Beyond "conspiracy theories," election irregularities get scant media attention
November 12, 2004
On November 9, the Los Angeles Times reported a voting irregularity during the November 2 presidential election in Youngstown, Ohio, where equipment initially recorded a negative 25 million votes for one precinct. In the 24 hours following the story's appearance, only one television news show -- MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann -- mentioned the incident.
Though articles about the prevalence of Internet-based "conspiracy theories" regarding voting irregularities have appeared in several major newspapers -- including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe -- these articles focused on general speculation about voter fraud rather than on the voting irregularities that actually occurred. Media Matters for America previously noted the failure of most television and cable news networks to report on the glitch in one suburban Ohio town's electronic voting system that resulted in 3,893 extra votes for President George W. Bush; the three media outlets cited above did cite that glitch as an incident that has fueled speculation about vote fraud, but each ignored the negative-25-million-vote episode and other irregularities.
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