Ethics Quote Of The Week: Cornell Law Professor William Jacobson

Election 2020

“I don’t blame people for fighting these legal fights. I said all along, and stand by it, that we should let the legal cases play themselves out. There is a strong sense that something went very wrong here; tens of millions of people have that sense. I certainly do.”

—-Prof. William Jacobson, Cornell law prof. and proprietor of the conservative Legal Insurrection blog, in a post yesterday about the 2020 Presidential election; it was titled, “Where things stand at this hour.”

He continued,

The court proceedings and legislative hearings have exposed a lot of problems with the election. Shining a light on the threat of mail-in voting and election practices was a public service, and should serve as a warning for 2022 and 2024.

Professor Jacobson’s thoughtful wrap-up of the 2020 Election Ethics Train Wreck, as it is tagged here at Ethics Alarms, should be read by both critics of the election and critics of the challenges to it, because he is eminently reasonable, and most of the hyperventilation on both sides of the political divide on the matter has not been. “The strong sense that something went very wrong here” is an accurate and fair assessment, and echoes the early posts on the election here that emphasized the appearance of impropriety. There was more in both the lead-up and the actual execution of this Presidential election to legitimately create the appearance of impropriety to objective observers than any U.S. election in at least 60 years. Even anti-Trump fanatics and the most committed Democrats and progressives ought to concede that. They have not, and that also adds to the appearance of impropriety, or in a single word, suspicion.

The professor also points out some things in his analysis that need to be understood, like…

What happened in Wisconsin…“the 2020 presidential election was lost months ago. Liberal Jill Karofsky defeated conservative sitting Justice Daniel Kelly in an April 2020 election the Wisconsin Republicans completely botched by allowing it to take place the same date as the Democratic presidential primary. Guess who turned out to vote? Democrats. That took the court down to a nominal 4-3 conservative majority, with Justice Brian Hagedorn the weak conservative link…Karofsky was known to be on the extreme end of the spectrum, and she demonstrated it during the oral argument, with obviously planned pronouncements from the bench that the challenges were racist, and that Trump was acting like a king. It was the most abysmal display I’ve ever seen in an appellate court oral argument. Karofsky has just started her 10-year term in office.”

Accountability...”In many other states, legal and political battles were fought strategically by Democrats over the several months leading up to the election. Democrats organized for a mail-in election, Republicans didn’t. Republicans were out-organized, out-hustled, and out-lawyered.”

Why the state challenges were futile...”As I cautioned many times, no court was going to disallow thousands (and in some cases millions, such as PA) of votes which technically may have been unlawful, but were cast by people who thought they were voting lawfully and who were following the procedures of election authorities. That was a reality check that not enough people offered. In his opinion, Justice Hagedorn wrote of a challenge to the form of voter application:

“Waiting until after an election to challenge the sufficiency of a form application in use statewide for at least a decade is plainly unreasonable.”

Technical arguments, while possibly legally correct, were not going to, and did not, persuade a majority of any appellate court to grant the relief sought.”

Trump’s over-promising lawyers…“Also, let’s face it, there were many high-profile lawyers who didn’t deliver on their promises of definitive proof. Broad conspiracy theories which might be true were not proof. Even Trump-appointed federal judges could not be convinced.”

Read the whole essay. Toward the end, he writes, correctly,

“The merging of the Democratic Party and the high tech oligarchs who control the flow of information is one of the most serious threats non-liberals have faced politically. They will hit the ground running. Will we?”

In truth, it’s among the most serious threats democracy itself has faced in this country.

48 thoughts on “Ethics Quote Of The Week: Cornell Law Professor William Jacobson

  1. A better quote is Biden’s campaign runner saying GOP people are a bunch of fuckers practically in the same breath as calling for unity. My response would be, “mmhmm, how about 9 millimeters of unity?”

