Open Letter to Election Affirmers/Fake News Subscribers
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- 1 Fake News techniques, Republicans tired of rigged election concerns, Offering the wrong evidence that elections are honest, Interviewing a reporter
- 2 The Washington Post article
Fake News techniques, Republicans tired of rigged election concerns, Offering the wrong evidence that elections are honest, Interviewing a reporter
Saturday, Kari Lake came to Ankeny, Iowa. She is not running for President, or for any Iowa office, nor is she campaigning for any candidate for president or for any Iowa office, yet an email Saturday morning, inviting us to a 5pm rally, was enough to fill an auditorium with 300 or so chairs with a few dozen standing. What drew such a crowd? Could that many Iowans actually care about her court case over her election "loss" for Arizona governor, rife with election irregularities?
Republican "Election Affirmers" really do exist
Can that many Iowans believe she is right - the election was incredibly rigged - even though Republican Party Chair Jeff Kaufman said “election integrity” is “not a burning issue for Iowans” and people only showed up "because they are excited when new faces come to town"? (At least that's what Kaufman said, according to Washington Post reporter Meryl Kornfield's article, Defiant Kari Lake carries election denier banner across Iowa amid divided GOP.)
Kornfield must have looked around for people not standing up and clapping. I didn't see anyone like that, but she managed to spot a few to interview. I don't normally read the Washington Post but she talked to me so I made an exception. [She didn't mention me, which is fine with me.] She got "She's a rabble-rouser" out of Craig Robinson, a Republican political consultant, and quoted former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele: “The party needs to get serious about its future. If it thinks it is going to be competitive, it cannot entertain stupidity and denialism. If it doesn’t want to be competitive, wallow in the mud with Kari Lake.” Ouch! I wonder if Steel, Robinson, and Kaufman really said those things?
Fake News Methods
Even 15 years ago when I was still a favorite target of reporters, I learned that putting quote marks around a statement is no guarantee that anyone said it. How much more now when reporters, without embarrassment, begin an article, "She falsely claimed.... She baselessly insisted... And she warned without evidence...."
When I began reporting in 1989, it was unthinkable for a reporter to openly acknowledge their bias. That was the privilege of editorial writers. Not that reporters were unbiased, but back then they had to lie and say they were unbiased. Impartial. It was "unethical" to put their bias right out in the middle of the room where everyone could see it.
So to make sure readers came away with the correct opinion, the reporter would have to find enemies of her target, and quote them saying her target "falsely claimed/baselessly insisted/warned without evidence" or whatever. Ah, the good 'ol days!
When did this change? I started becoming aware of it when Trumps campaign got serious traction in 2015. By Covid time it was apparently "unethical" to write a story without some version of "the [world renowned] doctor false claimed..." (which was always corroborated by a "fact checker" whose medical expertise consisted of a first aid merit badge when he was a cub scout, for all we can tell.)
I asked Kornfield how long she has been a reporter. She said she began in 2015. Although her LinkedIn profile indicates that must have been on a student newspaper. She graduated with a Journalism degree apparently in January 2019. Anyway, since reporters were loudly stating their bias since her first year as a reporter, that is the only kind of reporting she has known, unless she can remember what it was like when she was in junior high.
How do we "Move On" past rigged elections?
Kornfield asked me what I thought of Lake running for Senate. I noted that Lake said nothing about that at the rally. I had heard rumors, but I answered that running for Senate will not fix the election fraud. Being installed as governor, perhaps after a new election, will. I didn't tell her something I think about: what sense does it make for run for anything, before elections are made honest again? How can any honest person win anything while dishonest election officials are not stopped from rigging elections by the hundreds of thousands of votes, openly?
MoveOn.org is an ultra liberal Soros-funded organization.
The Wrong Evidence
Whether or not Kaufman, Steele, and Robinson really said what Kornfield alleges, I've heard other leading Republicans say stuff like that. When I wrote to Senator Grassley about his refusal to object to election certification on January 6, 2021, his form letter answer said there had been something like 80 court cases about it and Trump's lawyers never once alleged the evidence showed he won. (That answer earned Grassley a primary challenger, who complained about that failure to act in his campaign speeches. I was surprised when Trump endorsed Grassley nonetheless, aborting his challenger's campaign.) Unfortunately Grassley didn't share a link to where I might review for myself what those judges saw and the basis for their rulings. I tried to find such a place and could not.
