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Moon Over the Miami Herald

By Paul Lukasiak

“Calling the Herald's report a 'lie' is putting it mildly.”

The widely anticipated release of the results of the Miami Herald recount of Florida undervotes finally happened on April 3rd. The results of the recount demonstrate that under most rational scenarios, Al Gore would have won the Presidency. The results demonstrate that far more people cast a vote for Al Gore than for George W. Bush. And the results strongly suggest that Gore would have won any statewide recount done under the auspices of the Florida Supreme Court.

But the headlines from the Herald tell an entirely different story. Those headlines say that George W. Bush would have won the election.
Members of Oral Majority protest Mr. Bush outside the Academy Awards

The Herald went to enormous lengths to distort the results, misrepresent the Florida Court decision, and bury the information that demonstrated that Gore won in Florida. And an examination of the Herald 's reporting during the period it was conducting the recount make it is appallingly obvious that the Herald deliberately embargoed highly relevant information favorable to Al Gore, while going to extraordinary lengths in an attempt to legitimize the Bush coup.

According to the Herald 's own numbers, Al Gore won their recount by hundreds of votes. But this information was thoroughly buried in the newspaper's analyses and articles, among a plethora of various and sundry numbers and scenarios. Instead, the Herald created bizarre standards that Florida Courts had ALREADY ruled were not permissible, and created scenarios that under no circumstances are likely to have occurred under the ruling of the Florida Supreme Court. Only by doing so could the Herald announce a Bush victory.

The Herald Standards

The Herald used four different standards in its articles.

  • The "loose" standard, where all dimples and marks were counted on ballots. Under this standard, Al Gore received 393 more votes than George Bush statewide.

  • The "other dimples" standard, a standard by which dimples were included as votes if there were dimples elsewhere on the ballot. Under this standard, Al Gore received 299 more votes than Bush statewide. To get some idea of the bizarre bias of the Herald , consider this. The Herald called this "the Palm Beach Standard". But under this standard, Gore would have picked up hundreds of more votes in Palm Beach County than he actually did. The misrepresentation of the "other dimple" standard as the "Palm Beach standard" is a key element in the Herald 's distortion of the facts.

  • The "two corner" standard, a standard by which only ballots with chads with at least two corners detached are counted as votes. Under this standard, George Bush would have won by 352 votes statewide. There is just one rather critical problem with this standard. The Florida courts had ALREADY ruled that such a standard was completely arbitrary, and could not be used by canvassing boards when counting votes by hand. The inclusion of this standard, and the prominent role it was given by the Herald , is an indication of the Herald 's significant bias.

  • The "clear punch" standard, or the votes which should have been counted by machine, but were never counted. Under this standard, Al Gore won statewide by three votes. As with the three corner standard, however, this standard could not be used in manually counting votes.

    The Herald Scenarios—Statewide Standards

    The protester's message is clear: The wrong man is in the White House The Herald went out of its way to create a statewide scenario in which Bush would be shown to win in Florida, and to denigrate one of the standards by which Al Gore would have won in Florida. As noted above, the two-corner standard had previously been ruled illegal as a method of hand counting ballots by at least two Florida State Courts, and these rulings were never overturned. Nevertheless, this standard was one of the ones chosen by the Herald as a "statewide" standard, and treated as if it were possible for it to have become the statewide standard.

    At the same time the Herald was ignoring the court decisions for the "two corner standard" it was aggressively denigrating, based on their presumptions on how the court would rule, another scenario under which Gore would win-a statewide "clear punch" standard. What is significant about the Herald 's treatment of this scenario is that the Herald created an entirely separate category for it. The Herald 's justification for this was that the court was unlikely to impose a different standard on Dade County when it counted the undervoted ballots under the Supreme Court order than was used during the abortive manual recount done under the statutory provisions.

    Although the Herald is quite correct in this assumption, it never bothers to raise the question of the imposition of the 'clear punch' standard on those counties which had not created a standard during the manual recount process. Under such a scenario, Gore would have again emerged victorious.