  2. Well, at least there is some argument to be made that Republicans blew it and allowed themselves to be out maneuvered at every stage. That, though, may not help this case in Houston’s 142nd State Congressional District. Nope. Here is a link to the story – you have slog through horrible writing to understand what happened:

    https://www.khou.com/article/news/crime/election-fraud-indictments-texas-state-house-races/285-7c3f8a2d-6767-4160-b99e-e2920d73bacc

    Apparently, it is against the law (in Texas, anyway) to run a fictitious candidate for political office, even if that candidate gets 20% of the primary vote. See, two idiots decided it would be a good idea to run a candidate named “Natasha Ruiz” to run against a sitting Texas Congressman Rep. Harold Dutton (he has that title – I wonder if he earned it), who has held the seat for something 600 years. If you read the linked article, two idio . . . I mean political operatives, by the names of Richard Bonton and Natasha Demming conspired to unseat incumbent Dutton.

    Dutton already faced a formidable challenger in Houston City Council Member Jerry Davis, who had fought a valiant fight to unseat Dutton. So, Bonton and Demming figured they would help Davis by preparing a candidate application, signed by Demming using the stage name “Natasha Ruiz”, filed the candidate application on the last date to qualify for the Democrat primary and paid the $750 filing fee. Off they went to the primaries. Bonton thought that Demming nee Ruiz would curry favor with Latinos in the district. The linked article tells us Demming isn’t Latino (Latinx?),, as if that is a crucial part of the story. If Demming had Hispanic heritage, then all would be fine . . . I guess.

    Dutton, Davis, and Ruiz campaigned hard. Davis is a popular fellow on City Council and a complete moron. Dutton, though, is a fool. Dutton demonstrated his fine political acumen by declaring that he suspected something fishy was going on back in March and hired a private investigator. Got that? The primary was on March 3, 2020, but he got around to figuring out there was trickery afoot AFTER the primary. Brightest bulb in the pack? “The more and more I’ve gotten into this, the more and more it sounds like something criminal went on, which bothers me a little bit,” [Dutton] told The Texas Tribune. “That would affect the whole Democratic process in some respects — and that just shouldn’t happen.” As it turned out, Bonton and Demming were correct because the Ghost of Natasha Ruiz garnered 20% of the Hispanic vote, forcing a runoff between and betwixt Dutton and Davis.

    Now, think about the levels of idiocy involved in this story:

    1. Bonton and Demming filled out and filed a candidate application for a Democratic congressional primary, and paid the filing fee.
    2. The Democratic Party accepted the application and placed Ruiz’s name on the ballot for the primary without doing any kind of investigation. Their excuse: Well, it was a hectic day and, gosh, we were just too damn busy at the time to investigate the application.
    3. TWENTY PERCENT of Democratic primary voters in that district voted for a candidate solely on the strength of her last name.
    4. The local news media never investigated, never questioned who the candidate was, even though the race generated a lot of local attention because Dutton has been around for, what?, 600 years? and Davis is a popular guy in the area.
    5. The election commission never investigated either.
    6. Our local DA, Kim Ogg, declared that there is a difference between dirty tricks and outright fraud. Hmmm . . . Really, Kim? Stuffing ballot boxes with fictitious mail-in ballots is just fine but running a fictitious candidate is beyond the pale? Got it.

    Yep. What did Franklin say about the kind of government we have?

    jvb

      • Fascinating story of local politics, jvb – thanks for sharing.

        For my part in this “new world,” I tried to be a good Boy Scout (which I never was – never even wore the uniform, but nevertheless worked a military career). I went to the local rail head, to pick out which boxcar I want to ride in to the gulag. I hope I can get a reservation…

    • See also https://edition.cnn.com/2020/11/23/politics/florida-dark-money-mystery-invs/index.html

      A month before Election Day in Florida a mysterious company called Proclivity, Inc. contributed $550,000 to a pair of newly formed political action committees in the state.

      Two days later, the money flowed from the PACs to an Orlando-area print and advertising firm.

      Shortly thereafter, came a torrent of nearly identical political fliers seemingly intended to siphon away support from Democratic candidates by tricking voters into casting their ballots for purported spoiler candidates who demonstrated no real interest in getting elected. None, for example, engaged in typical campaigning activities or raised significant funds.

