It’s very seemingly that Stacey Abrams shouldn’t be governor of Georgia as we speak as a result of in 2018, she and 1000’s of the state’s voters have been victims of voter suppression that propelled then–Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp into the governor’s workplace. She wasn’t quiet about this, not simply because the shenanigans most likely value her the election, however as a result of the strategies that have been overtly employed to suppress the vote have been of nationwide significance—and echoed the racist custom of stopping Blacks from voting within the Jim Crow period.
As we speak, President Donald Trump shouldn’t be conceding the state of Georgia to President-Elect Joe Biden, regardless of having superior no believable grounds for disqualifying the 14,000 votes that he trails by within the formal depend. It’s broadly understood that Trump’s declaration that “everyone knows that we won the state” is a mood tantrum somewhat than a critical, evidence-based problem to the official outcomes on this electorally vital Southern state.
For NPR (11/18/20), although, Abrams’ and Trump’s complaints are roughly the identical. “A refusal to concede isn’t a new concept to Georgia,” wrote Emma Damage of Atlanta NPR affiliate WABE, as a result of Abrams “also refused to concede to her Republican opponent.” The piece does cite a spokesperson for Abrams as arguing that “her scenario in 2018 and Trump’s as we speak are nothing alike,” but it surely additionally quotes the official who manages Georgia’s voting system as saying that claims of fraud in 2020 and suppression in 2018 are each “false,” and that each expenses “undermine confidence in the system.”
In the meantime, the truth that Abrams criticized the vote is cited by Kemp’s former communications director as justification for Trump’s quest to overturn the election:
Stacey Abrams stated that she had questions, and she or he needed to depend the votes, and so forth., and so forth. — so that very same alternative and course of ought to be afforded to the president as properly.
Trump’s refusal to concede in a number of states, together with Georgia, is a comedy of absurdities and contradictions. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a dedicated Republican, has not solely defended the state’s balloting towards Trump’s accusations (Yahoo! Information, 11/17/20) but additionally uncovered how Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.–S.C.) has pressured him to throw out votes within the president’s favor (CNN, 11/17/20). Raffensperger stated he and his spouse have acquired threatening textual content messages warning of penalties if the state doesn’t finally go to Trump (The Hill, 11/18/20; Washington Submit, 11/16/20), together with one which learn: “You better not botch this recount. Your life depends on it.”
These hamhanded efforts to reverse the election outcomes should not the identical form of grievance that Abrams made; they’re an instance of what she was complaining about, the negation of Black voting energy in a state that historically disenfranchised African-American residents. And the file about what Abrams’ protested two years in the past is evident. For instance, the Guardian (11/10/18) reported that 668,000 voters have been purged within the state in 2017:
Of these 2017 numbers, investigative reporter Greg Palast instructed Salon, 200,000 individuals left the state, died or moved out their district, making them legit cancellations. Nonetheless, by means of litigation, he bought the whole purge record. “Of the 400,000 who supposedly moved, our experts will tell a court that 340,134 never moved—wrongly purged,” Palast instructed the Guardian, saying individuals had been purged for not voting in an election or two.
New York (12/13/19) wrote:
As Secretary of State since 2010, [Kemp] had eight years to winnow the citizens to his liking earlier than November 2018, and did so by purging 1.four million voters from the rolls, putting 1000’s of registrations on maintain, and overseeing the closure or relocation of almost half of the state’s precincts and polling websites. The unspoken objective — although it was clear to anybody watching related efforts by Republicans throughout the South — was to scale back the voting energy of unfavorable constituencies: black individuals, poor individuals, college students and others.
Georgia’s voter suppression ways within the 2018 race have been even probed by Congress, as reported by the New York Instances (3/6/19). Home investigators identified that voters in largely Black counties waited in voting strains for hours whereas “hundreds of available voting machines sat unused in government warehouses.”
The issue right here is that one may very well be extremely crucial of Abrams’ politics and, if one was a Georgia voter, won’t need her to be governor, and nonetheless acknowledge that her complaints about voter suppression are substantively completely different than Trump’s public meltdowns. For one factor, she is advocating for a fairer course of that will profit everybody, not simply her. Trump simply desires to discover a method to get round his loss.
And there’s even a touch within the piece that NPR is aware of this. For instance, it quotes Myrna Pérez, the elections and voting rights director on the Brennan Middle, who talks concerning the partisanship of elections. NPR says that complaints concerning the election course of have to be based mostly on “providing evidence to back up claims about the voting system” and a “commitment to the system,” however that up to now, in keeping with Pérez, “Trump has provided neither.”
NPR doesn’t explicitly say, or quote a nonpartisan supply as saying, that Abrams did current substantive proof of voter suppression. Nonetheless, noting the absence of proof from Trump makes an implicit distinction—one stark sufficient to boost the query, why make this comparability within the first place?
Regardless of the piece’s suggestion that the 2 circumstances are completely different, the affiliation takes Abrams down a notch, unfairly giving the impression that she, too, was a sore loser like Trump. This comes at a time when many observers have cited her dogged campaigning as one purpose Biden did so properly in Georgia this 12 months (AP, 11/8/20). She can also be on the lookout for a rematch towards Kemp in two years (Each day Beast, 11/12/20).
Anjali Enjeti, co-founder of the Democratic get-out-the-vote group They See Blue Georgia, instructed FAIR:
This headline itself is an egregious false equivalency rooted in poisonous each side–ism that features to normalize lies and extremism. And the comparability within the headline between an election final result involving a Black candidate and the rampant, well-documented voter suppression of Black voters in Georgia through the 2018 midterm to a white nationalist president whose political get together remains to be hellbent on throwing out Black votes within the 2020 presidential election — is racist. NPR ought to apologize for the headline and substitute it.
In brief, NPR gave readers a wide range of viewpoints, giving the readers the selection of which set of details they wish to settle for as true. That’s a harmful gambit for a information group, who ought to somewhat be looking for the reality within the muck. Enjeti once more:
Let’s additionally check out the content material of the article itself which, at first blush, might sound extra goal and balanced than the headline, when actually it’s not. The author right here interviews members of each political events concerning the two elections, and divulges their opinions concerning the outcomes. However the article fails on the first sentence as a result of the complete premise of the article is predicated in the exact same lie advised within the headline’s query. This can be a traditional fruit-of-the-poisonous-tree problem in mainstream media. An article based mostly on a falsehood is rooted in fiction, not the reality, and no try by the author to rehabilitate the story will succeed. Quite the opposite, the article feeds the lie, and provides it a platform, and strongly means that the lie was affordable to start with, that it was merely a unique perspective on the identical fact.
NPR makes the struggle towards racist voter suppression look like hyperbolic partisanship when positioned subsequent to Trump’s refusal — it “minimizes the seriousness of voter suppression,” in keeping with Enjeti. Trump is refusing to concede as a result of he doesn’t like the end result. Abrams’ protests two years in the past have been a couple of systemic incorrect dedicated not simply towards her, however towards the Georgia voting public, particularly Black voters.
NPR, on this occasion, trivialized the outcry towards not simply this occasion of voter suppression, however the context of historic voter disenfranchisement within the South. NPR won’t have meant to do that, however the harm is finished.
The report quotes the Brennan Middle’s Pérez calling on “voters to be demanding a bit more of our politicians. That they be more good faith, and that they look at the evidence themselves.” A obligatory first step, although, is for media retailers to take a look at the proof themselves—which is simply what NPR didn’t do.
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