An exchange with Farhad Manjoo

From Jason Aaron Osgood:

I used to subscribe to Salon. Every now and then, they try to get me to sign back up. I periodically explain to Farhad Manjoo and editor Joan Walsh exactly why I’m no longer a subscriber. Yes, I’m bitterly disappointed in both Manjoo and Salon.

I was thrilled when they covered the potential problems leading up to 2004. I’m at a complete loss why they’ve gone from “if there was a problem, you’d never be able to prove it” to “unless you can prove there was a problem, go away”.

Below is my most recent (mostly one-sided) exchange with Manjoo.


On 6/27/06, Jason Osgood wrote:

Hi Farhad-

I suppose I should be grateful. Your repeated attempts to refute the idea that the 2004 presidential election was stolen has done more to keep the issue alive than any other effort. A cunning plan?

I used to subscribe to Now I rarely even visit. As I told your boss, you guys start watching my back, I’ll start watching yours. Until then, you’re on your own.

Cheers, Jason


On Jun 27, 2006, at 10:12 AM, Farhad Manjoo wrote:

What do you mean by “watching your back”?


On 6/27/06, Jason Osgood wrote:

There was a time when Salon defended our democracy. You guys resume fighting the good fight, I’ll resume my subscription. Meanwhile, my money is going towards worthy efforts. Like,, and others. For instance, I subscribe to Scientific American because they’re defending the Enlightenment. (Not that I have time to read it, mind you.)


On Jun 27, 2006, at 11:38 AM, Farhad Manjoo wrote:


It’s terrible that you’re no longer a subscriber. But how honest/ethical do you think it would be for me to rethink my disagreements with someone like Kennedy because you are no longer giving me money? I believe you have an honest difference with me, and I respect that. But I don’t write because I’m being paid to toe to a certain line, and I don’t think you’d want me to, either.

All I’m saying is, this is not about money. It doesn’t seem very enlightened to say, “Please conform to my point of view or I’ll stop giving you money.”



On Jun 27, 2006, at 12:24 PM, Jason Osgood wrote:

Nope. It’s not enlightened. It’s not even altruistic. It’s self preservation. Voting with my dollars.

I don’t mind your criticisms. I swing between 50% and 80% certainty that 2004 was stolen. I get along fine with the people in our group who don’t think 2004 was stolen. (

I just wish you could find a way to be constructive. There’s SO MUCH going on nationwide regarding election integrity. We only hear from you and Salon when it’s time to poke holes in someone else’s efforts.

The net effect is that you appear to be a denier. No problems here, move along. Nothing could be further from the truth. Election integrity has worsened since 2004. 2006 is shaping up to be a catastrophe, a train wreck. Yet salon is mum.

In case you care, the effort that I’m most interested in at this very moment are Voter Action’s lawsuits preventing the use and procurement of electronic voting machines. Holly Jacobson and I were interviewed on KEXP last Saturday.

You could do worse than to cover Voter Action’s efforts.

All I’m saying is that if you guys care about democracy, you could start pulling your weight. Versus criticizing others who are trying to figure stuff out.

There’s A LOT of disagreement within the election integrity “community”. What I say to everyone is that even though we disagree on the details, we agree on the principle of fair, open, and verifiable elections. And that we’ll work out the details in a constructive manner.

And, no, I don’t think your criticisms have been constructive. Though I do think they’ve been helpful in a twisted way. It’s definitely kept the issue alive and prompted everyone to tighten up their arguments. So maybe you’re playing devil’s advocate. In which case I should be thanking you. We’ll see.


On Jun 28, 2006, at 7:33:49 AM, Jason Osgood wrote:

Hi Farhad-

Last night, I had a thought.

Our activists group met last night. I’m sure you’re aware that Busby lost her race in CA-50. The uncertified, error prone voting machines were used. (Thanks for covering that! Good job!) The GOP had a sophisticated GOTV, basically tracking and harassing absentee voters until they voted. (Everyone does it. Dems do it here in King County.) So in response there’s these emergency townhall meetings. [For our part,] We’re trying to figure out how to push the party to take election integrity seriously.

The Dems among us are always being hassled for more money. The DNC, DCCC, Cantwell, our state party chair Dwight Pelz, etc.

A number of us have stopped giving money. We write back saying “We’ll give you money when you fight for us.” The candidates that do “get it” also get our money. Bowen, Tester, Burner, a few others.

Why should I, or anyone else, treat you and Salon any differently? You’re a pundit. Not a journalist. Not a reporter. You write opinion pieces. You can’t even pretend to be objective. Nor would I want you to.

So please spare me the song and dance about your ethics.

And, yes, it’s only about money. The big bad wolf is robbing us blind. And I’m using my money to fight back however I can.

When you guys figure that out, I’ll resume supporting you.

Cheers, Jason

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