      In one case, the mailers appear to have helped a Republican—a co-founder of Latinas For Trump—unseat the Democratic incumbent in a state Senate race by a razor-thin margin of just 32 votes.

      Also:
      “But there was a third candidate in this race, playing the role of spoiler: Alex Rodriguez, who shared the same last name as the Democrat in the race and promoted himself as a liberal. Alex Rodriguez got more than 6,000 votes.

      Jose Javier Rodriguez said the straw candidate cost him his seat by pulling away Democrat votes.

      “I didn’t even know what he looked like, until after the race, and investigative reporters tracked him down,” he said.

      In State Senate District 9, Democrat Patricia Sigman lost to a Republican by just 2 percent of the vote. No one ever saw the supposedly liberal, third candidate.”

      At least these candidates exist, even if they are all registered Republicans pretending to be Democrats.

  3. Jack said, quoting Prof. Jacobson:

    Technical arguments, while possibly legally correct, were not going to, and did not, persuade a majority of any appellate court to grant the relief sought.

    This is the crux of the biscuit. When combined with the fact that the Republican’s effort to challenge the mail-in balloting pre-election was anemic, disjointed, post-facto and ineffective, the idea that any court, even with a massive, dispositive showing of fraud, was going to remedy that fraud by even potentially invalidating even small numbers of lawfully-cast votes is frankly absurd. No court is going to cancel an entire state’s lawfully-cast votes because some of them, even an amount sufficient to change the outcome, were fraudulent. Further, no court is going to disqualify even unlawful votes at all unless they can be conclusively identified to a very high degree of certainty. This, despite the sad state of affairs, is a very good thing for our republic.

    The fact of the matter is, our constitution requirement of a secret ballot make retroactive court action effectively impossible except in very isolated local cases involving small numbers of votes. So the Republican strategy of challenging the election on the basis of fraud was always going to fail, and the fact that they thought it would succeed says more about them than the rulings of the various courts that have rejected them. I have been saying this from day one.

    So as Leader McConnell suggested, it’s time to deal with the reality of President Biden, and stop living in hope.

  4. It is striking to see the parallels between Trump’s reception and Biden’s–both with slippery cries of “illegitimacy.” Some saw Trump as being an illegitimate president the way George Lazenby is an illegitimate 007–that is, contrary to what was seen as the proper style and tradition; others viewed an Electoral College victory with a popular vote loss as philosophically illegitimate. These are both distinct from legal claims of illegitimacy, but the blurriness of the very term “illegitimate” meant, to Trump supporters and detractors, that the movement against the president could be called anything you like, from civilized disagreement to treason.

    Jacobson’s posting has the same slipperiness. Inept legal claims against Biden’s legitimacy as president are laid next to more philosophical claims–the media is against Trump, so Biden won unfairly–and then all put under a vague umbrella that lots of people think something’s wrong.

    This is nothing new–certainly both Obama and W, for instance, had opposition that fought not just the president’s ideas and policies but their legitimacy. But the increasing imprecision, the ease with which one can slide comfortably from “The pandemic was used to portray Trump as inept” to “The election was stolen and ought to be overturned,” is likely to become more and more troublesome.

    • dingdingdingding!

      Ethics foul. Comparing what President Trump endured with Bush, Obama or Clinton is either dishonest or ignorant. There is no comparison. Nothing close. You disqualify tour comment for resorting to such self-evident falsehood.

      • I said that the slipperiness of the language of opposition was parallel, not that each President has received the same amount of oppositional fury.

        Furthermore, I would respectfully submit that “dingdingdingding!” looks more like the sound of a winning bell than an announcement of a foul, for which I’d suggest “buzzzz” or “mehhhh.”

    • Jacobson’s posting has the same slipperiness.

      Heh. This is the pat description of an argument that you can’t refute, but desperately want to.

      This is nothing new–certainly both Obama and W, for instance, had opposition that fought not just the president’s ideas and policies but their legitimacy. But the increasing imprecision, the ease with which one can slide comfortably from “The pandemic was used to portray Trump as inept” to “The election was stolen and ought to be overturned,” is likely to become more and more troublesome.