Grassley's evidence misses the point. No, of course, we can't prove who would have won had the election been honest. That is the point. The fraud was significant enough that no one can prove Biden won, either. Isn't that reason enough to require a new election? Can I get an "election affirmer" to address that?
Among my vivid memories are Gulliani's press conference where several election judges testified how they were excluded from being able to observe the ballot counting. Or workers installing styrofoam sheets over windows so that election monitors driven from the counting room, where they were supposed to be, couldn't even look through the hallway windows. That was 2020. I never heard anyone try to explain how that didn't actually happen. Or how about the testimony of forensics experts proving the Dominion voting machines were going online? In Arizona in 2022 it is apparently undisputed that ballots in Republican-heavy precincts were printed in a way that voting machines wouldn't count them, causing hours-long lines and many walking away without voting. Just one of a long list of irregularities.
There was enough fraud to make videos showing it go "viral". I never found them refuted. but only censored. Does any young person understand the difference? Fellow oldies, do you remember the difference? "Refuting" is where you honestly and accurately acknowledge the evidence and reasoning against you, and then you explain its flaws, and/or disprove it with other evidence.
Censoring evidence of fraud is NOT the way to "prove" it never occurred. Yet "election affirmers" seem to think that is the way to prove it.
I would like to hear these "election affirmers" refute our impression from two years of daily emails about election fraud that blatant election fraud is significant enough to justify reasonable doubt that Kari Lake or Donald Trump actually lost.
Notes on Bias in Kornfield's Article Below
Lead paragraph: Kari “falsely claimed”, “baselessly insisted”, and “warned without evidence”. What expertise does Kornfield have to rule the expert witnesses in dozens of court cases “false”?
3rd paragraph: she is “waging a new campaign without conceding the last one.” “She weighs a run for U.S. Senate”. Trouble is, nothing she has said has indicated any kind of serious consideration. At the Ankeny rally she didn’t mention it at all, and the quote of her responding to a question, below, doesn’t sound like anything more than humoring a reporter’s hypothetical.
5: Trump “continued to make false claims”. Which Lake believes, so Lake stands accused of supporting “false claims”. Again, how do we know they are false? Because Kornfield says so. Although there is a link to an old Washington Post story about how many judges, including Trump appointees, ruled against election fraud lawsuits. What the article doesn’t tell us is if any of the evidence the nation has seen was allowed by any judge to be presented, and if so, what was addressed. The article acknowledges that the reason many judges declined to accept the case was because they thought courts should stay out of elections, which is hardly a finding that the evidence was weak.
8: “she called a reporter ‘brainwashed’.” In other words, Kornfield means, “she called ME ‘brainwashed’!” Certainly if the term means anything at all, it applies to “mainstream” (radical God-denying commie leftist) reporters. Although most of us are far too polite to say so – to a reporter’s face. Behind her back, no problem.
10: 2nd interview, with a critic. Kornfield managed to find probably the only couple in the room who didn’t agree election fraud has to be fixed before being right on issues will matter. They were “former Trump voters now looking for a fresh face”?! What could that mean? An implication that Trump is on the way out?
12: 55% of Republicans “said they felt President Biden’s win was due only to voter fraud”. All she wrote until now made me feel very alone, but now she says I’m with the majority of Republicans. That being so, “Election affirmers” among Republican leadership had better do a better job of refuting us “election deniers”, if they want to remain Republican leaders, wouldn’t you think? “Just forget about it, stop talking about it, and move on” doesn’t seem like a smart thing to say to 55% of the people you want to lead.
And if Kornfield EVER wants to be trusted by more than God-denying reality deniers, she will need to do more than announce who is lying. She will need to address evidence.
14: “election integrity” is “not a burning issue for Iowans”, according to Jeff Kaufman, according to Kornfield. No, of course not. Only a scant 55% believe Biden “won” because of election fraud. Nothing serious about that.
15: Lake is a “rabble rouser”. Kornfield casts this as a strong negative for Lake, but I can imagine that even if the quote is accurate, it is what a political consultant might say of someone they admire. Jeff Kaufman might also be likened to a “rabble rouser”, for his fiery crowd-rousing accusations against Democrats and sometimes against media.
16: Lake is blamed for making other presidential candidates address a “false” problem at the cost of “real” problems. But if 55% of Republicans agree with Lake before Lake even talked about it, won’t the other candidates have to address the problem, Lake or no Lake?
17: “stupidity and denialism”! Anyone who feels that way is going to go through life a lot happier and less frustrated if they will simply address the evidence that concerns over half of Republicans, rather than just call people names.
