This column by ACRU Policy Board member J. Christian Adams was published August 28, 2017 by PJ Media.
Comic delight follows when you are attacked by NBC in a story written by a former fact checker for Rolling Stone.
That’s what reporter Jane C. Timm did when she wrote a fact-optional attack on President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission, and me in particular. Timm’s piece is a case study in how rabid anti-Trump interests are undermining the priorities of the electorate that won President Trump the White House.
Timm’s attack on the Election Integrity Commission also serves as a nifty example of the furtive assembly line that produces these anti-Trump attacks: Funding by extremist foundations, harvesting of raw materials by far-left special interest groups, packaging and pushing of talking points, and finally the publication by lapdog reporters who dislike President Trump and long for a Democrat in the White House.
“Resisting” isn’t done in a day. It takes time and money and paid staff.
The best resisting always starts with a headline designed to incite. In Timm’s case:
“Sparking outrage” is a popular theme. Anyone who disagrees with media elites is liable to “spark outrage,” with a bit of elbow grease by reporters. Outrage is the currency of the resist movement. Best of all, it doesn’t take much sparking, or much outrage, to a headline make, and often the reporters themselves make the sparks. If the reporters don’t spark the outrage, they can rely on a variety of special interest groups to deliver the sparked outrage in heaps.
Note the counterpart headline above, as Timm’s reporting has also sparked outrage, as we will see below.
Timm’s beef is that my organization, the Public Interest Legal Foundation, discovered that Virginia had removed serious numbers of registered voters for citizenship defects and have brought federal lawsuits to force the cleanup of corrupted voter rolls. Timm offends all of the other hardworking lawyers at PILF, and other organizations, working on the same issues when she calls me a “one man wrecking ball.”
Timm gets it wrong when she writes:
Working with the nonprofit American Civil Rights Union, Adams filed his first voter roll maintenance lawsuits in the spring of 2013.
The former fact checker needs a fact checker. My first voter roll maintenance cases were filed with Judicial Watch, not the ACRU, and against Ohio. They were filed in 2012, not 2013. I sought comments from Timm about her errors prior to the publication of this story. She did not reply.
“The report that Timm wrote is one of the most unfair and dishonest news reports I have ever read,” Hans von Spakovsky (a fellow commission member) told me in a phone interview. Outrage sparked.
Robert Popper was also mentioned in Timm’s story — without attributed quotes — for the shocking proposition that the priorities of the commission members might also be the priorities of the commission. The scandal!
The problem is that Popper spoke to her at length, yet she never used a single quote from that long interview. How could she? Popper defended the work of the commission and the process of cleaning voter rolls. Timm couldn’t abide using any of Popper’s actual quotes because they wouldn’t fit her purposes. Instead, she used Popper’s assertion that the work of the commission could well reflect the priorities of the commissioners.
Outrage sparked, again.
This is how NBC and reporters like Timm play in their efforts against Trump. They spark their own outrage. They are part of an industry devoted to sparking outrage.
Timm’s outrage was directed at the fact that election officials in Virginia have screwed up list maintenance of voter rolls, as others have nationwide. Except Timm’s packaged outrage wasn’t aimed at election officials — it was aimed at me.
For starters, Virginia registered large numbers of aliens to vote. But Timm wasn’t so concerned about that felonious screw-up: Timm never followed up on the aliens who were registered and casting ballots, as we discovered. That story isn’t so popular at Rolling Stone or in the NBC newsroom.
Timm was focused instead on the fact that Virginia election officials made two other serious mistakes. First, they removed some citizens from the rolls as non-citizens. But Timm even got this story wrong.
She writes at NBC:
PILF supposedly had uncovered an “astonishing” example of fraud in Virginia: Maureen Erickson, with an address in Guatemala, was registered in Prince William County.
The problem was that Erickson was a citizen missionary and should have never been removed from the rolls by election officials in the first place. Reporters and activist academics (more on the latter another day) have been almost gleeful that we reported people like Erickson were removed from the rolls — except we weren’t. Removing citizens from the rolls as non-citizens is a colossal screwup by Virginia election officials. That’s why the report by PILF calls it “appalling.” Further, PILF characterized the improper removal as:
[O]ne astonishing example of bureaucratic indifference — deliberate or otherwise.
No aliens should be on the rolls and voting, and no citizens should be removed as aliens. The rolls should be accurate — and it isn’t hard to accomplish this. But Timm instead ascribes the government’s appalling screwup as if it were the gleeful product of election integrity advocates.
For too long, people like Timm and other special interests have been dedicated to doing nothing to keep voter rolls clean. If you’ve been reading PJ Media over the years, you know we’ve named names of those responsible.
Timm next sparked outrage by complaining that PILF published private information — except it didn’t.
Once again, election officials screwed up and published Social Security numbers of removed registrants. The same election officials told us that all private information that had to be redacted was in fact redacted. It wasn’t:
When PILF learned that election officials screwed up and published unredacted private information, PILF’s version of the government-provided documents immediately went dark until election officials could fix the problem they themselves caused.
Naturally, this whole truth didn’t appear in Timm’s story. That wouldn’t spark enough outrage.
Finally, Timm refers to my use of the term “flat-earthers.” I’ve called those who oppose the election integrity commission examining voter fraud as “flat-earthers” on Fox News. Those who actively oppose the search for the truth are the modern version of flat-earthers. Wrongly, Timm ascribes my use of the term to anyone who thinks there is no voter fraud.
This might seem like a small distinction, but reporter bias plays in the fields of small distinctions.
Even here, Timm is reckless in her writing. I precisely call those who think there is no voter fraud “voter fraud deniers.” But it serves Timm’s purpose to ascribe the term flat-earthers to a larger group of people who deny voter fraud, rather than those opposed to seeking facts about voter fraud.
Timm’s online resume says she was raised on a horse farm, lives in Brooklyn, and was a fact-checker for Rolling Stone.
Yes, Rolling Stone. You read that right. Stop laughing.
Andrew Breitbart once told me he aimed to destroy the mainstream media first by exposing it as a wholly owned subsidiary of the political left, and then by replacing it. The election of Donald Trump was due in large part to the success of the first half of Andrew’s wish, and that’s what they hate so much.
A president was elected who delegitimizes them with glee. They are trying to return the favor.
Instead, they should rejoice in the disdain for them expressed by Trump and mainstream America. It frees reporters like Timm to be who they really are: fact-optional partisans who write for legacy media. Timm’s social media feed makes no secret of her enthusiasm for the Obama presidency, from parties to fawning comments about Obama. Bias is one of the most important qualifications to work at NBC.
The Washington Post now has a reporter, Robert O’Harrow, sparking more outrage about the president’s Election Integrity Commission. This sparked outrage should be even more fun, because it is premised on the false and defamatory idea that efforts to keep voter rolls clean is the second coming of Jim Crow. Stay tuned.