      Well, let’s see:

      1. The pandemic transparently was used by the media and Democrats to portray Trump as inept. Now, we may disagree as to whether or not he actually was inept, and we can spend all day comparing his response to Obamas during the swine flu pandemic and who’s was better. But all that is irrelevant. The point is, the media and Democrats portrayed Trump as inept, and gave him no credit at any point for any successful part of the process.

      2. Regarding the election, no rational person believes the election can be “overturned,” whether it ought to be or not. Anyone who doesn’t understand that no court would disqualify even a fraudulent ballot unless its nature can be conclusively proven, never mind the votes of an entire state or even district, is just uninformed. The noise you hear is simply the noise of frustration. Remember when the Democrats tried to convince the Electoral College to change their votes in order to “save the country?”

      3. Both parties have their share of numbskulls, loudmouths, and idiots without discernible redeeming qualities. They are a fact of life. Many Americans on both sides are ignorant of what can be done by the courts and the government, have no real idea how the government actually works, and ascribe to them powers they situationally wish to give them. Again, a fact of life.

      4. I’m not even going to compare the actions of the Democrats after the 2016 election with what the Republicans have done, at least so far. There is no comparison. The Democrat party concocted from whole cloth a false, fake, and in all ways illegitimate story about Trump as a Russian agent, asset, or traitorous, maleficent boob — you pays your money, you picks your epithet.

      They then proceeded to pursue this false conspiracy theory with virtually their entire leadership, with total support by the vast majority of media operations in America and elsewhere, asserting it as factual and a legitimate grounds for the impeachment and removal of the president even after the investigation they spent years nurturing and supporting proved conclusively it was false. The Democrats tried to shore up this theory by illegally co-opting our intelligence apparatus, planting Democratic operatives in the Trump administration to claim criminal acts before their committees, had a sympathetic FBI Director and Deputy Director fired in deserved disgrace, and convincing a sympathetic lawyer to actually commit a federal crime in order to justify a clearly lawless warrant to spy on a Trump supporter. They continued insisting on Trump’s illegitimacy despite all this finally being revealed right up until now.

      It remains to be seen if the Republicans will try such a lawless and overtly evil assault on our constitution, but my money is on the “against.” But quite honestly, if they produce a similar haranguing of the Biden administration, it will be because the Democrats’ own tactics have been raised against them in retribution. Unilateral disarmament is not a victory strategy, and tit-for-tat is alive and well as a political weapon.

      Finally, what is troubling, at least to me, is that we can have an election where there is a legitimate if unproven (and likely unprovable) taint of fraud in the second decade of the 21st century.

      • Once again, I noted the parallels in language, not anything about either party’s oppositional efforts. It would be ridiculous to compare opposition to Trump to opposition to Biden in any other terms, given that Biden has not even taken office yet. But certainly, from self-appointed alternate Electoral voters in Arizona to the president’s direct call for the election to be overturned, the effects of such slipperiness are already showing. The effects of Democratic efforts to unseat Trump have been toxic. Continuing toxicity is not a good idea.

        • Let us examine the Democrats’ toxicity.

          http://mtracey.medium.com/the-most-predictable-election-fraud-backlash-ever-4187ba31d430

          Of course what happened subsequently was that even years after Trump had safely taken power, the corporate media’s top luminaries continuously used the phrase “hacked the election” to describe the purported actions of Russia on behalf of Trump in 2016. Supermajorities of Democratic voters came to believe not just that Russia “interfered” in the election, but directly installed Trump into power by tampering with voting machines. Now, though, journalists who fostered these blinkered beliefs will feign incredulity that their conduct could have contributed to widespread “doubt” as to the “legitimacy” of that election. And they’ll be aghast at any suggestion that this was inevitably going to generate yet another crazed anti-legitimization initiative in 2020.

          Chuck Todd, Chris Cilliza, and Adam Schiff spread this myth.

          Toxicity is what they, and those like them, to quote the film Joker, what they “fucking deserve”!

