Most of the time it's subtle and within bounds.
Today, however, it is not.
An estimated 200,000 people showed up for Jon Stewart's "Restore Sanity and/or Fear" rally at the National Mall yesterday. The estimate comes from the same firm that estimated 87,000 attended Glenn Beck rally in late August. Whether the Beck numbers are too low is beside the point here. The point being that with the same company using the same methodology for the two different events, the Stewart rally racked up more than twice the people attending.
Having written that, I gotta ask what did the Trib go with this morning as the most prominent cover story online?
Of course - a local Tea Party event:
Brian Durbin of Hempfield got up Saturday morning and transformed himself into Benjamin Franklin.Several hundred. Impressive. And no mention (as far as I can tell) of the tens of thousands attending the Stewart/Colbert Rally.
He pulled on brown knickers, a tan vest and ruffled neckpiece, and then covered his hair with a white wig. After pushing wire-rimmed glasses onto his nose, he grabbed a cane, ready to party.
Durbin set off to a Tea Party event in Unity, where physician Bill Hennessey invited several hundred people to a pre-Election Day rally.
See? Not to subtle today.
Then there's this from the editorial page:
Notes a New York Times headline: "Fraudulent voting re-emerges as a partisan issue." Since when is voter fraud a "partisan" issue? Since it's Republicans complaining about Democrat-orchestrated fraud, you can bet.But if you were to actually read the Times piece, you'd see what the story is really about:
In 2006, conservative activists repeatedly claimed that the problem of people casting fraudulent votes was so widespread that it was corrupting the political process and possibly costing their candidates victories."Democrat-orchestrated fraud"?
The accusations turned out to be largely false, but they led to a heated debate, with voting rights groups claiming that the accusations were crippling voter registration drives and reducing turnout.
That debate is flaring anew.
Tea Party members have started challenging voter registration applications and have announced plans to question individual voters at the polls whom they suspect of being ineligible.
In response, liberal groups and voting rights advocates are sounding an alarm, claiming that such strategies are scare tactics intended to suppress minority and poor voters. [emphasis added.]
While many states have voter registration records riddled with names of dead people, out-of-date addresses and other erroneous information, there is little evidence that such errors lead to fraudulent votes, many experts note.It's a "partisan issue" when the Republicans are using trumped up charges (myths, really) of "Democrat-orchestrated voter fraud" to suppress the voter registration of members of demographic groups they think will vote against them.
A report by the public-integrity section of the Justice Department found that from October 2002 to September 2005, the department charged 95 people with “election fraud”; 55 were convicted.
Among those, fewer than 20 people were convicted of casting fraudulent ballots, and only 5 were convicted of registration fraud. Most of the rest were charged with other voting violations, including a scheme meant to help Republicans by blocking the phone lines used by two voting groups that were arranging rides to get voters to the polls.
If they truly believed in democracy, they'd be bending over backwards to make sure everyone voted.
Which leads me to one shining moment at the Trib. Joe Mistik's column - stunning defense of the Separation of Church and State:
In truth, God is not mentioned even once in the Constitution. While the Founders all adhered to some form of Christianity or deism, their diverse religious beliefs instilled in them a fear that a theocracy could be established here. And contrary to the religious tests that some political movements impose on candidates, the Constitution says, "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."How long before Joe is branded un-American is anyone's guess.
Some extreme candidates even wrap themselves in the flag and argue that the principle requiring the separation of church and state does not appear in the Constitution. But James Madison, "The Father of the Constitution," said, "The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries."
Striking the proper balance, the Constitution does say, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."