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Stop, Thief!

Wow, the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial on the Minnesota recount was the screed heard ’round the world. Here’s Bill O’Reilly, the Sinestro to Al Franken’s Hal Jordan, citing the WSJ to argue that Franken “cheated” to win the recount. Here’s Joe Scarborough doing the same (and you really have to read Mika Brezezinski’s sassy onomotopiea to get the full effect).

Nate Silver, who predicted way back in November that Franken would win the recount, slices and dices the WSJ’s arguments. Basically, it’s full of lies and spin that Republicans abandoned weeks ago, like the myth that some precincts counted more Franken votes than had voters on the rolls. Even John McCormack of the Weekly Standard–another Murdoch-owned publication, and a reporter who did not want Franken to win–notes that arguments about election night/recount vote total discrepencies have been shredded by the discovery process.

For example, without a 246-vote correction in Franken’s favor in one precinct, he would only have had 27 votes–an unbelievably low number in a precinct where John McCain and Norm Coleman each tallied 175 votes and Obama garnered 336 votes.

Again, that’s from a young conservative reporter who’s worked this story for months.

I don’t think the WSJ’s is the most shameless attempt by a Murdoch-owned media outlet to muddy up the Minnesota process. That honor goes to Fox News’s web site for buying two columns by John Lott, a notorious fraud whose career in statistics melted down after libertarian reporter Julian Sanchez caught him using a false online persona to defend his own work. From his first column, explaining the mistabulated votes that McCormack discusses:

Yes, that’s it: the counting errors in the most expensive Senate race in state history, a contest in which most voters disapproved of the two major-party candidates, were* four percent greater* than the errors in other races. For Lott, this was enough to start damning the recount.

Republicans lost a heartbreaker of a Senate race against one of their most-hated political figures. What the WSJ edit board and other pundits are trying to do is make this into a Democratic scandal, more proof of a “culture of corruption” in a party that, gasp, stole a Senate seat.

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