Accuracy in Media

On Tuesday, MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts was discussing with Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) about the proliferation of voter ID laws across the country and the effect it was having on preventing fraud, when he took it upon himself to frame the debate by asking her a loaded question:

One issue impacting minority voters is voter ID – early voting restrictions. In your home state, a federal appeals court tossed out a voter ID law last week saying that it was an ‘unforgiving burden on the poor.’ Governor Rick Perry though responded saying, ‘chalk up another victory for fraud. With 19 states now involved in this fight, why does the Republican Party – the party of smaller government and less taxes – want to institute more red tape and basically a poll tax on Americans to vote?

Rep. Lee pounced on that question by telling Roberts that the question was “enormously astute,” saying that “the extremists in the Republican Party have exaggerated the issue of fraud” and that the voter ID laws “will literally take votes from every American.”

Robert’s question, though, was both inaccurate and outrageous.

Logan Churchwell, Public Relations Director of True the Vote, issued the following statement when asked for a comment on Roberts’ question:

It’s sad to see NBC News’ willingness to spread misinformation on US Supreme Court precedent and the execution of federal election law. Labeling enhanced election integrity measures as poll taxes only speaks to the desperation between professional fraud deniers and their media. Current Washington Post polling indicates that 74 percent of Americans demand photo voter ID. As that figure continues to grow, expect activists to continue their misguided labeling of sound public policy.

Poll taxes are unconstitutional and the voter ID laws that are on the books in 32 states, clearly pass muster. Also, in his role as an anchor, Roberts is supposed to be an objective journalist—even though he works for MSNBC—and had no business inserting the poll tax issue into the question. That just makes Roberts look like another partisan hack.

Roberts also conveniently neglected to bring up the fact that in both Georgia and Indiana, which have had voter ID laws on the books since 2006, minority turnout has increased. Plus, if these laws were meant to suppress the minority vote, how did Obama win Indiana in 2008?

Democrats and liberals complain that there has been very little evidence of vote fraud, which is not true. But in my opinion, one fraudulently cast vote is one too many.

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