    But what is perhaps most indicative of the bias of the Herald is that in its discussion of the 'clear punch' scenario, virtually no mention is made of the fact that these were votes that SHOULD HAVE BEEN COUNTED BY MACHINE, and were not. Indeed, the Herald takes a mocking tone toward this scenario, describing as "ironic" that Gore would have won if this standard had been used statewide.

    In point of fact, because of the number of unaccounted for undervotes (ballots that the certified counts indicated were undervotes, but were not found when the undervotes were separated) renders any evaluation of these clear punched ballots rather irrelevant. One has to assume that the reason these "clear punch" ballots were included in the undervote count is that, at some point, either these ballots had "hanging chad" or more significantly, a "floating chad", a detached chad from another ballot that had blocked the presidential hole during the sorting process.

    Almost no mention is ever made by the Herald of the fact that these ballots (over 2000 of them) give the lie to the Bush strategy that there was no "machine error", and thus no reason to count votes by hand at all. The "floating chad" problem is inherent in any machine count of ballots, and is caused solely by the tabulating equipment.

    The Gore legal team, however, must be faulted here as well, for failing to emphasize the existence of the "floating chad" problem as a justification for the manual recounts. Harris and Bush were able to use the "no machine error" excuse to delay the manual recounts for weeks.

    The Herald Standards—“The Palm Beach Standard” Lie

    Part of the key to understanding the Herald 's "Big Lie" in presenting Bush as the winner under Florida Supreme Court order is its complete misrepresentation of the "Palm Beach Standard". What the Herald refers to as the "Palm Beach Standard" is actually an "other dimple" standard-if there is a dimple in another race, its counted as a vote. That is NOT the standard that was used in Palm Beach County.

    The actual Palm Beach Standard was not the presence of another dimple, but a pattern of dimples throughout the ballot in the other races.

    Under the "other dimple" standard, Al Gore would have received a net gain in Palm Beach County of 414 votes. In other words, Gore's net gain of 174 votes represented only 42% of the votes that the Herald says can be counted using the "Palm Beach Standard". The Bush "win" under the "Palm Beach standard" and its assumptions regarding the Florida Supreme Court decision appears to be based solely on the inclusion of votes that would never have been included by the Palm Beach Canvassing Board.

    It is essential to note that Herald 's phony "Palm Beach standard" is the "middle" standard. Its not the one that includes all the votes/dimples, and is not the "strict" two-corner chad standard. It represents the "compromise" standard, and as such is presumed to be the most reasonable. The fact that the "strict" standard is completely illegal is, of course, disregarded.

    To put it bluntly, the Herald is LYING about its own study. Its own data demonstrates conclusively that calling the "other dimple" standard the "Palm Beach Standard" cannot be justified under ANY circumstances, because under the real Palm Beach standard, fewer than half the votes found using the Herald 's "Palm Beach Standard" were counted.

    But without this BIG LIE, the Herald would not have been able to justify its desired (and bizarrely presumptuous, on other grounds) conclusions-that Bush would have won had the recount been finished under the order of the Florida Supreme Court.

    Kaus, and the Herald , mischaracterized the Palm Beach Standard. The standard was a PATTERN of dimples, not the presence of other dimples.

    The Herald Standards—Real Standards Not Mentioned

    One of the most egregious omissions of the entire Herald study is its complete failure to recognize the fact that there already exist standards for hand-counting votes in a Presidential election. These are standards that have the full force of law and precedent behind them.

    Both Broward County, and Volusia County conducted full manual recounts. These votes were certified by the state, and were completely and absolutely uncontested by either Gore or Bush. They represent a clear, and de facto, minimal standard by which any statewide recount of votes would have to be conducted if a consistent standard is used.

    Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:

    Media Lies Once Again -- Declaring Bush the Winner

    Questions the U.S. Media Refuses to Ask: Florida's Stolen Votes

    The Bush Propaganda Machine Strikes Again in Florida

    Related Sites:
    Miami Herald

    Oral Majority

    GayToday does not endorse related sites.

