Fox News: Minnesota voting machines rung up ‘phantom’ Dayton votes

We don’t yet know what the Republican Party of Minnesota will find in the document dumps they’re seeking from counties, but one allegation unheard in these parts: “voting machines registered thousands of phantom votes for Dayton.”

That’s what Fox News reported Friday.

A charitable interpretation: Fox News reporter April Girouard garbled Hennepin County’s reporting error Election Night, which temporarily swelled Dayton’s margin.

That didn’t involve voting machines at the polling places, which a reasonable person would think reading the Fox item. And the “phantom votes” were registered for all candidates when a clerk hit “add,” rather than “replace” sending updated totals to the state’s website. (Dayton got more votes in Hennepin County, so his margin increased.)

The tabulation error was fixed in 45 minutes, and the county’s bipartisan canvassing board unanimously approved the numbers a few days later.

A less charitable interpretation is that Fox News is deliberately publishing a less charitable interpretation. Given how Fox News pushed the “ballots in the car” myth — aided by a wink-and-a-nod from Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty — there’s reason to suspect a thumb on the scale. Watch closely to see if this imprecision crosses from website to TV.

Emails to Fox’s newsroom seeking comment were not returned.

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Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Robert Moffitt on 11/15/2010 - 08:34 am.

    Looks more like lazy reporting to me. I found the Wall Street Journal opinion pages continuing to claim that Franken and the democrats “stole” the 2008 election, in spite of all the clear evidence to the contrary, a far greater journalistic sin.

    You don’t have to like the outcome, but you can’t just lie about it.

  2. Submitted by Ray Burns on 11/15/2010 - 08:42 am.

    You know what Mark Twain said: “A lie can go halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on.”

    It’s sad to see what passes for journalism today…

  3. Submitted by Christopher Moseng on 11/15/2010 - 09:09 am.

    Coming soon to a Wall Street Journal editorial near you, maybe stopping first at a GOP press conference, where they cite it as an example of the unanswered questions arising about the election. The phrase “phantom votes for Dayton” will have eternal life as a zombie lie to be repeated at every subsequent election, joining its undead companion, the trunk ballots. And so it goes.

  4. Submitted by tim roman on 11/15/2010 - 09:57 am.

    OF COURSE you can, do, and will lie about it. It’s a machine, a process. Both sides use it if they are well organized, self-aware, and want it enough. It’s nothing new. One side is just much, much, much better at it, though…

  5. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 11/15/2010 - 10:08 am.

    This would be lazy reporting if it came from CNN. From Fox it has to be another deliberate lie, because to Fox and the right wing of the Republican party, gaining power is more important than preserving democracy.

  6. Submitted by Joseph Skar on 11/15/2010 - 10:28 am.

    Is a blog actually reporting or just one persons opinion? This appears to be from a blog. So is the issue that it is not clearly represented as a blog?

  7. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/15/2010 - 11:12 am.

    John Fund, a Wall Street Journal political reporter, has been on the voter fraud beat for years. But Fund hasn’t provided evidence of voter fraud. Mr. Fund’s hair was on fire because of Acorn’s engaging in registration fraud—easy to do, easy to block, and easy to get over-excited about. As Fund points out, nobody actually voted using the ridiculous names supplied by Acorn.

    These things only ever get fixed when the parties are trying to out-skulduggery each other. Since the parties, not the government, used to run these elections, it seems sort of fitting.

  8. Submitted by Patricia Gundersen on 11/15/2010 - 11:28 am.

    I do not understand why anyone watches Fox News. I do not understand why anyone can watch Glen Beck and his comrades. Rather than having a civilized, factual conversation, these snake oil salesmen think shouting outrageous statements makes them believable. Substandard showmanship of lies are aimed at our democractic process. These so called news anchors need to join a travelling carnival, where they belong. Perhaps in protest, people of reason can boycott Fox News sponsors’ products. Watch accurate CNN news if you dare to hear both sides of a story from believable reporters. You won’t be held hostage by theatrical, opinionated, snide remarks.

  9. Submitted by Hal Davis on 11/15/2010 - 12:43 pm.

    “A less charitable interpretation is that Fox News is deliberately publishing a less charitable interpretation.”

    Charitably phrased.

  10. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/15/2010 - 01:16 pm.

    Pat, the media often call it: “Politainment”.

    Which describes tendencies in politics and mass media to “liven up political reports and news coverage using elements from public relations. Of doubtful virtue, declining amounts of content and substance can easily be compensated by giving news stories a sensationalistic twinge.”

  11. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 11/15/2010 - 04:20 pm.

    Mr. Moffitt (#1) Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News, now owns the Wall Street Journal as well, so we may or may not be able any longer to trust all the news they print.

  12. Submitted by David Greene on 11/15/2010 - 04:38 pm.

    Richard, ACORN did not engage in voter registration fraud. That is another lie. What they did is submit all of the registrations they received, which is required under state law. ACORN also indicated that some of those registrations were fraudulent when it submitted them to the state.

  13. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/17/2010 - 06:49 am.

    David Greene, I was using Fund’s own characterizations made in his articles. I personally would characterize Acorn’s voter registration as a bit over zealous and leave it at that. Fund was pushing an agenda and trying to support his claims of voter fraud. In the end he had nothing. Although he still champions the concept of voter fraud and finds it convenient to use Acorn as his scapegoat. I should have done a better job of making that clear.

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