The River

Friday, November 12, 2004

Mainstream media rife with conspiracy theories

While bloggers perform diligent work of democracy.

Get this. The New York Times is investigating voting anomalies in Florida, where Bush won the state’s 25 electoral votes.

Citizens have noted a "surprising pattern" in Florida's results showing inexplicable gains for President Bush in Democratic counties that used optical-scan voting systems.

But rather than take an interest in examining data, the nation’s paper of record veers wildly into conspiracy territory. They claim that prior to the election, thousands of Democrats colluded in a scheme to re-elect Bush, even going so far as to openly talk with each other about which presidential candidate should get their vote. Then, on Nov. 2, they hatched their plot.

It’s a murky world of pure speculation, but so far the newspaper continues to assert it as a likely explanation.

The paper went on to discredit exit polls, dismissing them out of hand in favor of their conspiracy theory. Even so, exit polls are traditionally accurate in countries all over the world and are regularly used to verify clean elections.

One young NYT reporter bemoaned the depths to which the paper had sunk. “We can’t look at the data. We can’t talk to Bev Harris or Greg Palast kicks our ass regularly. And now we have blogs!”

He threw up his hands in utter despair. “These people at the top here. Man. They are so far out there. They have really drunk the kool-aid. I never thought my own newspaper would sink into crazy theories – even with reality staring it in the face.”

He went on, “I mean, look at this from Tom Zeller Jr.’s piece:

In a breathless cycle of hey-check-this-out, the theories - along with their visual aids - were distributed by e-mail messages containing links to popular Web sites and Web logs, or blogs, where other eager readers diligently passed them along.

“Can you imagine that kind of readership? Enthused about what you produced? Engaged? Thinking about what is happening in the world, not just regurgitating? And they are using visual aids, crunching numbers, seeking, arguing and correcting each other.”

And they are speaking their minds. They’re nothing like these crazies here.

I dunno. It’s just so much more…real.”

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