    It should be noted that the Volusia standard is, in fact, the "dimple" standard. If any statewide standard were to be approved, it would have to include those votes that had been certified by the state, and were uncontested. Volusia County counted incompletely filled out holes on its optically scanned ballots as votes. The equivalent of such an incomplete mark for a punch card ballot would include a dimple.

    However, it is possible that separate standards would be used for different voting methods, in which case the Broward standard would have to be the minimum standard by which legal votes were counted for punch card ballots. The Broward standard included dimples when the dimple occurred on a ballot when there was a clear preference in other races for the party of the presidential candidate whose chad was dimpled. (In other words, if dimpled the Gore chad, then punched out the chads for a bunch of other Democratic candidates, that would be a vote for Gore. If you dimpled the Gore chad, then voted for mostly Republican candidates in other races, that dimple would be ignored.)

    Both standards, of course would have worked to Gore's advantage. The Volusia County standard would have required that the undervotes from Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade be re-examined (see below), and Gore would have won the dimple count, according to the Herald 's numbers. The Broward standard would have also required re-examining the Palm Beach ballots gaining Gore a considerable number of votes.

    More importantly, perhaps, is that by using the Broward standard, Gore would do much better than Bush based on the totals from the Senate race. The Democratic Senate candidate received about 23,000 fewer votes than Gore; the Republican candidate for Senate got over 200,000 fewer votes than Bush. Additionally, because of the higher undervote rate in African-American communities, and the strong tendency of African-Americans to vote straight Democratic tickets, Gore's advantage under the Broward standard would have been significant indeed.

    Finally, the Herald makes no mention of the fact that legally prescribed votes were never counted in Florida. Although these LEGAL votes were part of the "overvoted" ballots, the fact that they are specifically prescribed under Florida law demands their inclusion in any canvass of ballots under any circumstances.

    According to the Orlando Sentinel, Gore received a net gain of at least 194 fully prescribed legal votes from nine optically scanned counties that violated the law in the way in which they counted their votes-and Bush won each of these counties. There are undoubtably more of these legal votes in other counties, but until the "media consortium" releases its examination of the overvoted ballots, we will not know how many.

    The Herald Scenarios--Misrepresenting the Counts

    The Herald 's projections of Bush victories under the "recount done under the Florida Supreme Court order" scenarios is based on a number of completely false premises:

  • That the Palm Beach Standard is actually the standard used in Palm Beach County. As noted above, this is demonstrably false.

  • That a it would be possible for counties to use the "two corner" standard. As noted above, the Florida Courts already ruled such a standard illegal.

    butterflybattol.jpg - 15.64 K The Butterfly Ballot that caused problems for Gore in Palm Beach County

  • That a dimple standard would be used statewide, but that it would be applied ONLY to those counties that were being counted under the original court order. This is patently absurd. The decision of the Supreme Court not to re-examine the Palm Beach ballots was not based on a ruling that the PBC canvassing board had included all the legal votes. The ruling was based solely on the fact that the standard used by PBC did not represent an ABUSE of the powers vested in it by the statutes. Any imposition of a statewide standard would have to be done, by definition, statewide. Inasmuch as it could be easily demonstrated in court that dimpled ballots were NOT counted in both Palm Beach and Broward Counties, there is little question that the disputed ballots from these counties would have been re-examined under an imposed "dimple standard".

    Indeed, any imposition of ANY statewide standard would require the re-examination of undervotes from Palm Beach County and Broward County (except if the Broward standard were imposed).

    In other words, none of the Bush "Supreme Court" based victories hold up to any sort of scrutiny whatsoever. They are based on completely false definitions, the disregarding of previous court decisions, and an apparently willful misinterpretation of the grounds on which the Palm Beach ballots had been excluded from the statewide recount. The Herald engaged in nothing but pure, completely baseless, and utterly dishonest spin. There is a final assumption in the "Supreme Court" scenarios, however, that is so outrageous, and which was so determinative of the spin the Herald used, that calling it a "lie" is putting it mildly. That assumption is this:

    That there would be consistent counting of votes across county lines without the imposition of statewide standards.

