Hacking voting machines is bad – when they’re being used for voting. Attempting to hack voting machines to see whether they can be hacked when used for voting is good, since we then find out whether voting machines can be hacked and accordingly whether the electoral system is safe.
Vice reverses this logic. It agrees that no mechanical voting system is entirely hack-proof. Therefore, no electoral system using machines can be perfectly safe and accurate. But then says that testing voting machines by attempting to hack them is bad.
This is absurd. But it is what Vice says.
The reason they say this is because they’re not actually viewing the point directly – they want only to make a partisan political point. “As a result, the event serves as easy fodder for dis- and malinformation, showing how even well-intentioned experts are being used to prop up the Big Lie.” Since it’s possible to show that electoral machines can be hacked, this means that Trumpists might be able to claim that the election was stolen. Therefore, no one should attempt to test or hack machines because Trumpists must not be allowed to have any good arguments.
“After former President Donald Trump’s defeat in 2020, material from DEFCON is now being used to sow the Big Lie that Trump actually won the election. “
Information is neither good nor bad, it just is. But Vice really is arguing that the information shouldn’t even be sought, because Trump! This is a terrible elevation of partisan politics over actual reporting or journalism.
Vice is an important media outlet these days. Its TV channel reaches 60 million homes, the magazine distributes 900,000 copies, the website gains near 30 million views a month. This is an important source of information for the young.
To investigate whether voting machines can be hacked or not is a useful line of inquiry. For only by such testing can better machines and systems be built. To be against such testing simply because one political group might use such testing as an argument is journalistic absurdity. But that’s the current level of argumentation at Vice – not what’s good or sensible but what’s politically useful.