With Georgia’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, Brian Kemp, under harsh scrutiny for his role in erecting barriers for minority voters likely to back his opponent, Democrat Stacey Abrams, Fox News offered more than a safe harbor for Kemp to defend himself. It put forth a dog-whistling smear campaign against Abrams.
Instead of reporting on accusations – backed by evidence and now the subject of a lawsuit – that current Secretary of State Kemp is trying to suppress minority votes via the state’s “exact match” requirement, GOP/Trump TV played the role of oppo research for him. The network seized on a clip of Abrams saying that the “blue wave” includes “those who are documented and undocumented” and explicitly suggested that she wants non-citizens to vote.
It’s the kind of thing a Kemp campaign staffer might have written. It not only helps validate his voter suppression efforts, it smears Abrams, who also happens to be African American, and it could help cast doubt on the outcome's legitimacy if she wins. (The race is considered a toss up.)
In fact, the whole “interview” could have been written by a campaign staffer, it was so blatantly biased and propagandistic.
It began with cohost Steve Doocy, “asking,” “So what do you make of [Abrams] saying the blue wave is comprised of – and you heard the soundbite right there – 'but those who are documented and undocumented.’ What does that mean?”
If Doocy really wanted to know, he would have asked the Abrams campaign. Instead, Doocy's "question" helpfully mapped out Kemp’s opportunity for attack and suggested he expand on it.
Sure enough, Kemp took the bait: “It means she wants illegals to vote in Georgia. I mean, this is a shocking development in the campaign. … Her network of groups actually filed a lawsuit that says the same thing in the lawsuit.”
That is a lie. The lawsuit does not say “illegals” should vote but that newly-minted citizens are facing unfair impediments to voting. Abrams has also specifically stated that she means something much larger than voting, i.e. “a new era of American values,” when she talks about a “blue wave.”
Doocy either knew nothing about the issues or else didn’t want to contradict his GOP buddy. Neither reflect well on him.
So Kemp continued with his lies – which, by the way, were racial dog whistles: “I think hard-working Georgians should decide who the governor is, not people here illegally like my opponent wants,” he said.
Instead of challenging that repeat of a lie, Doocy murmured, “Mmm, hmm” in agreement as Kemp went on to call Abrams a “radical” for advocating a position she did not advocate.
Here’s what Doocy didn’t tell Fox viewers about Kemp. Besides the fact that he has an obvious conflict of interest in serving as secretary of state, i.e. the guy in charge of who gets to vote, Kemp has a history of voter suppression. Rolling Stone explains:
Since becoming secretary of state in 2010, the Republican has closed hundreds of polling places, mostly in rural, minority-rich counties, and purged well over a million “inactive” voters. Many feel the “exact match” policy has no practical purpose other than complicating the process for minorities. “Nearly every other state treats failure to match a database differently than Georgia,” the Campaign Legal Center, one of the groups filing the lawsuit against Kemp, wrote in a statement.
There’s little doubt that Georgia’s 53,000 registration applications currently being held by Kemp disproportionately impact minority voters in the state. As The Washington Post’s Philip Bump notes, “Of the 53,000 applications being held by the secretary of state, 70 percent are for black voters.” Furthermore, it’s a “solution” for which there is not a problem. Despite the ethnic fear mongering going on in this segment, Bump also points out, “Illegal or fraudulent voting … is not by any measure a significant problem in the United States.”
Watch Doocy acts as a Kemp campaign operative below, from the October 15, 2018 Fox & Friends.