Summary: The Right-wing misinformation machine is both effective and profitable. However implausible its products, they meet the need of conservatives. Here is a typical example — the exciting news that California has made it easier for illegals to vote!
Which side lies the most, Left or Right? I would like to know. But I believe the Right makes more money doing so from their high-traffic and often professional news services and websites. They produce a stream of fact, exaggerations, misinformation, and outright falsehoods. These keep the people on the right excited, generating clicks. And clicks are money. Here is an example of how they work.
On 11 October 2015 California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB60. Conservatives went into a frenzy. “Jerry Brown Signs Bill That Could Let Illegal Aliens Vote” by William Bigelow at Breitbart. Fox News ran a series of shows (It will “Provide Shelter For Illegals To Vote”). Their analyst Andrew Napolitano (retired NJ judge): “if you are an illegal alien in California, get a driver’s license, register to vote, you can vote in local, state, and federal elections in California and those votes count” (video here).
The far-right websites went hysterical. “Illegals in California Could Decide Election” by Brendan Kirby at Lifezette. “California Allows Non-Citizens to Vote, Which is Illegal, So Every California Vote should be Disqualified” at Eagle Rising. Google shows scores, perhaps hundreds, of these.
This is, of course, bogus. It’s astonishing that anyone believes it. But probably millions of Americans do, conditioned by years of conservative “news” to believe implausible things. The bill states that a driver licenses of an illegal “does not establish eligibility for employment, voter registration, or public benefits.'” See for yourself.
“…Existing law requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to require an applicant for an original driver’s license or identification card to submit satisfactory proof that the applicant’s presence in the United States is authorized under federal law. Existing law prohibits the department from issuing an original driver’s license or identification card to a person who does not submit satisfactory proof that his or her presence in the United States is authorized under federal law.
“This bill would require the department to issue an original driver’s license to a person who is unable to submit satisfactory proof that the applicant’s presence in the United States is authorized under federal law if he or she meets all other qualifications for licensure and provides satisfactory proof to the department of his or her identity and California residency.
“… The license shall bear the following notice: ‘This card is not acceptable for official federal purposes. This license is issued only as a license to drive a motor vehicle. It does not establish eligibility for employment, voter registration, or public benefits.’ …”
Also see “License to Vote: while California did pass a law to increase voter turnout, the state has not made it legal for undocumented people to vote” by Dan Evon at Snopes (the go-to website for information about urban legends). News stories from real journalists accurately describe the new bill, such as this in the Los Angeles Times.
There are similar stories on the Left. I do not know which side is worst informed (my guess is the Right). A more important question — how can such a gullible people can govern themselves? Perhaps we should swear allegiance to the truth as the first step to reforming America.
About voter fraud
Despite intense attempts to find large-scale illegal voting, none has been found — although it has been common in the past (e.g., in 1960; see Slate’s burying the led in the penultimate paragraph). Liberals tell us that this means that our voting system should be vulnerable to fraud — and so distrusted — until after a political faction revives this effective tactic from the past. Only then can precautions be taken.
Until then voting will be unlike so many other common activities, from cashing checks to borrowing books from the library, not requiring identification.
For More Information
“Fake ‘polling memo’ prompts the question: How much are partisans willing to believe?” by David Weigel in the WaPo. Answer: a lot, even when mind-bendingly false.
- The key to modern American politics: the Right-Wing Id Unzipped.
- A look into the GOP mind: untethered from reality and drifting in the wind.
- Mike Lofgren: Republicans Are Revolutionaries, Not Conservatives.
- Garry Wills explains The Triumph of the Hard Right.
- Important: American politics is a fun parade of lies, for which we pay dearly.