  5. How does one challenge a decision involving an election form until you have been harmed?

    If the GOP got outlawyered before the election why did the judicial branch intervene initially when they have no Constitutional power to affect the manner of elections?

    • That is the Catch-22, ¿no? If you sue claiming the local authorities are violating the constitutions the court can throw it out on the theory that the claim in not ripe and, therefore, does not provide a justifiable issue. If you wait until after the election to challenge the rules, then the courts can throw out your arguments as moot or too late (laches). What’s a fellow to do? Run a Ghost Candidate? Maybe ol’ Bonton and Demming weren’t so dumb after all.

      jvb

    • Well, you can raise it as a likelihood of irreparable harm, which courts can adjudicate. Also, if it is raised before it happens, is dismissed and then does, in fact happen, it preserves the issue for appeal.

      Unfortunately, the remedy is the problem. If the relief is not granted in advance, then the remedy after the fact is almost certain to be insufficient.

      • So this issue is not being outlawyered but having a system that facilitates election fraud.

        A very simple remedy to prevent this from happening is that before any vote is allocated to any candidate the universe of all votes cast must be certified and no ballots can be counted after the certification of the universe. Then before the count is made public or disseminated the election judges for each state release precinct data all at the same time. To eliminate an appearance of impropriety we can no longer allow population centers to provide their data after other areas of the state have submitted theirs.

  6. I like to think that I’m well-informed about some topics, but I’m honestly confused by some of the dismissals seen among the post-election lawsuits. Some courts have apparently dismissed cases because they were predicated on improper procedures adopted prior to the election. The courts ruled that the proper time for fighting such procedures was before the election, when they could conceivably have been changed.

    I am confused because it seems that many of the problems caused by such procedures would have been purely conjectural before the election. As one example, changes like Georgia’s requirement for multiple witnesses to reject a ballot signature only became problems because the authorities didn’t take any steps to ensure that multiple witnesses would be available. In some states, problems with out-of-state or otherwise ineligible voters only became significant because the states failed to clean up their voter rolls as they had promised in earlier out-of-court settlements with organizations like Judicial Watch.

    If we can’t successfully file suit before an election because any damages are speculative, and we can’t sue afterward, how can we stop officials from making arbitrary, damaging, and self-serving election rules?

    • I believe that implicit in the courts’ dismissing such things after the election is that filing suit before the election would be permissible and could yield a result.

      Once the questionable ballots are tossed into the hopper to be counted, they are effectively beyond remedy. If there were, say, 10k bad ballots mixed in with 1000k good ones — the remedy simply cannot be to discard all 1010k ballots. That disenfranchises a million people who voted in good faith and using what they were assured was the proper method.

      If you have a problem in Georgia with not having enough witnesses on hand, I think the only real solution is to pressure your state government to change their procedures.

      On the other hand, if this was a significant problem and people realized it was a big problem early enough, here would be my thoughts on a possible solution: Wake up a judge Tuesday night — explain the situation and get him or her to issue an emergency injunction requiring election officials to stop processing those ballots until sufficient witnesses were provided.

      I ask the lawyers here — is that possible? Would a judge do such a thing? It might delay processing the vote count, but wouldn’t that have been better than processing the votes improperly?

      That situation doesn’t even posit any type of fraud — just the ordinary fumblings of voters who cannot follow the correct procedures. But important nonetheless, as the law requires you do certain things to vote remotely and if you don’t your vote isn’t valid.

  7. Jack, you say: “ In truth, it (the merging of the Democratic Party and the high tech oligarchs who control the flow of information) is among the most serious threats democracy itself has faced in this country.”

    And they ‘control’ it how? I have been able to access a fabulously wide range of perspectives via my laptop, eg passionate arguments as to how God has sent Donald Trump as a new King Cyrus (who reportedly liberated the Jews from Babylonian captivity); and Rachel Maddow and of course EA and NYT, WAPO, WSJ, The Guardian, the BBC and published news from all over the world. It is of course all biased in different ways.

