Tony Perkins / January 5, 2022

AP Coverage: Only Spin Deep?

An outrageous feature on state election reform was so nauseatingly partisan that it read like an internal strategy document from the DNC.

The Associated Press doesn’t have an editorial section — but they might want to add one, considering the radical opinions that they’re masquerading as news. The latest example, an outrageous feature on state election reform by Nicholas Riccardo, was so nauseatingly partisan that it read like an internal strategy document from the DNC. The GOP’s push for voter integrity, the reporter insists, isn’t an effort to save democracy — it’s a plot to subvert it. And January 6th, he wants readers to believe, was just the beginning.

For the far-Left, it’s a date that keeps on giving. The riot at the U.S. Capitol — a year ago this week — has provided all the ammunition the media needs to smear anyone working to erase the doubts about the fairness of U.S. elections. In the 12 months since that unruly mob, Democrats have rushed to paint every conservative trying to safeguard elections with the broad brush of treason. “They’re laying the groundwork,” former Democratic operative Mark Brewer claims in the AP piece, “for a slow-motion insurrection.” How? By trying to ensure that everyone’s vote is sacred?

It’s a ludicrous claim — and yet the AP, in one of the greatest affronts to journalism, is passing it off as fact. To suggest that people who are changing the laws — or using the process to reinforce the laws that already exist — are trying to overthrow the government isn’t just biased reporting, it’s dangerous reporting. Taking the earnest efforts of citizens and wrapping them in a loaded term like “insurrection” is like the AP taking a pitchfork to democracy.

The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky was so astonished by the suggestion that he wondered if he was reading the Babylon Bee. “I couldn’t believe it,” he said on “Washington Watch.” This isn’t a serious article, Von Spakovsky went on. “It shows that the AP is no longer really a newsgathering organization. It’s as bad as MSNBC.”

The real travesty, von Spakovsky argued, is that the Left has been undermining U.S. elections for years — and no one in the legacy media has bothered to cover it. Just look at what Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are doing right now with the so-called For the People Act. If you want to talk about a partisan power grab, one that topples two centuries of fair and honest elections in this country, look there. In reality, the Left has been quietly chipping away at voting integrity for years — systematically rewriting election rules to make it easier to cheat with things like ballot harvesting, mail-in voting, third-party election funding, and so much more. And yet the AP would have you believe that it’s Republicans — not these Leftists — who are the “anti-Democratic force.”

Just consider what the states are actually doing, Hans urges. In places like Georgia, Florida, Texas, and elsewhere, they’re adding common-sense requirements like voter ID. “How in the world is that an insurrection?” von Spakovsky wanted to know. “That’s something that benefits all voters — no matter which political party they support… And [there are] attempts to clean up voter rolls, for example, to make sure that it’s only citizens who are registered. To say that that’s ‘an insurrection,’ has got to be one of the most absurd things I’ve ever heard. And yet this is written as a serious article by the AP.”

Of course, what most Americans understand (and the media will continue to ignore) is that state leaders wouldn’t be demanding this legislation if there wasn’t a real problem. What 2020 taught us is that there are major vulnerabilities in our election system — many of which were exploited, thanks to COVID. And anyone who doubts that these issues exist can check out Heritage’s new election integrity scorecard and read the detailed ratings of every state. “[We look at it] from the standpoint of do they protect security and integrity? And you’ll find, boy, there [are] a lot of states around the country that have serious problems in their election systems.”

A lot of these legislators, von Spakovsky pointed out, are so distressed by the state of affairs that they’re putting their own careers on the line to change them. They’ve sponsored election reform bills and suffered tremendous personal and professional consequences for the effort. “But that shows you the problems that [exist] — and particularly, the way the media is now simply repeating liberal talking points whenever it comes to the election integrity issue.”

There’s a lot at stake here — and both sides know it. Why would the Left come at engaged citizens with both barrels if they weren’t afraid that everything they’ve been working toward — relaxing the rules and corrupting the process — is in jeopardy? The American people are determined, as are local legislatures, to fix these loopholes. That’s why the Democrats are desperately trying to preempt these states and take this debate to the federal level. And while we’re grateful for the work of Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other senators who’ve stood strong, Americans aren’t out of the woods on this one.

