I was interested to read in the Nov. 11, 2020 issue of Prime Rafael Hoffman’s interview with Professor Michael McConnell, who explained the disservice President Trump’s team is performing to the American people and to the President’s own supporters by alleging massive voter fraud through media outlets without any real evidence. As Mr. McConnell explained, such claims, absent supporting evidence, needlessly create “doubt about the legitimacy of our electoral system.”
So I was dismayed to see in the Nov. 18, 2020 issue Avi Mansdorf’s article (“The Post-Election Battle”), which simply parrots the Trump team’s evidence-free allegations of massive fraud and voter-machine issues. Mr. Mansdorf frames his article as calling out tikshoret miguyeset (or “mobilized media,” in his words), presumably referring to certain media’s recognized bias towards liberal candidates and causes, but his article performs that precise function for the Trump team, in spades.
Nowhere does Mr. Mansdorf provide any context to the unsupported claims of fraud he repeats — such as that Trump’s top cybersecurity official stated the election was safe and secure, and was fired for doing so (a move politicians of both parties decried); that manual recounts have confirmed the accuracy of voting-machine tabulations; that allegations of massive fraud have been made to the media, but not in courts of law, where an attorney faces professional and possibly legal ramifications for baseless accusations; and that Trump’s attorneys have produced no evidence to support their explosive allegations. In doing so, Mr. Mansdorf’s article does the very disservice to Hamodia’s readership that Mr. McConnell highlighted in last week’s issue.
Publisher Ruth Lichtenstein rightly noted in that issue that “good journalism demands an attempt at objectivity to the extent humanly possible.” Repeating baseless allegations of widespread election fraud — which unsurprisingly have the effect of undermining confidence in the electoral system — without providing any context or legitimate responses that have been provided to those allegations, does not meet that standard. As a media outlet representing and read by bnei Torah dedicated to emes, such reporting, particularly when labeled an analysis, is regrettable.
Avi Mansdorf responds:
I take your charge that my article was deficient in emes seriously. The following is my response:
I must confess that your statement “allegations of massive fraud have been made to the media, but not in courts of law…” puzzles me, as does your repeated reference to the claims as “baseless” or “unsupported” or “evidence-free.” It is a matter of public record that lawsuits, supported by hundreds of sworn affidavits, expert testimony and voluminous additional evidence, have been filed in five contested states. You may disagree with the evidence, but it clearly exists.
Could it be that the thrust of your letter is based on misinformation? Allow me to explain.
Last week, additional substantive cases, accompanied by hundreds of affidavits sworn to on penalty of perjury, were filed in Georgia and in Michigan. I checked the day after, on AP, CNN, ABC, and other major media sites. Not one mentioned those lawsuits. This has, alas, become a feature of their reporting: All too often, whatever does not favor their preferred narrative is unworthy of being mentioned. Perhaps if you had been following the news less selectively, you would know that tangible evidence of serious and blatant irregularities has been presented.
Similarly, the Pennsylvania Senate has been conducting hearings on whether vote fraud occurred. A retired U.S. Army computer expert testified regarding several huge batches totaling some 570,000 votes, including quantities that could not practically have been processed during the short time that they were logged. It turns out that more than 99% of these votes were recorded for Biden! The video of the full session is available online. This, too, seems to have escaped the notice of the mainstream media.
Needless to say, presenting evidence is not the same as winning the case; but to deny that it has been presented, is simply incorrect.
To say that “manual recounts have confirmed the accuracy of voting-machine tabulation” is disingenuous. Counting the same votes over and over again, as was done in Georgia, will inevitably reach more or less the same totals. What Trump’s team had requested (and was refused) was an audit, to check whether the votes were cast by actual registered voters. This is important, as urban precincts in swing states have reported over-voting (more votes counted than the number of people registered) by some 200%, and in some cases 300%. (In Philadelphia, the envelopes in which mail ballots arrived, which are crucial to signature verification — are claimed to have been destroyed, contrary to law. An expert has testified that 47 USB cards used in inputting ballots, documenting more than 120,000 votes, have “disappeared.”)
At this point, the various allegations are not proven, and my article was careful to specify that that is what they are — allegations. However, since the mainstream media have chosen to omit so much of the total picture, I felt it important to fill in the gap. Hopefully, readers can have fuller, more accurate assessment of the facts.
You have quoted Professor McConnell, who is undoubtedly an expert on legal matters. But the question of whether or not something is in the national interest, is a political judgment. Degrees in law, unfortunately, are not known to confer immunity from being wrong sometimes. In any case, equally respected authorities, such as Professors Alan Dershowitz of Harvard and Jonathan Turley of Georgetown Law School, have expressed themselves differently. Writing in The Hill, Professor Turley has said “the public should welcome close scrutiny of such swing states. There are valid reasons to examine the figures … to resolve the crisis of faith. A recent survey found that nearly half of all Americans lack confidence their ballots will be counted fairly. … This lack of faith in the electoral process … builds on increasing distrust of our political system.”
No one relishes the divisive political situation we are in. (I hate to say “I told you so,” but this column warned months ago of the looming disaster posed by mass mail-in voting, a system not adopted in any similar democratic country.) Like it or not, many Americans do suspect that fraud was involved in the election. They find it difficult to understand, for instance, why Republican poll-watchers were prevented from monitoring the vote-counting, or why without precedent, vote-counting in critical states (all won by Trump in 2016) was suspended in the middle of the night — following which massive “dumps” of nearly 100% Biden votes appeared (as is obvious from successive screenshots of the New York Times vote-count site). Hundreds of people have submitted sworn affidavits, under penalty of perjury, alleging blatant illegalities.
As I understand Professor Turley, sweeping these concerns under the rug and leaving millions with the belief that a presidency is illegitimate would only increase loss of confidence in our institutions. And if we lose confidence in the honesty of elections, the normal respect for government and the willingness to comply with the laws it passes will inevitably suffer.
Your concern for the best outcome for the country is to be commended. I would respectfully suggest that you reread my article and consider whether your portrayal of it was accurate.