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Is FOX News Setting The Stage For Disenfranchising Minorities?

Reported by Ellen - October 1, 2008 -

Hannity & Colmes gave Kenneth Blackwell, of all people, a solo platform to talk about election integrity. It was really an attack against Barack Obama and his (minority) voters in the name of attacking voter fraud. You may recall that FOX News sounded the voter fraud alarm repeatedly in the run-up to the 2004 election, only to drop its interest the moment George W. Bush won re-election. Now, in a close race where minority votes are sure to be a big factor, FOX has suddenly reprised its interest. Hannity & Colmes covered it last night (9/30/08) for the second night in a row. It has also arisen repeatedly on other FNC programs. Yet with all that concern for our election process, there has been no attention paid to the corrollary issues of voter caging, voter-roll purging or electronic vote tampering. With video.

Blackwell's own history on voting issues is riddled with controversy. A Rolling Stone article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. reported that in 2004, while serving as Secretary of State of Ohio,

(Blackwell) used his official powers to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Ohio citizens in Democratic strongholds. In a ruling issued two weeks before the election, a federal judge rebuked Blackwell for seeking to ''accomplish the same result in Ohio in 2004 that occurred in Florida in 2000.” ...In January 2005, (Congressman John) Conyers issued a detailed report that outlined ''massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies in Ohio.'' The problems, the report concludes, were ''caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.''

Conyers told Kennedy, ''Blackwell made Katherine Harris look like a cupcake.''

But none of that highly relevant information about Blackwell was provided to the “We report. You decide” network's viewers.

Sean Hannity, always enthusiastic about smearing minorities, and Blackwell were not just content to scare voters about voter fraud, they made a deliberate attempt to suggest that Barack Obama would be the master organizer based on his former association with ACORN, the community organizing group that Obama was once involved with. ACORN has more than a thousand chapters, some of which have been accused of preparing fraudulent voter registrations in the past. But despite the obvious insinuation on the show, Obama had nothing to do with those instances.

To hype the insinuation, Blackwell said to Hannity, “You paint an interesting and accurate picture of a disturbing pattern of associations.” He brought up Bill Ayers and the now-deceased community organizer Saul Alinsky whom Blackwell accused of hating the United States. If you ask me, there's nothing more un-American than trying to suppress votes. But, unfortunately, there was no balancing guest to call Blackwell on his hypocrisy and Alan Colmes focused on other issues with Blackwell.

Hannity asked, “Are we looking at an effort, with Barack Obama funding, associating with, this radical group, and this court ruling (that Ohio voters can register and early vote on the same day) the potential that there's gonna be an attempt to steal the State of Ohio? ...Interestingly, all the allegations (of voter fraud) come from swing states. I doubt by accident.”

Whenever Hannity accuses someone else of something, it's a good clue that that's what he's about to do, himself.

Given Hannity's close ties to the Republican Party, it's an ominous indication of Republican tactics in the future if Obama wins a close election.

UPDATE: A lot of our readers have posted some excellent research re the results of investigations into ACORN which showed isolated incidents without much impact on the legitimacy of the elections involved. If only the same were true of Blackwell's efforts.