The prevailing silence on election fraud 2004 was interrupted June 1
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in his article Was the 2004 Election Stolen? 
He argues clearly and forcefully that the 2004 election was stolen,
basing his analysis and evidence on events and outcomes in the state
Ohio. Had Kerry won the Ohio race, he would be president today.
Hence, the theft of Ohio was the theft of the election.
Kennedy relied on far more than his own record of activism and a name
representing decades of political prominence. The well written and
thoroughly documented article in Rolling Stone Magazine makes a number
of assertions, each backed up with references to evidence linked
the body the article. Kennedy is unambiguous in his claim that the
2004 election was stolen by the Republicans.
This is a remarkable political event. The legitimacy of a sitting
president is being challenged by a socially and politically active
member of America's best known political family. In addition, the
challenger, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is a consistent advocate for a
variety of liberal causes. From promoting greater economic justice to
protection of the global environment, Kennedy has been there for
liberals. Just eleven days after the article appeared, Associated
Press  ran a major story with an even handed discussion of the 2004
election in Ohio and New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Bob Herbert ran a
strongly worded column  supporting Kennedy. How odd it is that
Kennedy's bold assertion and well documented case met with a carping
attack from Salon Magazine, a self styled journal for open minded
My article examines the editorial stance of two national media outlets
on the left that bothered to take a public position on the charge that
the 2004 presidential election was stolen. Salon published a major
attack on Robert F. Kennedy Jr.s charges in their June 3, 2006
Prior to Kennedy's article Mother Jones, an unambiguously leftist
publication, ran an article by liberal journalist Mark Hertsgaard
seemed an attempt to quell the emerging controversy and support the
legitimacy of the Bush election around the time of their
November-December 2005 edition.
The following material will demonstrate the weak, poorly reasoned, and
utterly illogical approach these publications present and circulat in
their names. There is no Rovian conspiracy implied, no financial bonus
or reward suspected, and no personal vendettas imagined. The quality
of the arguments and internal logic of evidence by these journals are
the main concern.
The status of election 2004 is an extremely serious issue. The outcome
shaped a world descending into chaos and an administration so extreme
it stands accused by Al Gore  and former Reagan  officials 
embracing tyranny. When a tightly reasoned and serious piece emerges
from someone of Kennedy's status, the quality of criticism must meet a
certain standard of reason and logic. When that criticism comes from
the left, the quality of arguments and support is even more important.
Kennedy wrote a serious article based upon a compelling set of logical
arguments. The article was supported with ample documentation. What
did he get in response? It's a sad story.
Stolen Election 2004: A Third Rail in American Politics.
Scarcely few public figures have spoken out making claims of a stolen
election scenario for 2004. Some of the fiercest critics of the 2004
election refuse to utter the "s" word, as in stolen election as though
it were outside the realm of possibility. Rep. John Conyers produced
an early report, What Went Wrong in Ohio , with the Democratic
members of the House Judiciary Committee. He has not committed fully
a 2004 stolen election scenario. Senator Barbara Boxer was the lone
vote against certifying the Ohio electors on January 6, 2005. This
created a notable furor. She voted nay on certifying the Ohio
presidential electors as a result of the state's sorry record of voter
suppression in 2004 but stopped short of calling the election
Journalist Greg Palast, NYU professor and author Mark Crispin Miller,
Steven Freeman, PhD, Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman of The Free
Press, plus internet researchers like TruthIsAll have commented
frequently with substantial evidence and great passion. In effect,
they have been forced into a corporate media burka. Even the
supposedly liberal Daily KOS eschews any reference to claims of a
stolen election in 2004 .
Despite the recent AP story and Bob Herbert column previously
referenced, this was a mostly repressed media environment that Kennedy
entered when he published his article in Rolling Stone Magazine.
