A friend of mine writes this morning with a question: “At what point will Americans finally get fed up with voter fraud — with what ACORN is doing in Ohio, for example?” I have thought a lot about this sort of question, in years of covering politics. I think it has to do with the media. If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If the media don’t decide that something is an issue — is it an issue? I think people care because the media tell them to care. Or rather, they pick up their caring cues from the media: If something is in the news, they’ll think about it. If it is not — how can such thinking be triggered?
If Republicans or conservatives or right-wingers were systemically engaged in voter fraud, it would be a huge, huge issue in America, I believe. Covers of newsmagazines, etc. Big Story. Until then, different pockets of the media — right-leaning ones — will emit little cries about voter fraud. And they will be heard by only so many.
Do you remember when the Gore people handed cartons of cigarettes to homeless people, to entice them to the polls, or register Democratic, or whatever? We righties had a lot of fun with that — because Gore was Mr. Anti-Tobacco, you’ll recall. (That’s before he went Global Warming.) But it takes more than righties having fun — it takes the big people saying, “This is a story.”