Fighting Kari Lake’s false fraud allegations on TV is battling its own land


Perhaps the first thing you notice in a CNN interview with Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Carrie Lake Sunday Is that Lake, unlike most cable news guests who call from home, has more engaging lighting and photography than the host.

State of the Union host Dana Bash has tapped into the network’s studio lighting and makeup team, but CNN’s familiar aesthetic is a bright shining light likely on metaphorical intent. The lake goes for sun and warmth – because Lake, unlike many news guests and most politicians, is too Experienced with being on TV And with understanding the limitations of TV as a format.

All this makes TV a particularly useful format for her to make false claims about election Security and its role in sowing doubts about the 2020 presidential competition.

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There is an old comic sketch whose source is escaping from me at the moment, as a witness testifies in court. When asked if he committed a crime, he answered sarcastically, making obvious jokes about his behavior and dismantling the court in the process. Then the prosecutor simply asks to re-read the transcript: suddenly his jokes are stripped of irony, and the testimony becomes a confession.

The infographic was not intended to provide a note about the difference in how information is shared in conversation versus the written word, but it did have this effect. In the room, in real time, the witness’s testimony was amusing and exaggerated. But stopping to think about what was said – something that doesn’t often happen in conversation – reveals something else entirely.

This has always been a limitation of cable news. People like Tucker Carlson benefit from not giving their audience any opportunity to stop and think about what is being said; They simply heighten emotional responses based on particular presentations of information that would otherwise collapse under scrutiny. If you stop and read the text, you See how this works.

In her interview with Lake, Bash did exactly the thing she should have: She challenged Lake over her repeated false allegations about the election. But since this is TV news and because TV news is in a perpetual present loosely connected to the blurry immediate past, Lake was able to skate out of Bash’s reach. Again, this is in part because Lake knows the format so well, as Bash once mentioned: “I’ve been sitting on your side of the desk for so long.” So the two fought for a tie.

If we stop and read TextDespite this, we see how Lake failed to answer the question — and in fact, made it clear how unfair her presentations about the election actually were.

Bash first asked why Lake continues to claim that the elections were stolen.

“Well, there is a lot of evidence,” Lake replied. “We had 740,000 ballot papers with no chain of custody. Those papers should not have been counted.”

The claim comes from a report by one of the myriad right-wing “election integrity” groups that have stepped up to meet the demand for fraud plots in the wake of the 2020 election. It is centered in the state’s Maricopa County, where officials read One-fifth of the forms documenting the transfer of ballot papers contained incomplete information, including missing signatures. The county estimates that as many as 200,000 votes may have been converted without complete documentation.

But back off for a moment. This is not proof of Forgery; It is evidence of clumsy management. There is no evidence of 200,000 fraudulent votes, and in fact, the vote was scrutinized more than once without any significant questions asked. However, Lake not only presents an untenable large number of affected ballots, it claims to All Of those votes – more than a third of those cast in the county! – You simply have to get rid of them. Because it is not trying to protect the intent of the voters. She is trying to protect her speech. And because she knows that her side has invested a lot of energy in promoting the idea that the suspended funds are shady There is no good reason to believe that.

How long did it take you to read these two paragraphs? I assure you it took less time than it did to evaluate the claim. And it took much longer than it took Lake to make this claim live for CNN viewers. This is the advantage Lake takes advantage of: Make a false claim and leave the camera on – and viewers won’t have a chance to catch up.

Bash tried, and dismissed the claim as debunking. But now she said – she said, and it was already turned into a lake.

“The real problem, Dana, is that people don’t trust our elections,” Lake said. “They haven’t done that since 2000.” This was a precursor to a bit of authoritarianism, trying to equate Democrats’ earlier questions about converging races with the right’s relentless effort to paint the election as shady to appeal to or benefit from Donald Trump and his support base.

Bash returned to the fraud allegations, showing Lake a series of Trump administration officials who dismissed the fraud allegations. Why does the lake not stand with them?

“I’m looking at what’s happening in Maricopa County,” Lake said. “And you know what? Let’s look at the 2022 election on August 2, where, one hour after Election Day, due to the incompetence of my opponent Katie Hobbs, I ran out of ballot papers one hour after Election Day in one of our largest counties, Pinal County.”

This is an important part of Lake’s speech. It has been doubly incentivized to make false allegations of fraud: doing so bolsters support from the political right, And the It’s a point of criticism for her Democratic opponent, who has served as Secretary of State. Bash noted that the Pinal County situation occurred but did not back down from Lake’s claim that only Republican votes were affected.

Bash didn’t have time to point out that the problem stemmed in part from a new election official Leading an understaffed office Or that Republican officials in the province too accept the blame about the error. Nor has it been noted that the state does not run county elections or that a mistake in 2022 literally has nothing to do with voting in 2020 unless you are simply trying to raise concerns about election security for your own political advantage.

But Bash put pressure on Lake at that point.

Bash asked the candidate, “If leaders like you and President Trump are saying that elections are stolen, wouldn’t you participate, contribute, or even cause people to think that elections are neither safe nor unsafe?”

The answer is of course yes. It is not up for discussion. But Lake did not say yes.

“No,” said Lake. We will make sure that our elections are safe and secure for Democrats, independents, and Republicans alike. We want to know that our legal vote matters.”

Arizona and Americans in general can be confident of that. This isn’t even the case, is it? The alleged issue is voter fraud, and voter failure.

But it makes sense in the flow of conversation, as does the confusing and unnecessary inclusion of the word “legal” there, which makes no sense when you stop and take it as an argument. It exists simply because Lake argues that the votes are suspicious and some are illegal and will never, God forbid, undermine the election, and she simply wants to defend voters and Hobbs didn’t, and she is in that quiet light and is also an honest and warm journalist with Arizona voters.

It is, say the children, a wonderful feeling. And then you remove the lighting, tones practiced, and the limitations of speaking in real time, and you see it for what it is.

And you think about what it means that Lake didn’t say she would accept the results of this election either.

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