Counter Attack from the left
Salon Magazine, a struggling online publication, sought a broad
audience after its launch around the time of the de facto coup attempt
against President Clinton. While it featured a few figures from the
right like David Horowitz and Camille Paglia, the thrust of the
editorial content was clearly to the left of center. Salon broke the
story of Henry Hyde's affair with a married woman just as Hyde was
beginning his ponderous march from the House to the Senate for the
impeachment trial. Salon's Eric Boehlert, a consistent producer of
probing analysis , has been a harsh critic of the Bush
Given this, it is surprising to find that since before the 2004
election , Salon has published articles that have the back handed
effect of legitimizing the Bush election and presidency by dismissing
substantive arguments concerning election fraud. Motives are not the
issue here. The net result is the main concern. When questions are
raised about the election, Salon's initial article  attacking
Kennedy provides the Republicans and those accused of theft with an
ideal cover. After all, even Salon Magazine says the election was
legitimate, is the putative response from the media savvy of the
when challenged with the facts of massive voter disenfranchisement and
the unbelievable statistical anomalies surrounding the exit polls and
Although Farhad Manjoo, Salon's Technology and Business staff writer
has produced several articles on problems with voting machines in the
past, lately he is best known for challenging those who claim election
fraud in 2004. In fact, Manjoo went so far as to dismiss a Greg
Palast-BBC expose of Florida Republican voter suppression efforts
before the 2004 election. This is a writer who the right hates to love
Before Manjoo there was Mother Jones
Mother Jones positions itself as representing the left wing of the
American left. The magazine's "roots lie in a commitment to social
justice" and it has a consistent record of probing analysis on Bush
administration disasters, economic disparities, and serious
environmental problems. Recounting Ohio , Was Ohio stolen? You
might not like the answer, by Mark Hertsgaard is the precursor for
Manjoo's recent epistle against the Kennedy article. The article
appeared in the November/December 2005 issue.
The article is a review of three early books claiming a stolen
election: Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election? :
Essential Documents By Bob Fitrakis, Harvey Wasserman, and Steve
Rosenfeld; What Went Wrong in Ohio: The Conyers Report on the 2004
Presidential Election; and Fooled Again : How the Right Stole the
2004 Election & Why They'll Steal the Next One Too (Unless We Stop
Them) By Mark Crispin Miller.
Hertsgaard begins with a stunning assertion to ANYONE who chooses to
read or is familiar with the three publications or the authors: "The
source for much of the skeptics' case is The Free Press, an online
news service based in Columbus." In the article he comments on his low
regard for the general quality of evidence among those who claim
Yet he fails to provide one single shred of evidence, even of the Fox
News kind ("some say"), to support this claim. Think about it.
Congressman John Conyers, D, MI, is the ranking Democrat on the House
Judiciary Committee. He is a veteran of the Nixon impeachment
hearings, the Civil rights movement, and countless other political
battles over his 40 plus year political career. Why and how would he
fall under he spell of The Free Press editor Bob Fitrakis and company?
Miller, a NYU professor, shows no signs of such vulnerability either,
having pursued an independent career as an academic and writer in his
professional life. Did Miller and Conyers accept Fitrakis as their
guru; a veritable sole source of information? They do not indicate
that happened nor has Fitrakis ever made such a claim. Evidence 
shows that the Conyers Ohio hearings actually influenced Fitrakis. We
are left with only Hertsgaard's dangling, unsupported assertion. It is
upon this unfounded assertion that his entire argument rests.
He goes on to characterize Fitrakis, and by association Conyers and
Miller, as "unabashedly left-wing and happy to meld journalism with
activism." To simplify, he implies that they will mislead in order to
make their point. Before he ever considers the evidence offered in any
of the three books, Hertsgaard engages in the cheapest argument of
guilt by false association. This journalistic drive by attack on the
credibility of Conyers, Miller and Fitrakis results in an unintended
but clear consequence for Hertsgaard; the complete demolition of his
credibility as a reviewer of the books or arguments therein.
