The Kansas City Star just can't help itself. When it comes to high-level reporting on the issue of the national GOP's attempts to politicize justice and steal elections with its phony "voter fraud" project, it seems there's no story that the Star's editors can't make mushier and more GOP-friendly.
Today the Star again does with a piece by Greg Gordon of news syndicate McClatchy what it did to a Gordon story from some weeks ago, refusing to print some of the most important facts underlying the lack of factual bases for GOP allegations of voter fraud.
Most notable in the Kansas City Star version of today's Greg Gordon piece for McClatchy is the treatment of the disposition of the Department of Justice lawsuit against the state of Missouri regarding voter rolls. Of the suit, Gordon writes (emphasis added):
In late 2005, the department sued Missouri's Democratic secretary of state, Robin Carnahan, charging that her state had failed to eliminate ineligible voters from registration rolls. A federal judge threw out the suit this spring, noting that the registration lists were controlled by county registrars over whom Carnahan had little authority and the Justice Department had presented no evidence of fraud.
The KCStar's rewrite of that graf rips out its substantive guts. The McClatchy-owned Star goes with this construction:
In late 2005, the department sued Missouri's secretary of state, Robin Carnahan, a Democrat, charging that the state had failed to eliminate ineligible voters from registration rolls. The suit was thrown out.
Of course, the Star doesn't want to elaborate on why the suit was thrown out, because doing so might jeopardize their longstanding practice of trumpeting overblown --or ouright fabricated-- Republican charges of "vote fraud." After all, it's not as though the federal judge who tossed the suit was ambiguous about the rationale for tossing the lawsuit. The ruling included this:
"It is also telling that the United States has not shown that any Missouri resident was denied his or her right to vote as a result of deficiencies alleged by the United States. Nor has the United States shown that any voter fraud has occurred."
Just as it did previously, the Kansas City has gone out of its way to exclude from a story factual information, the exclusion of which makes the story less accurate, less newsworthy, and less meaningful.
People have asked the question before, and it should be asked again: does the Star refuse to print the reported fact that the DOJ had "no evidence of voter fraud" because it believes its parent company is misreporting the fact, or because editors would simply prefer not to see that fact reported?
Though the passage about the 2005 DOJ suit against Missouri may be the most egregious rewrite done by the Star of this Gordon piece, it is not the only one. In fact, near the top of the piece, the Star drops half a sentence which Gordon uses to allow Justice Department lawyers to lend important historical context to the national Republican "voter fraud" effort. Gordon's version reads:
Former lawyers in the Civil Rights Division, however, said the voter fraud campaign is a partisan effort to disqualify legitimate voters, as occurred in Florida before the 2000 presidential election.
The Star apparently would prefer that its readers not be informed by former Department of Justice officials about what has historically gone on with Republcian efforts at "caging" Democratic voters in other states. The Star offers this redacted sentence:
Former lawyers in the Civil Rights Division, however, said the voter fraud campaign was a partisan effort to disqualify legitimate voters.
I suppose the KC Star's editors are simply using their knowledge of what did or didn't happen with voter obstruction in Florida in 2000 --knowledge which is presumably vastly superior to that of DOJ career Civil Rights attorneys-- as a basis on which to omit a substantive portion of the reporting upon which the story was founded. How thoughtful of them. I'll bet the Republican Party appreciates the paper's discretion.
The Kansas City Star, whatever its reasons --though I can't conjure up too many good ones-- has decided again that the facts reported by Greg Gordon are good enough for its parent company McClatchy and its readers in other outlets, but are unacceptable for its Missouri and Kansas readership. This persists in being a shame.
Newspapermen, of all people, ought to realize hat facts are facts and that some facts are not more appropriate for printing than others merely because they are less difficult to assimilate into their business's portfolio of political need, or because they go beyond an editor's abitary comfort zone.
Perhaps the Star's readership ought to start regularly circumventing the middleman's institutional censors and getting its news --at least on voting and DOJ issues-- straight from McClatchy itself.
*Tip of the Hat to reader LCB for calling attention to the Star's version of the story.