    I understand you frustration re attempted censorship of EA via Facebook and similar. But to my mind Mark Zuckerberg et al have no serious chance of, or interest in, muzzling you. If you want to worry, the prospect of mass sophisticated and weaponised propaganda from shady State agencies is far more scary.

    We live in unprecedentedly wonderful times in terms of access to information and the ability of guys like us to ‘publish’ our views. Of course what we can’t do is to force others to listen. The freedom ‘not to listen’ is in my view our very greatest freedom.

    • When I have time, I’ll list many of the ways—all would be impossible— the flow of information is being controlled and manipulated to warp public opinion and policy.

      I am, quite literally, nothing. But I was permanently banned, apparently, from being one of ethisc authorities on National Public Radio because I dared to explain to its audience an explanation for sexual harassment claims against public figures that could be applied to the benefit of President Trump, which was not my objective, but aiding in the weakening of useful false narrative was enough.

      So I can blather on to my pitiful 3500-4000 clicks and the maybe 2000-4000 individuals who officially follow the blog, and the less than 50 separate readers who care enough to comment regularly.

      I’m effectively muzzled.

      • Probably no consolation, but ‘we’ hear you and appreciate you trying. Thanks.

        As long as you don’t expect us all to agree with you.

      • The flow of information has always been controlled to influence public opinion. It is difficult to imagine a scenario in which information could be uncontrolled. A newspaper without headlines? A blog without entries? Nowadays, most people opt to have their information controlled by their own preferences, which is why you can go all day without seeing or reading something with which you disagree, if that’s your idea of a good time.

        An ethical claim can be made that some forums–Facebook, for example–are so enormous and widespread that no one should be muzzled. Few people take this absolutist stance, so then the ethical claim has to be made, case by case, that the speech in question is essential to public discourse on that particular forum, either due to their source (ie, the Secretary of State should be granted the occasional editorial in major newspapers) or popularity (ie, millions of people are interested in what Tom Hanks says, so he should be allowed to Tweet) or the singularity of the view (ie, the only witness to an event should be featured in a story about the event).

        Absent such claims, there is no basis to claim that commonly held views are being muzzled. Just about everyone has something interesting to say about a topic. Just about all of them are not on the radio.

        • An ethical claim can be made that some forums–Facebook, for example–are so enormous and widespread that no one should be muzzled.

          It is not merely the widespreadness nor enormity of Facebook that is the issue; it is that Facebook had advertised itself as a politically neutral platform in which users could share their thoughts and ideas.

          A porn-sharing site limiting itself to the sharing of all forms of adult porn, but nevertheless having the enormity and widespreadness of Facebook, would not have an ethical duty to allow the sharing of links to Ethics Alarms.

    • You ask how they control it.

      During the last week of October, did you try to tweet the New York Post’s story about Hunter Biden? How’d that go for you? Did you get your Twitter account suspended for doing that? Or get your Facebook account suspended for linking to that story?

      The Post had its own Twitter account suspended for daring to publish and then try to publicize the story.

      That’s how they controlled that particular news item — and it is possible that those acts of control changed the election results. If reading that story would have changed the votes of roughly 25,000 voters in Georgia, Wisconsin, and Arizona — Trump might well be president elect right now.

      That’s one example. Others are more subtle, such as just not showing people stories that contradict the proper narrative.

      • I don’t know any adult, American, Australian or anything else, who wasn’t aware of the suggestion that Hunter Biden influence peddled, and that Joe denied ever being so influenced; and that Trump and others held that Joe was lying. And now you’re suggesting 25,000 ignorant voters might have changed their votes if they’d read the story on facebook and this might have swung the election??

        Would even more have changed sides if they’d heard about Dr Jill Biden?

        Who are these people?

        • The information embargo placed by mainstream media left many voters thinking the laptop “October surprise” had not been verified as authentic and wasn’t supported by other information sources. They saw the evidence of corruption around Hunter Biden and his father as “just another conspiracy theory peddled by the right-wing” and didn’t take it seriously. As one of my Democrat friends stated to me, “lots of people say they have seen Bigfoot, too, but that doesn’t make it real”.