    The Herald created three scenarios under the "Florida Supreme Court" order that are virtually impossible, and used them to declare George W. Bush the winner.

    Only by positing these impossible scenarios could the Herald declare Bush the winner. And the political realities at the time that the Court order came down make it highly unlikely, if not impossible, that Bush would have won under any realistic scenario that included differing standards between counties.

    Throughout the entire process, the Bush team had been arguing against the inclusion of any dimpled ballots. Without those dimpled ballots, given the 300+ vote advantage that Gore would have received from the optically scanned counties, Gore's actual three vote lead in the "clear vote" category, the at least 194 legal votes that were never included in the certified totals, and the 344 votes awarded to Gore by the Florida Court from Dade and Palm Beach Counties, it becomes virtually impossible to come up with the necessary votes for Bush to have won the recounts.

    Bush did best in the dimple counts in those counties that were controlled by the GOP; places like Duval County, Collier County, and Marion County. Those counties would likely have used the most restrictive counting methods allowable under the law, while those counties controlled by pro-Gore Democrats would have used a more liberal standard. The net result would have been that Bush would probably not have received the most votes.

    However, there is no way to know exactly how that kind of count would have turned out. Bush might have won. But had Bush switched course, and started to demand the use of any standard more liberal than the real Palm Beach Standard, not only would it have been politically disasterous, it would have created the conditions under which Gore could have sucessfully demanded a re-examination of the Palm Beach County ballots.

    The important point however, is that it is impossible to predict with any certainty, given the results of the Herald undervote examination, what would have happened under the recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court. "Uncertainty" is the only legitimate conclusion that can be drawn from the data. And despite the fact that the only real conclusion to be drawn was that the data was inconclusive, the Herald created bogus and ridiculous scenarios in order to declare Bush the winner. (emphases are mine).
    Confronting The Miami Herald 's Lies

    By Bob Kunst
    President, The Oral Majority

    “The same Herald that supported Anita Bryant and Jerry Falwell.”

    Activist Bob Kunst during the Bush protest at the Academy Awards Herald lies are nothing new. Its pro-Bush headline story was created simply for the Herald to get press for itself. This is the same paper that in December of 2000 had a story on Gore getting 23,000 votes and winning if everything had been counted. However, in this latest story, which the public won't believe either, are so many other revelations which should have been in the story ,but validates our demands for a federal investigation into this rigged election by Jeb and gang.

    In the statement about Hamilton County with nearly 43,000 votes and nearly 21,000 of them not voting for President, is totally impossible and reaks with the scandal. With that kind of campaign it would have been making headlines everywhere and is double the size of those in Miami they claim were undervotes.

    Of course the Herald ignores its previous articles on 3 out of 20 voting machines broken before the election in 2 black precincts in Miami or that 1700 ballots were misalligned, giving Gore over 300 new votes, and all of it dismissing that Gore already had 153 new votes after manually recounting only 15% of the 640,000+ votes and were arbitrarily stopped by the supervisor of elections, the only one appointed in the state, while the 'rent-a'mob' gang descended here to stop anymore counting.

    Need I remind you that Mayor Pinellas, who threatened Miami with violence if the Cuban Right Wing didn't get its way on Elian Gonzalez, was with GOP leaders in Tallahassee and rumor is that this so-called Democrat wants to run for Congress as a GOPervert and may have helped to stop the counting.

    The Herald does state throughout its articles, but in a timid fashion, that if those in charge, actually had done the proper count, as prescribed by state law, Gore would now be President.

    Which brings us to the key issue: 20 out of 67 counties never recounted the first time, although mandated to do so by state law, including machine counts, let alone manual counts. That's 1,800,000 Floridians who've yet to be recounted.