That’s why all of us need to take the time to see how our states stack up — and push for action where it’s needed. Right now, as legislatures are getting ready to open their 2022 sessions, there’s still some clean-up that needs to be done — especially as we move into the midterm elections. One key state, Pennsylvania, is gearing up to take a second crack at election reform after their radical governor, Democrat Tom Wolf, vetoed the changes their state leaders had passed (later admitting that he hadn’t even read the bill!). As these efforts get underway all across the country, we need everyone to contact their legislators. Even if your state has good strong laws, there’s plenty to do on the federal level to stop the Left’s Stick-It-to-The-People Act. Contact your senators and representatives and ask them: Why do you want to put in a federal law that would take away the people’s power to set election rules?

The bottom line is this — don’t be influenced by what the legacy media is saying, and just as importantly, don’t back down. The Left wants to scare people away from action by using terms like “insurrection,” making you feel like you’re a criminal for exercising your constitutional rights. Don’t let them. This is our country, and we have to stand for it. And that means fighting for the truth and transparency of every person’s vote.

Originally published here.


Navy Mandate Capsizes in Court

Joe Biden ran on a platform of shutting down the virus. Twelve months in, he’s shutting down freedom instead. Fortunately for Americans who care about things like liberty and personal choice, the courts for the first time in a long time are defending the constitution — (thanks to the judges put in place by the Trump administration). In a string of smackdowns to the Left’s COVID overreach, the Biden administration is on thinner ice than the drivers on I-95. And with a federal scoreboard of 10 court rulings to the president’s zero, there’s no sign it’s slowing down.

The announcements are coming in a steady stream now, as judges all across the country weigh in on the president’s vaccine mandates. One by one they spell a sinking ship for the administration, who hoped it could strong-arm employers and millions of other Americans into making health decisions against their will. In the latest good news from Texas, a federal judge gave fresh hope to 35 of the Navy’s SEALs, agreeing that discharging them over their vaccine objections — without honestly considering a religious accommodation — was a gross violation of their rights.

In one of the most appalling testimonies, one SEAL was told that even if his accommodation was granted (something that hadn’t been done by the Navy in the last seven years), he would still be expected to turn in his trident. In fact, the branch’s track record is so bad that Judge Reed O'Connor called the entire 50-step sham process on religious exemptions “theater.” “The Navy has not granted a religious exemption to any vaccine in recent memory,” he wrote. “It merely rubber stamps each denial.”

Our good friends at First Liberty Institute represented the three dozen SEALs and reported that several of their plaintiffs were told that leadership “had no patience or tolerance” for religious accommodation and “wants them out of the SEAL community.” This whole case, O'Connor ruled, “confirms those fears.”

“Under standard operating procedure for the process,” the judge went on, “the 15 steps require an administrator to upload a prepared disapproval template with the requester’s name and rank. In essence, the plaintiffs’ requests are denied the moment they begin.”

The mandates aren’t faring any better where civilians are concerned, as rulings on mandates for Head Start and other federal programs take a separate blow. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R), who has pushed back on a number of fronts, wasn’t at all surprised that the administration’s “toddler mandate” took a hit. “It not only requires everybody that comes anywhere close to the Head Start program to be vaccinated, but it requires all kids aged two and older to wear a mask any time that they’re being transported to a premises that’s associated with Head Start.” Fortunately, he explained, the district court issued its opinion over the weekend halting the insanity. “Of particular note to me,” Yost said, is that “they not only found that the department did not have the legal authority from Congress to issue this mandate, but they went on to say that it’s a violation of a 10th amendment.”

And the picture doesn’t get any rosier for the OSHA rules, which will have their day at the Supreme Court this Friday. In an emergency special session, the justices will be asked to decide what the definition of a mandate is — and whether Biden’s policies qualify. Right now, Washington Times reporter Haris Alic explains, the president is arguing that “it’s not really a mandate,” because he knows that OSHA has no congressionally mandated power to impose one.

“The reason why the Supreme Court is taking this action right now,” Alic said on “Washington Watch” “… is primarily because this mandate has created this limbo for businesses and for private workers everywhere, where essentially, if you work in one state, you need to have a vaccination or you could be fired — whereas in another state you could be fined depending on whether or not the government chooses to enforce it.”

It has nothing to do with whether the vaccine is good or bad. It’s about the power being exercised by the federal government. Almost every lawsuit, Yost says, “is about whether a president can essentially write a law.” “This regulation… breaks new ground, establishes new duties. It doesn’t just set the rules for how Congress’s law is going to be carried out — and we think [that’s] way overstepping its overreach. And courts across the country have been agreeing with us.”

Originally published here.


This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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