If anyone doubts the media is ever willing to torpedo its own credibility by immersing itself in embarrassing self-contradictions and double standards as long as those self-embarrassments assist its allies in the Democrat Party, that person need only consider the current media-generated controversy over voter ID laws.
Americans need a government-issued ID to buy alcohol and cigarettes, to pick up a prescription, to buy a cell phone, to purchase nail polish, to buy an “M” rated video game, to drive, buy, or rent a car, to purchase a gun, rent a hotel room, adopt a pet, visit a casino, to fly on a plane, open a bank account, apply for a mortgage and buy a house, to get married, to apply for welfare, food stamps, Medicaid and Social Security, to apply for unemployment or a job, to apply for a hunting or fishing license, to hold a rally or protest, to fill out tax forms, and in many states, to vote in-person.
But almost no American needs a government issued ID to vote by mail.
A record number of votes – about 65 million – were cast by mail-in ballot in the 2020 election. That is roughly double the number of mail-in votes cast in the 2018 and 2016 elections. And virtually all (99.99%) of those 65 million mail-in votes were cast without any form of identification. That is because only two states in the nation – Alabama and Arkansas – required voters to submit mail-in ballots to produce a government-issued ID.
In the wake of the 2020 election, Georgia has also now established a photo ID requirement for mail-in ballots.
Despite the reality that government-issued ID requirements are a common fact of everyday life for American citizens, leftist corporate media organizations routinely act shocked and go berserk when states establish the same ID requirements to ensure the integrity of the ballot box that have been instituted to buy booze.
According to one Washington Post report, “Voter ID laws are horrible. According to one federal judge, they are ‘voter suppression,’ ‘elegant racism,’ and, according to one federal judge, discrimination. The threat of voter fraud is a myth regularly conjured up for partisan advantage.” The New York Times Editorial Board has argued that voter ID laws are built on a “big lie,” an “antidemocratic sham,” “racially discriminatory,” and reveal an “underlying dishonesty.”
But it was not always this way.
A few decades ago, the Times and Post, in other contexts, enthusiastically documented how government-issued ID requirements were preventing fraud.
Back in the late 1980s, the New York Times reported:
“The Internal Revenue Service has striking new evidence that large numbers of Americans have been cheating on their taxes, claiming deductions for children who do not exist[.]” “Starting in 1987, the I.R.S. required that taxpayers report the Social Security number of all dependents over the age of 5. That year 7 million American children disappeared from the nation’s tax returns, representing a 9 percent drop in the 77 million dependents claimed the previous year and $2.9 billion more in yearly tax revenue.” “[S]ome families apparently became quite greedy in creating dependents, each worth a $1,080 deduction in 1986, and $1,900 in 1987. About 66,000 taxpayers who claimed four or more dependents in 1986 claimed none in 1987, after the Social Security identification rule went into effect. And more than 11,000 families claimed seven or more dependents in 1986, but none in 1987.”
The Washington Post reported that two years later in 1989:
“More than 2 million American children have vanished — vaporized, it seems, by the tax code. It began in 1988 when Congress, as part of a welfare reform package, began requiring parents who take a special tax credit for child care expenses to identify their day care providers. There was widespread suspicion that many providers were not reporting the income they were getting for their services. The identification requirement went into effect in 1989. Now the Internal Revenue Service has found a dramatic decline in the number of tax returns claiming the tax credit.”
So, when the IRS required government-issued ID to prove that children being claimed for tax benefits actually existed, 9 million children disappeared. This fraud was uncovered only because the government created a verifiable system. And the media actually did its job and reported that the new IRS government-issued ID requirement had, in fact, helped stop “cheating,” to quote the New York Times. No one claimed that the IRS was somehow racist for requiring that citizens produce a government-issued ID to qualify for benefits. Now, things are different. After Georgia recently passed a law requiring that voters submit mail-in ballots produce government-issued IDs, the Washington Post and New York Times attacked it with full force. “The law constricts mail-in voting,” the Washington Post Editorial Board complained. “Voters will have to provide ID numbers as they fill them out, a new requirement that will confound some people.” This was a concern that the Washington Post never raised about the IRS mandate requiring taxpayers to “provide ID numbers” years ago.
The New York Times went further, bizarrely arguing that the Georgia law “risks making election subversion easier” and “represents an obvious threat to American democracy.” After all, the Times asserted, “There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.”
This “no evidence” and “nothing to see here” claim is an oft-repeated trope favored by leftist corporate media organizations, who insist that there is and never has been such a thing as fraud or cheating when it comes to voting. Last September, the New York Times wrote: “President Trump has begun pushing a false argument that has circulated among conservatives for years — that voting by mail is a recipe for fraud.”
Yet, just a few years prior, it was the New York Times and Washington Post themselves who were pushing this supposedly “false” argument. In October 2012, the Times reported: “There is a bipartisan consensus that voting by mail, whatever its impact, is more easily abused than other forms… On the most basic level, absentee voting replaces the oversight that exists at polling places with something akin to an honor system… Absentee ballots also make it much easier to buy and sell votes.”
The Times noted that “voting by mail is now common enough and problematic enough that election experts say there have been multiple elections in which no one can say with confidence which candidate was the deserved winner.” The Times concluded that “voting in-person is more reliable.” That same month, in another report about election crime, the Post explained that with widespread mail-in voting “[i]t may still be possible to steal an American election, if you know the right way to go about it.”
The 2020 election was as razor thin as it gets. Less than 44,000 votes (10,457 in Arizona, 12,670 in Georgia, and 20,628 in Wisconsin) separated Biden and Trump and kept Trump from securing the Electoral College delegates necessary to win a second term in the White House. If 9 million children can disappear overnight when the government requires that their existence be verified by producing identification, just imagine what would happen if states mandated that 65 million mail-in ballots had to be submitted with a government-issued ID. One hopes that the New York Times and Washington Post would not be forced to report that “large numbers of Americans have been cheating”—but we cannot be so sure.
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