18: “Trump’s false claims” again.
19: Lake will appeal her case “after it was rejected by an Arizona judge”. Does that seem like an act of desperation, to keep going even “after it was rejected by an Arizona judge”? Of course the judge who dismissed the case was a district judge, the lowest judicial level. It is pretty routine to appeal district judge rulings.
20: “she would consider mounting a campaign”. This is an even weaker show of interest than “she is weighing” a run. “WOULD consider”, future conditional, says she hasn’t begun considering yet.
25: mail-in ballots are indeed the playthings of election cheaters. Iowa has a secure system, I believe, but other states don’t take the precautions we do. Kornfield accuses Republicans of being stupid by giving a glancing blow to a whole new subject without getting reacts from election experts.
The Washington Post article
Here is the actual article that got me going today:
(Summary:) Defiant Kari Lake carries election denier banner across Iowa amid divided GOP As she weighs a Senate run, Lake is traveling the country as one of the most vocal standard-bearers of an animated if wounded movement
By Meryl Kornfield February 12, 2023 at 12:58 p.m. EST
Picture caption: Kari Lake, former Republican candidate for Arizona governor, speaks at a town hall in Ankeny, Iowa, on Saturday. (Rachel Mummey for The Washington Post)
(1) BETTENDORF, Iowa — For two days, Kari Lake traversed this state with a clear message. She falsely claimed the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. She baselessly insisted that votes were rigged against her in her run for Arizona governor last year. And she warned without evidence that future races will be compromised.
(2) “If you lose, lose with dignity. You shake the other person’s hand and walk away,” she told a crowd of approximately 200 at a reception hall on Friday, describing advice from her father on how to gracefully accept defeat. “I didn’t lose, so I’m not doing that.”
(3) Lake, who lost in November by more than 17,000 votes to now-Gov. Katie Hobbs (D), is waging a new campaign without conceding the last one. The former television news anchor is traveling the country as one of the most vocal standard-bearers of an animated if wounded election denialism movement as she weighs a run for U.S. Senate and hears encouragement from some to set her sights on national office.
Judge rules against Kari Lake in bid to overturn Arizona election results
(4) That movement has persisted in some quarters of the Republican Party despite candidates such as Lake experiencing pivotal losses in last year’s midterms after running openly on denying the results of the 2020 election. During a pair of stops Friday and Saturday in Iowa, Lake drew enthusiastic crowds here and in Ankeny. She walked onstage to Lenny Kravitz’s “American Woman.” She shook hands with supporters. She signed autographs. When an audience member here shouted, “Trump VP!,” Lake giggled at the outburst and repeated it. Advertisement
(5) “Trump VP,” Lake said, speaking of the former president, who in his third run for the White House has continued to make false claims about his 2020 election defeat. “I love President Trump. I will do everything in my power to get that man elected.”
(6) Yet not everyone who came to see Lake was keen to hear her rehash past elections, and others in the party have been sharply critical of her rhetoric, seeing her as a part of a Trump-era scourge at the ballot box that cost the GOP winnable races last fall and could doom its chances in 2024. Her trip to this early presidential nominating state underlined tensions in the party between those who want to move away from the cause and others determined to keep it alive.
(7) First interview: a Lake supporter Dwain Swanson, 88, said he has watched Lake’s interviews on Fox News and Newsmax with interest, drawn by her charisma and his belief in her claim — included in a lawsuit rejected by a judge — that hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots did not follow the chain of custody. While he felt she is too inexperienced for the White House, Swanson said he felt she deserved to be Arizona’s governor. “She wasn’t defeated,” he said.
(8) In an interview with The Washington Post, Lake said everyone she met in Iowa agreed with her election claims. When pointed to some people who had raised doubts about election denialism, she called a reporter “brainwashed.”
(9) “Everyone who talked with me in that line said keep fighting,” she said, referring to the hordes of people who queued for selfies with Lake, “because they are stealing elections in Arizona and other states. And because of that, what we want as Americans isn’t happening.”
(10) Second interview: a critic When Rick and Kate Ramza lined up to enter the reception hall where Lake spoke on Friday, they were more interested in hearing what she thought about race and gender issues being taught in schools than they were about past elections. The former Trump voters now looking for a fresh face worried about crime and drugs infiltrating their quiet Iowa town.
(11) “What happened happened,” Rick Ramza said. “Just move on.”
