The fight for the next election is already underway. And it should be a focal point of media coverage in the coming months, because the right to vote is the story that affects all other news.
“While the January 6 physical attack was well covered by the media, the equally damaging legal assault against the vote has received relatively little attention,” Marc Elias, chairman of the Political Law Group, told me. Perkins Coie.
Elias, a longtime Democratic voting rights lawyer, said he believed “the attack on voting rights” is “the least known story at the moment.”
False balance in the coverage of votes?
Here is the argument Elias made to me: “The typical structure of a story about voting rights thus becomes: (1) Republicans are approving an unprecedented number of new voting restrictions; (2 ) Democrats and civil rights groups say they will harm voters; (3) Republicans say it is necessary to protect the integrity of elections.In this structure, only the first is treated as a fact. and the third is the competitive claims of each party.This formula leads the media to report on “big” articles on voting.rights, with many facts and figures (section 1), followed by quotes from each side (sections 2 and 3) . “
Elias said stories about First Amendment violations are covered differently (without the two-part structure), and this is how voting rights should be addressed as well. Don’t consider this “a political story,” he argued, but a story “about our democracy.”
Journalists should ask for details
Morrell, of The Elections Group, said that “one of the most important things the media has to do here is really push these lawmakers who claim they are making these changes to increase voter confidence or to further secure the way to carry out the vote. “Be specific, Morrell said, and see if they have evidence or if they’re just washing away last year’s big lie.
Invoices should be based “on facts, not falsehoods”
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