Given the surrender of any degree of objectivity or even intellectual
honesty by this rhetorical sleight of hand at the outset, the rest of
his article loses credibility. There are three points that warrant
Hertsgaard indicates little, if any knowledge of the considerable
amount of work done on exit polls by Steven Freeman, PhD, Ron Baiman,
PhD and the team at the Election Archive.Org (formerly USCountsVotes)
, and the internet poster TruthIsAll . He also brings forward
the "reluctant Bush responder" argument to explain why the exit polls
showing Kerry a winner were wrong. This had been largely discredited
at the time and pollster John Zogby calls this reasoning
(see footnote 36, ). Hertsgaard then reasons backwards and implies
that a partial recount in New Hampshire, which failed to find fraud,
somehow shows that all the work regarding exit polls is invalid
any support other than his assertion.
The apogee of Hertsgaard's illogic is achieved in his citation of a
lawyer for the Ohio Democratic Party. This is his kill shot, his
moment of Zen when he offers us the dilemma that will cause us to fall
down and worship in his temple of superior understanding:
As for the larger argument that Ohio was stolen, O'Grady says, "That
point of view relies on the assumption that the entire Republican
is conspiratorial and the entire Democratic Party is as dumb as rocks
And I don't buy that."
There is so much obviously wrong with this type of false choice, it is
stretches the mind to uncomfortable limits. The "entire Republican"
party does not have to be "conspiratorial" to advance a tenable fraud
hypothesis regarding Ohio. Nor does the "entire Democratic Party" need
to be "dumb as rocks." The use of this type of over generalization
says much more about Mr. O'Grady's state of mind at the time he
this and the author's weak sense of logic and argumentation than it
does about election fraud. It is a disappointing display of ignorance
to even include this in the discussion of a topic as serious as this.
Manjoo to the Rescue: More Guilt by False Association
Farhad Manjoo shows his hand very early in the response to the Kennedy
article . In the forth paragraph, the twin smoking guns appear:
I scoured his Rolling Stone article for some novel story or statistic
or theory that would prove, finally, that George W. Bush was not the
true victor. But nothing here is new. If you've spent time on
Democratic Underground  or have read Mark Crispin Miller's "Fooled
Again," you're already familiar with everything Kennedy has to say.
Manjoo's scouring is a fool's errand. Proof is the first smoking gun.
This is a transparent ploy that would be apparent to the tens of
thousands of high school debaters who hold each other to higher
standards of reasoning and evidence than the editor of Salon applies.
You cannot prove a claim like Kennedy's without a thorough
investigation. There has been no thorough investigation and beyond any
doubt whatsoever, the author knows that. Therefore, the author is
arguing from a false premise that he knows is false. In the scouring
exercise, it must have been apparent that Kennedy did not claim to
prove that the election was stolen. Kennedy amassed impressive
arguments and evidence and made a judgment, his right and obligation
an involved citizen and political figure. Yet he is faulted by one of
Salon's favorites as claiming to have done something he never claimed
If Manjoo's scouring had been a little more thorough he would have
found the following pertinent history. Conyers went to Ohio to
investigate the election. He had a limited staff under very difficult
circumstances and received no cooperation; either from the Republicans
who run the state of Ohio or major media concerns who sponsored the
exit polls yet refuse to widely release the raw data. While he was
doing this, his counterpart, Congressman Bob Ney of Ohio, was with
fellow Republicans in Washington, DC, readying a veritable Soviet show
trial to demonstrate that the election was legitimate. The results of
the Conyers efforts are published  and available. The results of
Ney's efforts are an embarrassment  Ney's key witness was the head
of a supposedly non partisan voting rights group created just days
before the hearings. The group was headed by the " National Election
Counsel  to Bush-Cheney '04." Apparently Manjoo was too involved
scouring Rolling Stone to notice the larger picture.
The second smoking gun in paragraph four of the Salon article is
Hertsgaardian in its presentation: "If you've spent time on Democratic
Underground or have read Mark Crispin Miller's Fooled Again, you're
already familiar with everything Kennedy has to say." In another
replica of Hertsgaard's rhetoric, the author performs guilt by
association with unsupported assertion maneuver. This equals, perhaps
surpasses Mark Hertsgaard's claim that Fitrakis and Miller were the
sole source for the Conyers committee report on Ohio.
