touch liberal"? This comment was left with no correction from Cameron, simply repeating the talking point.

KB: "Mr. Strickland will not cut taxes, he has actually been against every major tax cut and he knows nothing about spending restraint."

CC: "Republicans have had the Governor's office for 16 years in Ohio, both parties covet the seat in 2006, for the advantages it affords the party in power when the Presidential campaign rolls around in 2008. Strickland tells Democrats that a vote for him for Governor is a vote for a Democratic President."

TS (clip from campaign stump): "The future of our country is at stake because the eyes of this nation are upon Ohio and they know Ohio is a special place, we are a place that determines who becomes President."

KB: "He's talking about setting the table for Hillary Clinton, I'm talking about running to lead this state as the state's CEO."

Comment: Blackwell's perfect Fox material, he makes sure to include all the favorite talking points while mentioning his apparent distaste for Hillary Clinton, the right's constant scapegoat. This whole segment couldn't have been better scripted if it had been written by Karl Rove himself... which isn't too far-fetched.

Cameron closed: "In what's already one of the most closely watched races in the country, the two Ohio gubernatorial candidates and their parties plan to spend in excess of $50 million in the next 5 months, and outside special interests will add millions on top of that, all for a contest that by most accounts is going to go right down to the wire."

Comment: This was nothing more than a clear campaign ad favoring the Republican Ken Blackwell, being passed off as simply another segment regarding the 2006 election.

Blackwell was obviously interviewed by Fox but Strickland, the Democrat, was only shown at a stump speech and was not interviewed once in this supposed "fair and balanced" segment. Fox did approach Strickland for the piece, who was unable to participate because he was flying to DC for votes. Strickland offered to participate in the interview once back in DC, but Fox declined saying they'd simply use material from his stump speech. The clips were very carefully chosen by Cameron, et al in order to throw softballs to Blackwell which he could easily hit out of the park for the Republican viewers of Fox by doing nothing more than mouthing the greatest hits of Republican talking points.

I guess with Blackwell falling so far behind in the polls, he needs all the good PR he can get!

The final two paragraphs were updated at 2:30 pm EST.

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