Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Another fabricated Fox story

 You almost -- maybe, for a moment -- want to feel a twinge of sympathy for the Fair 'n' Balanced Network. The cult of the orange monkey-god has taken up the chant of "Fox News Sucks," but aside from its daring decision to call the enemy candidate the "president-elect," Fox hasn't changed a thing about story selection, sourcing, framing or (ahem, you know) out-and-out fabrication from its days as the president's tame pet.

Tuesday morning's lead story is a fine example. We're promised at the top of the homepage that "'unprecedented' droves" of Californians are planning some kind of "blitz," apparently involving "change of residences," in hopes of tilting the two Senate runoffs in Stalin's direction -- hence the "stern legal warning." On the story itself, the hed is softer, but the deck less ambiguous, blitzwise:

The general rules of headline writing suggest that somewhere in the text, that "vast number" and their intent will be spelled out. The lede is often considered a good place to start looking:

A host of California residents and California-based political organizations are prepared to descend on Georgia to campaign for two Democratic U.S. Senate candidates whose victory would have profound implications for the direction of the country.

Well, that's a bit of a disappointment on the election-fraud front (though we do find out who's doing the actual reporting around here). Maybe they're hiding in the second graf!

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Democrats in the Golden State have been hounding political organizers with questions about how they can travel to Georgia to volunteer for Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock.

No, not there either. Let's skip some background information and see if we can catch those details by surprise:

... The runoff election has fired up Democrats from out of state. According to campaign finance data, more than 83% of funds for Ossof’s* campaign came from outside Georgia, as did nearly 80% of funds for Warnock’s fall campaign.

Flip the West, a California-based organization “dedicated to harnessing grassroots power to help Democrats take back the U.S. Senate, has filled up more than 7,500 phone bank shifts for making calls to Georgia, according to the Chronicle. Additionally, more than 16,000 volunteers have signed up to send postcards to Georgia voters reminding them to vote in the runoff election.

Still sounds pretty remote, doesn't it? Surely there must be something!

... Others are prepared to physically travel to Georgia. Manny Yekutiel, a political activist who owns a civic engagement space in San Francisco’s Mission District, said he has been bombarded with calls asking him: “When do I move to Georgia? Where can I stay? Should I get a block of hotel rooms?”

Fox is bending the rules, not breaking them. It would be courteous to point out that this quote too was lifted from a professional news organization, but the nod in the second graf kinda-sorta spreads its magic glitter over the subsequent borrowings (which, again, are from a standard if well detailed report on campaign volunteering). From here on out, though, it's all Fox:

Among the most high-profile people who said they were moving to Georgia just to vote in the election is former Democratic Presidential nominee Andrew Yang. 

“Great news #yanggang – Evenlyn** and I are moving to Georgia to help @ossoff and @ReverendWarnock win!” Yang tweeted earlier this month. “This is our only chance to clear Mitch out of the way and help Joe and Kamala get things done in the next 4 years.”

The vast number of people who said they were willing to move to Georgia just so they can vote in the runoff election has prompted state officials to push back on the idea. 

Yang's tweet, needless to say, doesn't say anything about voting intent, nor is there any support for the "vast number" who plan to follow him -- not even in this three-day-old article by one of the Fox staffers credited with contributing:

Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system manager, said during a Thursday press conference that there has been “discussion about people coming in from out of state” to “help Georgia,” naming 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang as “the most famous” example.

So with the droves and blitzes vanishing into the mist, how's that stern legal warning (from last Thursday) holding up? Back to our top story:

Gabriel Sterling, Georgia’s voting system manager, cautioned during a press conference last week that doing so would violate state law.

“In order to be able to register to vote in Georgia, you have to be a Georgia resident,” he said. “That means you have to believe you are staying in Georgia.”

Those who try to vote in Georgia while merely visiting the state may face felony charges punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.”

I suppose it's a sign of Our Times that Fox needed three staffers (one with the byline, two in the shirttail) to spin somebody else's reporting, some preemptive YANKEES ARE MESSING WITH OUR WAY OF LIFE! squeals from Georgia, and a vague celebrity tweet into a scare story worth the top of the page. You'd like to think a lone reporter from the Hearst or McCormick glory days could knock the whole thing out before lunch.

* Nor has Fox tinkered with its legendary attention to detail.
** Sigh.


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