        • Well, you know extraordinarily informed poeple. One poll suggested that a significant number of Biden voters would have voted otherwise if they knew about the Hunter laptop. Joe used his position to let his sad failure of a son live off influence peddling. Thos if us who are REALLY informed knew that years ago.

          I know you really don’t think potential President lying about a conflict of interest and influence peddling is as trivial as Jill’s posturing.

        • https://cnsnews.com/index.php/blog/lucy-collins/bozell-levin-survey-shows-46-democrats-would-not-have-voted-joe-biden-had-they

          Accept this poll or not, it doesn’t matter. What it found was that 36% of Democrats said, after the election, that they hadn’t heard of the Hunter Biden laptop scandal. And that 4.6% said that, if they had known, it would have changed the way they voted.

          The three states I cited — Biden won them collectively by about 43,000 votes or so. So 25,000 voters going for Trump instead of Biden would have flipped those three states. Given that there were millions of votes cast in Wisconsin, Georgia, and Arizona that’s a lot closer to maybe 0.25%.

          Who are these people? The Democrats being targeted by the Hunter Biden coverup.

          You use the straw man — ‘I don’t know any adult’ — that is a tired, worn out straw man. It has been trotted out many times over the years by people not comprehending how anyone could vote for a Republican.

          • The New York Post story was immediately challenged on several fronts, including by the only bonafide journalist on the byline. Twitter’s decision to refrain from encouraging a last-minute, badly-sourced, inflammatory story was understandable, although I believe it was the wrong one.

            The Hunter Biden story was nevertheless reported in the New York Times and other outlets, which anyone could repost. And of course it was covered very heavily on right-leaning television networks.

            It’s a common phenomenon that polls look more reliable when they tell people what they want to hear. Claiming that the election would have swung the other way had the Hunter Biden story been even more fully publicized, based on a single poll, seems quite dubious, especially because so many people making this claim are relying on election numbers they also find unreliable.

            A safer claim, in my mind, is that voters who find unpalatable the idea that a powerful man would allow his sons to profit off influence peddling would not have reason to vote for either major 2020 candidate for president. The investigation of Hunter Biden continues. The investigation of Eric Trump’s charity has concluded. One wonders what percentage of Republicans are aware of that, given how little it’s been covered in, say, the New York Post.

            • There’s no dispute about this, and there was no excuse. The Times didn’t report the story, it reported that a an unsupported story had been reported. The news media all devised standards that they hadn’t used as recently as the Trump tax leaks, and the oppostie of when they were reporting as fact every rumor regarding “Russian collusion.” The story had “problems” because it hurt Biden. It’s as simple as that.

              • Thanks, Jack. I will only add that this was hardly a last minute story — it occurred about 3 weeks before the election. If the media had been interested in rebutting it rather than suppressing it, there was plenty of time. And you will have to do better than ‘badly sourced’. The sources were out there in the open. And the principals involved, namely the Bidens, never denied that the story was true. For good reason, as we have now seen.

                • Bruce Golding, the primary author of the Post article, refused to put his name on the story because of concerns over its credibility. The article had two named sources, Stephen Bannon and Rudy Giuliani, both of whom had reason, to put it mildly, to root for the discrediting of Biden. This is not to say that the allegations are false, but to say that there is no dispute over the Post story is not accurate.

                  • And what you do, if you are an ethical and objective journalist, is investigate the leads. They did not. And Twitter and Facebook blocked the story. Totalitarian, start to finish.

                    The lack of integrity or excess of gullibility of anyone who denies the degree of media bias after the last decade is impossible to deny fairly.

    • The issue, of course, is that Facebook advertised itself as a politically neutral platform where people can share their thoughts and ideas, and gained at least hundreds of millions of followers who wanted such a platform to use.
      E.g., Facebook will remove kiddie porn posts (and report the posts to he FBI), but they would leave standing posts and comments arguing that the age limit should be lowered to 13 (let alone arguing that kiddie porn laws should be abolished altogether).

      Facebook is not the Free Republic nor the Democratic Underground.