This is truly breath taking. Manjoo has cast aside the all-powerful
Fitrakis and provided new culprits, the users of
DemocraticUnderground.Com and the ubiquitous Mark Crispin Miller. We
have no room but to conclude that either (a) Kennedy independently
concluded what the axis of the blogosphere, DU and Miller discovered,
or worse; (b) he has fallen under the spell of a powerful mind control
unit represented by the professor and political forum.
What is www.DemocraticUnderground.Com? The author has already told us
in paragraph two:
Then there are the legions of activists, academics, bloggers and
who've devoted their post-Nov. 2 lives to unearthing every morsel of
data that might suggest the vote was rigged; their theories, factoids,
and mountains of purportedly conclusive data likely take up several
buildings' worth of hard-drive space in Google's server farms.
Here is the predicate for the association of Kennedy's ideas with
of the internet forum. Legions are not defined. Does the author mean
100, 500, 1000? There is no estimate on the number of election fraud
researchers and activists on Democratic Underground (DU) but 100 would
certainly be pushing the number. There are certainly thousands of
internet users who review the material on election fraud at DU and
elsewhere (and produce such information elsewhere) but Manjoo is
talking about DUers "who've devoted their post-Nov. 2 lives" to this
work; you know - internet addicts who have no life â€“ his implication.
Like Hertsgaard, Manjoo begins by implying severe intellectual
limitations on the part of the leading figure, Kennedy, by claiming
that Kennedy is controlled by those on the margins. There is no
support for this offered at all and certainly no correlation of
evidence cited with either DU or Miller. But then again, Manjoo might
need to be the type of professional who devoted his life to his craft
in order to substantiate his damning but entirely unsupported claim;
then again, he might just be a reluctant research responder.
On the Evidence, More Sorrows for Salon
This article analyzes argumentation and rhetorical styles not specific
factual arguments. That has been handled elsewhere. When Salon's
approach to factual evidence breaches the walls of reason, then it
becomes pertinent. There are two such breaches.
Warren Mitofsky had egg on his face  after his exit polls showing
clear Kerry victory were unintentionally released at critical points
throughout Election Day. He went so far as to issue a final poll the
day after the election which incorporated the actual vote count. Not
surprisingly, Bush won that heat.
Manjoo tries to counter the significant evidence of election fraud
presented by Steven Freeman, PhD, US Counts Votes , and others who
claim the exit poll victory for Kerry was more reliable than the
obviously tainted vote count in Ohio and elsewhere. He resurrects the
"reluctant Bush responder" hypothesis. Bush voters were somehow
ashamed of their votes and didn't reveal them to exit poll workers.
This argument was characterized by polling exert John Zogby as
"preposterous" (see footnote 36 ). In addition, it has been
dismissed by academics  and spreadsheet  wielding internet
bloggers . Nevertheless, he persists.
In one of the saddest displays of feeble argumentation, Manjoo offers
the following as an explanation of the exit polls showing a Kerry
â€¦a political scientist at Bard College, explained to me, the numbers
Kennedy cites fit the theory that Kerry voters were more likely to
respond to pollsters than Bush voters. For instance, in the Bush
strongholds -- where the average completion rate (of exit poll
was 56 percent -- it's possible that only 53 percent of those who
voted for Bush were willing to be polled, while people who voted for
Kerry participated at a higher 59 percent rate. Meanwhile, in the
strongholds, where Mitofsky found a 53 percent average completion
it's possible that Bush voters participated 50 percent of the time,
while Kerry voters were willing to be interviewed 56 percent of the
time. In this scenario, the averages work out to the same ones Kennedy
cited: a 56 percent average response rate in Bush strongholds, and a
percent average response rate in Kerry strongholds. But in both Bush
strongholds and Kerry strongholds, Kerry voters would have been
responding at a higher rate, skewing the poll toward Kerry.
