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Monday, June 28, 2004

Voter registration slight-of-hand

The Smoking Gun, probably succumbing to the weird urge to attack liberals unfairly to seem "fair and balanced" has gone after what they perceive to be lying by Michael Moore on his voter registration and party affiliation. August Pollak has a good refutation.
It's good, but it's also more detailed than necessary. All TSG has is evidence that Moore registered in New York, where he lives, and also in Michigan, where I guess he's moved back with his family. (Which doesn't surprise me. What little I know about Moore's family leads me to believe that they are deeply involved in Michigan communities and it's probably easier on his family life to live in Michigan.) His New York registration is still active, but I don't really see the relevance of that, unless he casts two ballots. For all the times I've moved around the state of Texas and re-registered, I've never bothered to cancel a former registration. Granted, that's in state, but I've known of friends who moved away and registered in their new states without cancelling a former registration, mostly because I doubt it seemed necessary. You vote where you're registered, period. I doubt it would even occur to most of us that it's possible to have a dual registration at all.
As for the party affiliation, I know what they're doing and it's nonsense. It looks like they are trying to turn the ass-whupping Al Franken gave to Lyin' O'Reilly on his party affiliation claims. For those who haven't read the book, O'Reilly claimed party independence to prove that his show was in fact not a partisan show. However, he actually registered as a Republican, a fact that Franken dug up pretty easily.
Well, Moore did the same thing, didn't he? Well, yes and no. He claimed not to be a party member, which is fair in the sense that he has quite publically thrown his support to the Green Party in the past and does not campaign for the Democrats, spout their talking points or any of the nonsense that O'Reilly does on his "fair and balanced" show. But mostly I think that party affiliation is important for O'Reilly in a way that it's not for Moore because of the relative amounts of cover-up and lying that they do about their motives.
Moore has never claimed to be "fair and balanced". That's why the attacks on him that mirror attacks on Fox News are not fair; he never claimed to be a news network that's reporting unbiased news. He's cheerfully and openly liberal, and therefore it should surprise no one that he checked "Democrat" when he registered. Moore quarrels with the Democrats because they are not liberal enough for him. But O'Reilly claimed to be a party independent for a totally different reason. He wanted to give the impression that he was centrist and open to liberal arguments, so that he could pass off hard-line conservative arguments as normative, centrist arguments. To bolster his false image as a centrist, he lied about his party affiliation.
Get that, TSG? Moore's claims of not being a Democrat were really not attempts to mislead his audience about his intentions, since he makes no effort to hide that he's a liberal. O'Reilly's were ugly attempts to pull the center rightward by disguising his hard-right opinions as centrist. There is a pretty big difference there.


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