      • See also https://edition.cnn.com/2020/11/23/politics/florida-dark-money-mystery-invs/index.html

        A month before Election Day in Florida a mysterious company called Proclivity, Inc. contributed $550,000 to a pair of newly formed political action committees in the state.

        Two days later, the money flowed from the PACs to an Orlando-area print and advertising firm.

        Shortly thereafter, came a torrent of nearly identical political fliers seemingly intended to siphon away support from Democratic candidates by tricking voters into casting their ballots for purported spoiler candidates who demonstrated no real interest in getting elected. None, for example, engaged in typical campaigning activities or raised significant funds.

        In one case, the mailers appear to have helped a Republican—a co-founder of Latinas For Trump—unseat the Democratic incumbent in a state Senate race by a razor-thin margin of just 32 votes.

        Also:
        “But there was a third candidate in this race, playing the role of spoiler: Alex Rodriguez, who shared the same last name as the Democrat in the race and promoted himself as a liberal. Alex Rodriguez got more than 6,000 votes.

        Jose Javier Rodriguez said the straw candidate cost him his seat by pulling away Democrat votes.

        “I didn’t even know what he looked like, until after the race, and investigative reporters tracked him down,” he said.

        In State Senate District 9, Democrat Patricia Sigman lost to a Republican by just 2 percent of the vote. No one ever saw the supposedly liberal, third candidate.”

        At least these candidates exist, even if they are all registered Republicans pretending to be Democrats.

      • BTW I take it as a badge of honour that I have been banned from both Free Republic and Democratic Underground.

        Though only FR did the complete Zot, removing all of my posts dating back years, on all subjects.

        Only about a dozen people have been so honoured.

        DU didn’t like me pointing out the factual inaccuracies in the Leftist conspiracy theory about HARP.

        FR *really* didn’t like me citing and quoting from scientific articles.

  8. Whether an ethical and objective journalist is duty-bound to further investigate a poorly-sourced story that the originating reporter declines to support is an open question. We are in agreement that Twitter blocking reposts of the story was the wrong decision.

    • Except that, assuming what you assert is true, they didn’t know that when they decided to suppress the story rather than investigate it. Those (anonymous) assertions about Golding didn’t come out until days later, after the (lack of) coverage was already decided. They decided not to investigate further because they were afraid of confirming the story and damaging Biden’s chances. It had nothing to do with whether the story was poorly-sourced or whether some reporters had doubts about it.

    • Gully, you’re not taking into account that over 80% of news stories have their origins in press releases and similar sources. Almost all such information will come from parties with “skin in the game”, most of whom wish to influence the narrative presented by the press. As such, the laptop story coming from Guiliani and company is really no different.

  9. Relaaaaaax, everybody. A REVOLUTION in environmental restoration is underway – let’s PARTY!

    The World’s Most Crucial Wetland (of Wokeness) is being restored. The future State of Potomac’s federal swamp, having been partially drained, is on the mend. Like Rush Limbaugh suggested (yesterday?), the Great Corruptocracy of World-Order-ers has been in command of us since before World War II – probably since around the time of Woodrow Wilson. Donald Trump rocked those waters for a short time. Some of the swamp creatures almost died. But alas, it was all futility. Normalcy is BACK! The creatures can breathe once again – and their prey in flyover country, once again, cannot.

    As Arthur Jensen counseled madcap news-preacher Howard Beale in “Network,” this is “tidal gravity.” Only at this time, CHINA rules the world, unlike when the U.S. did in the time of that movie’s debut.

    The world is a BUSINESS (more Jensen-ese). The international system of currency exchange determines the totality of life on this planet. If the limp-wristed, hyper-wealthy tech oligarchs get a little too big for their panties, then just a couple of EMP detonations will do just fine, to put everyone back into their humble, pre-Internet places. The Russians are already back to using manual typewriters for producing all their most important business documents – ribbon spindles, “white-out,” and all – so the old ways of “hacking” will also have to be revived.

    Relaaaaaax! Who needs ethics, when non-ethics is obviously so good for BUSINESS?!

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