This critical paragraph consists of simple verbal calculations, plus
minus three. There is nothing else there except Manjoo's words
surrounding numbers which conveniently counter the statistical and
mathematical analyses Kennedy cites. This is simply amazing.
Meaningless words and numbers are produced to refute Kennedy's sources
without any basis whatsoever. None. The run on sentences above are
based entirely on the phrase "it's possible." In that case, it's also
possible that the sentence was generated by a trance medium working
Salon who generated exactly what was needed to discredit Kennedy at
moment of inquiry. This is the critic who would have us believe that
Kennedy bases his arguments on nothing more than hyperbole. The author
succeeds in performing a stunning feat of ratiocination, ex nihilo.
There are other problems with sloppy reasoning due to ignoring the
readily available facts. Manjoo relies significantly on former Hoover
Institution and now MIT political scientist Charles Stewart who thinks
Florida and Georgia touch screen voting systems are just terrific
Florida is so confident in its voting system that the state is
restricting local boards  of elections from testing any voting
machines. Georgia, another Stewart favorite, is in election technology
free-fall as a result of a series of problematic elections  and
Then there is Manjoo's dismissal of the significance of an obscure
Democratic candidate for Ohio Supreme Court outpolling Kerry in key
areas. He argues that a similar candidate in 2000 (Democrat running
for Supreme Court) outpolled Gore in a similar manner. The author
failed to note that Gore's 2000 campaign abandoned Ohio in the last
weeks of the campaign and that Resnick outpolling Gore was no surprise
given her two term incumbency, popularity, funding level, and, of
course, the fact that Gore gave up on the state. Sad but true, there
is no hope for Salon. Mighty Manjoo has struck outâ€¦again.
Argumentation 101 from Election Fraud Deniers of the Left
What can we anticipate from election fraud deniers of the left and
others based on the arguments from Salon and Mother Jones?
1) Characterize those who claim 2004 was a stolen as being under the
influence of "loose with the truth" fanatics. Hertsgaard did it in
Mother Jones when he claimed that Congressman Conyers and the other
Democrats who investigated Ohio and Miller were under the influence of
the powerful Bob Fitrakis and The Free Press organization. Manjoo did
the same when he varied the theme and claimed that Kennedy is now
the influence of DemocraticUnderground and Mark Crispin Miller, If we
view Mother Jones and Salon as a composite work, we now have Kennedy
under the sole influence Democratic Underground and Bob Fitrakis since
Hertsgaard established Fitrakis' dominance over Miller. This is
simply beyond the pale.
2) Diminish the value of the exit polls at all costs. (a) Invoke exit
poll leader Warren Mitofsky's  self deprecation strategy. Have you
ever heard of a major researcher suddenly diminishing his own work
at the end of a long career? (b) Also resuscitate discredited
explanations for the exit polls like "reluctant Bush responders" and
offer those up as proof by simply saying "it's possible" that Bush
supporters were reluctant. (c) By all means, do not evaluate or
interview those who have done extensive analysis on the exit polls.
Simply dismiss them as "legions of activists, academics, bloggers and
others who've devoted their post-Nov. 2 lives to unearthing every
morsel of data that might suggest the vote was riggedâ€¦" without
bothering to evaluate or mention their evidence.
3) Offer up your own evidence that ranges from questionable to
incredible. Claim that the popular Ohio Supreme Court incumbent Judge
Resnick's performance in the 2000 election compared to Gore is a valid
comparison to the obscure Judge Connelly's performance compared to
Kerry. Also use soundbites like that from Democratic counsel O'Grady
that simply make no sense at all.
4) And finally, always demand that those making a serious case "prove"
that the election was stolen by simply ignoring that proof is
established through an in depth investigation. Ignore the fact that
there has been no official investigation. But don't demand an
investigation yourself. That would not be prudent.
With friends like Salon and Mother Jones on the left, who needs
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