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In the blog headlined "'Block the Vote' co-author and Rolling Stone contributor Greg Palast on Colorado's troubled voting system," BBC journalist Greg Palast -- who teamed with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to pen "Block the Vote," a piece in the October 30 issue of Rolling Stone -- goes off on “Voter Fraud Probed in State,” a March 2005 report by Susan Greene and Karen Crummy. "The Denver Post did a piece-of-shit voter-fraud article, saying that there’s all kinds of voter fraud, a huge number of voter-fraud investigations and cases being opened up – all kinds of cases," Palast said. "But the Post never responded to my question, 'How many convictions were there? How many fradulent voters were convicted?' And you know why? Because out of the millions of ballots cast, there are almost none." Later, he added, "I don’t do like the Denver Post does. I don’t run biased, fictitious, bullshit press releases as if they’re news."
In subsequent conversations with Westword, both Greene and Crummy say they never received messages from Palast -- and Greene, now a metro columnist, took umbrage at Palast's implication that she'd unquestioningly printed Republican propaganda. "That story followed months of reporting about problems in Donetta Davidson's office," she says, referencing Colorado's then-Secretary of State -- a major focus of Palast's reporting (and his conversation with Westword for our October 30 Off Limits column). "So to insinuate that we were doing nothing more than spitting back press releases is absurd."
For her part, Crummy e-mailed a more detailed response. Read it by clicking "More" -- and access related blogs about the reaction of the Secretary of State's office and Kennedy's Colorado-centric appearance on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show. -- Michael Roberts
E-mail from Karen Crummy, October 28, 2008:
Thanks for the opportunity to respond to complaints you said Greg Palast made about a 2005 story I co-authored. He has never contacted me, but based on what you told me, I gather that he believes the story should not have been written or published.
Looking back, it would have been irresponsible for us to ignore the fact that the Secretary of State's office was investigating a number of complaints about voter fraud. The story makes clear that prosecutions were unlikely and that divining the intent of any of those voters would be difficult. But the investigations were very real and underway. We simply chronicled them, as journalists do.
Based on the piece Palast and Kennedy recently published in Rolling Stone, I can presume they believe there is no such thing as voter fraud, or that it is exceptionally rare. It is certainly their right to hold that position and publish articles based on it. But what they do is advocacy -- not journalism -- and the two should not be confused.