Friday, January 27, 2006

"Fooled Again" Book Review: Eye-opening

Robert Koehler reviews Fooled Again: How the Right Stole the 2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One Too by Mark Crispin Miller in The Christian Century: "This is the part of the story that hits home hardest for me and pushes the crisis into 'oh my God' mode: the institutions that are supposed to be protecting us for the most part simply aren't. On one hand we have what Miller calls the 'Christo-fascist right,' a determined army of zealots who have nothing but contempt for secular, pluralistic, tolerant and democratic American society and feel called upon by a higher power to subvert it; on the other hand we have a meek and blandly 'balanced' punditocracy that refuses to stand on principle or seriously challenge the right.

Consider, for example, how prominent members of the media covered the heart-stopping news that Al Gore did indeed win Florida, and hence the presidency, in 2000, according to a recount commissioned by the media themselves. The New York Times, for instance, not only buried the news in paragraph 14 of its November 12, 2001, story headlined 'Study of Disputed Florida Ballots Finds Justices Did Not Cast the Deciding Vote,' but phrased it with such glib dismissiveness ('In a finding rich with irony . . .') that a reader needed several passes through the verbiage to grasp what was being said.

Here's the heart of the New York Times story: 'An approach Mr. Gore and his lawyers rejected as impractical—a statewide recount—could have produced enough votes to tilt the election his way, no matter what standard was chosen to judge voter intent.'

Come again? If Gore had recounted all the votes he would have won? The paper's point of view seems almost extraterrestrial in its indifference to these findings.
Want a good laugh, America? Gore blew it! The Times betrays not the least concern that the voters who cast their ballots for him, not to mention the democratic process itself, are also interested parties, who, according to the apparent rules of this preposterous game, are hostage to the candidate's choice of legal strategies. This story was not written on their behalf."


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