    There are so many contradictions within the Herald story, as to implicate them for their deceit and motives, that has nothing to do with resolving anything, but adding more than ever, the need to have a federal investigation, while at the same time enraging the populace that will never put this issue to rest. If the public believes Bush is a thief, this article reinforces such a belief and also shows the Herald 's politics, which also reek.

    Ironically, while Bush has dropped 10 points in the last few weeks in popularity and the protests against him are increasing, please note this strategy from the Herald as being one to counter a rebellion against voter fraud that cannot be stopped.

    This is the same Herald that supported Anita Bryant and Jerry Falwell, opposed Privacy Rights in the state, opposed Janet Reno on Elian Gonzalez and ignored our 16 protests in support of her, as well as all the protests against Bush in Florida and across the country.

    The Oral Majority alone has protested 91 times since Nov. 7,2000 and reached over 400 media as well.

    The Herald is the voice of a banana republic once perceived to be only in Miami but which is now how the world sees the entire USA.

    Don't fret, and don't expect anything from the Herald . They've exposed themselves and the public isn't buying it.
    The Oscar protest by Oral Majority against Mr. Bush

    Those who've done anything and everything to steal this election, will use whatever spins from the Herald they need to maintain their illegal hold on power.

    Those who know that five U.S. Supremacist Court lowlifes appointed this thief, a thief who thinks he now has a mandate to dismantle the Constitution and rape America and our planet in the process, will never support the Herald or any other media hacks manipulating the news instead of reporting the truth.

    Coup d'etat forces are dismantling the nation on every level. The opposition so far has been weak. So-called Democratic leaders remain eerily silent, while the grassroots activists a mobilizing to take back the country: protesting, boycotting, and making highly visible statements of resistance. It is only the beginning.

    The Herald 's lies will fuel an even greater surge of activism from a public frightened by all that's being done to cover up the truth. "Many votes could have been declared valid votes-if they had been examined in time", said the Herald .

    "Had all canvassing boards in all counties examined all undervotes"--Gore wins.

    Had any of these supervisors of elections obeyed the law in the first place, then Bush wouldn't have been allowed to steal this election.

    So the issue that remains on the table, and needs to be investigated is: Who participated in this conspiracy to invalidate our sacred right to vote?

    How did 200,000 Floridians lose their right to vote? How did the Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, defeat a Republican impeachment leader, Bill McCullum, by 280,000 votes and then see Gore lose to Bush by so low a figure, of a few hundred, as if that many in Florida wouldn't have come out to vote for President, but only to vote for a Senator. More arsenic in your water anyone?

    How many millions$ went to turn away 4000 accused as 'felons' and then turn out to be 'misdemeanors' and not allowed to vote?

    How about the 2000 illegals allowed to vote?

    How about the GOPerverts who had access to ballots in Seminole and Martin counties and against the law?

    How about Jeb's spending of $500,000 for absentee ballots only for the GOPerverts where the real corruption could take place?

    How about Jeb's phony committee on voter reform, a total sham and how about Florida's GOP Controlled Legislature ignoring voter reform. Why change, they think, what works to keep them in power, either in Florida or nationally?

    Why did Katherine Harris accept the Broward County count, which is the standard everyone is asking for, and which the Palm Beach Post used to declare Gore the winner and the Herald actually found 300 more Gore votes there with this process and still says, that by using the Gore formulae Bush wins, and by using the GOP formulae, Gore wins?

    There are so many scandalous aspects to this voter fraud, and proving it actually could turn the election upside down.

    Yet, in America's guts, the smell of corruption and dishonesty is so obvious in the Grand Theft of Election 2000 that those who attempt to sway the public into believing otherwise, are setting themselves up for the public's contempt. Believe me, the Herald enjoys an enormous head start for the proving of itself as a mediocre rag, a head start it has clung to for a very long time.

    Bob Kunst, President,
    The Oral Majority

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