(12) Polling has shown that many Republicans still express doubts about the validity of the 2020 election. Fifty-five percent of Republican-leaning voters said they felt President Biden’s win was due only to voter fraud, while 28 percent said he won fair and square, according to a Monmouth University poll released in mid-December. The same survey showed that 55 percent of Republican voters said someone who accepted Biden as legitimately elected could be considered a good Republican, while 35 percent said such a person could not. A November Marquette Law School poll found that half of Republicans said they were confident that votes were accurately cast and counted in the 2022 election.
(13) Iowa is poised to play an influential role in 2024 as the first-in-the-nation caucus state on the Republican side. Boldfaced names are set to descend on the state in the coming weeks, including former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, who plans to announce Wednesday that she is running for president. Other potential candidates such as Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and former vice president Mike Pence have also scheduled visits.
(14) 3rd interview: negative Jeff Kaufmann, chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, said that “election integrity” is “not a burning issue for Iowans,” yet he heard people asking Lake about it at her stop Friday at a historic confectionery store in eastern Iowa. Kaufmann and other Iowa GOP leaders said their caucus-goers will turn out to events like Lake’s meet-and-greets because they are excited when new faces come to town.
(15) 4th interview: negative “She’s a rabble-rouser,” said Craig Robinson, a Republican political consultant in Des Moines. “I don’t think anyone expects Kari Lake to come in and give a thoughtful speech on foreign policy. She’s going to provide a lot of red meat and get people talking.”
(16) 5th interview: a critic Lake instructed her audiences to ask major Republicans who plan to visit the state in the near future about election security. Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said Lake’s visit is a distraction that Haley, Scott and others will have to respond to, detracting from their discussions about policy.
(17) “The party needs to get serious about its future,” Steele said. “If it thinks it is going to be competitive, it cannot entertain stupidity and denialism. If it doesn’t want to be competitive, wallow in the mud with Kari Lake.”
(18) Yet Lake remains an intriguing political figure to many Republicans. Many of those who turned out to her events chanted Trump’s name and cheered when she echoed his rhetoric. As a candidate last year, Lake ran on Trump’s false claims about 2020 and won his support in the GOP primary. Some said they attended her events because they were curious to hear if she might hint at her next political steps.
(19) Lake has affirmed that she will take a court case accusing election officials of malfeasance as far as it will go after it was rejected by an Arizona judge. Meanwhile, she has been appearing at GOP events across the country and was selected to be a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference’s Ronald Reagan Dinner next month.
(20) Lake said she is supporting Trump for president in 2024. As for the possibility of running for the Senate next year, she has said she would consider mounting a campaign, although she remains focused for now on the court challenge she has filed to dispute her defeat in Arizona last year.
During her events in Iowa, Lake criticized the news media, which she said had not fairly covered her “perfect campaign.” And she mocked strategists who had warned her to stay away from topics such as covid-19, masking and the 2020 election.
“Whatever you do, don’t talk about stolen elections,” she echoed from her conversations with “political types.” “And I said: ‘Well, those are important issues right now. Those are things we’ve got to talk about.’ And so I just took all of those rules, and I threw them in the circular file.”
Lake nodded to her local ties during the trip. She attended high school in Eldridge — near Bettendorf — and went to the University of Iowa, where she studied journalism. At Friday’s event here, some attendees knew her father, a coach and teacher at an area high school.
Picture caption: Lake greets supporters at the town hall in Ankeny. (Rachel Mummey for The Washington Post)
6th interview: a supporter with a criticism Austin Bayliss drove from nearby Washington County to Friday’s event to get a live look at the candidate he had watched in YouTube videos Lake’s campaign posted of her feuding with the press.
(25) “I like a fighter,” said Bayliss, a Trump supporter. But he said he didn’t understand Republicans’ doubts about mail-in voting. He had volunteered with Trump’s campaign in 2016 to register Republicans for mail-in ballots, and had hoped to hear Lake speak about how the party could improve absentee voting. She did not touch on that.
“We’ll need to get used to losing if that’s what we’re doing,” Bayliss said, lamenting GOP efforts to cast doubts about mailed ballots.
7th interview: a supporter Bryon Schneider, a 50-year-old electrician, said he had followed Lake when she announced her run for governor and that he admired her for speaking about closing the U.S.-Mexico border, because he disliked that some undocumented immigrants get construction jobs. If her court case didn’t prevail, he hoped she might run for Senate so his party could take control of Congress.
“What she’s looking for is what we’re looking for,” he said.
Emily Guskin in Washington contributed to this report.
By Meryl Kornfield