A flaw in Rather's documentary

From Jerry Policoff:

I just watched the Dan Rather documentary, and I have to say that I think this is at least in part another example of the dishonesty of Mr. Rather. The first half of the documentary deals with the manufacture of those ES&S machines in Manila. Clearly there are problems with the way these machines were manufactured, but Rather presented only one “expert,” to whom he gave extensive screen time. That so-called expert, while decrying the quality of the machines and calling it a scandal of monumental proportion, also said that properly manufactured DRE’s are the best way of securing honest elections. He ridiculed the notion that the machines had been hacked or deliberately manipulated in any way. This approach totally ignores the fact that suspect elections involving these machines have almost exclusively benefited Republicans which defies the laws of probability, and it also ignores the evidence that these machines not only can be hacked, but in fact have been hacked. In fact, he suggests that there is absolutely no evidence that any one has ever succededed in deliberately compromising an election with these machines. Rather is in effect telling us that we need to stick with DRE’s, but we need to manufacture them with more care. His failure to provide any opposing point of view regarding the hacking of voting machines suggests to me that Rather is advocating here rather than investigating.
The second part of the documentary is the more fascinating part as far as I am concerned because it suggests that Sequoia deliberately sabotaged its own punch cards by substituting poor quality paper for the reliable stock it had used for years. It also suggests that they deliberately hid the true source of this stock by putting counterfeit xeroxed labels on them. Again, the innocent explanation offered is that Sequoia merely wanted to cause big chad problems so it could sell more of its electronic machines. It is all a function of the profit motive pure and simple. But is it all really that simple? It seems that these problems were overwhelmingly centered in Palm Beach County, a county that just happens to vote Democratic by large margins. The GOP clearly had much to gain by dumping punch cards made from inferior stock into Democratic strongholds because the more ballots disqualified in those areas the more potential Democratic votes would have been disqualified. I think there is real evidence of conspiracy to manipulate an election here, and it ought to be investigated. Where did this paper come from? Where was it used? Who signed off on it? Rather presents some dynamite evidence here, but he totally fails to ask the obvious questions or to connect the obvious dots, and again comes to a conclusion that suggests that profits, not politics, were responsible.
There is much valuable information in this documentary. Too bad we have to rely on Dan Rather to interpret it. Hopefully someone with a less jaundiced eye will take this further.
Here is the url. It runs just over an hour:

0 thoughts on “A flaw in Rather's documentary”

  1. I was shocked by that as well. Mike Shamos is well known as an apologist for the bad machines, according to no less a source than Kathy Dopp. Shamos also works for my hometown university CMU, which also gets lots and lots of money from the military. I guess I should find that scary.

    Rather definitely should have interviewed people in the election fraud movement, preferably people who have written a book or two. I guess I’m curious as to who did the research? Who decided that the best guy to talk to about the machines and ways to secure them was a guy who thinks they’re just great? Even according to Dopp, even if they return fraudulant results? Why weren’t people like Dopp or Debra Bowen or even Mark interviewed…I guess he left the door open for more stories but still…definitely the most troubling part of the piece. It’s like interviewing a Bush administration official about how well we’re doing in Iraq…it undercuts some of the other more positive aspects of the story.

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