October 26, 2004
To: Peter Barron
Delivered via e-mail
In an effort to make sure that the public has the facts regarding a recent story by Greg Palast for Newsnight, I respectfully request that the following information be shared with your viewers and posted on-line where the story was published.
It was evident that the reporter did not have a strong background in the political process and had not done much research beyond talking to an opinionated Democrat who is the Supervisor of Elections in Tallahassee, which is not even the area referenced by the list in the story.
First, caging is a commonly used term in the political process by which someone opens a large amount of mail and logs it into a database.
This is routinely done when an organization receives a great deal of mail from a fundraising appeal or returned mail from a mailing to a large number of people.
The reporter was not familiar with this term or this process and did not seem to understand it even after it was explained to him.
Second, the list was a listing of returned mail that came from a mailing that the Republican National Committee sent to new registrants in Duval County in Florida, encouraging newly registered Republicans, Democrats and Independents to vote Republican.
Voter registration has been a heavy concentration of both parties this year and both national and state Republican parties have been reaching out to new registrants for the upcoming election.
The Duval County list was created to collect the returned mail information from the Republican National Committee mailing and was intended and has been used for no purpose other than that.
Palast's insinuation that it was created for and will be used for the purposes of an Election Day challenge is erroneous and frankly illustrates his willingness to twist information to suit his and others' political agenda. Reporting of these types of baseless allegations by the news media comes directly from the Democrats election playbook.
If the reporter had asked the Elections Supervisor in Duval County, the area in question, he would have learned that this area has been affected by massive fraud efforts this year as a result of the work of ACORN, a third party organization supporting the Kerry campaign and the Democrats.
He would have learned that many people who were registered this year in Duval County in fact do not have valid addresses. It seems his goal was not to obtain accurate information, but to help the Democrats launch a political attack.
In a year when reporters are under heavy scrutiny for showing political leanings toward the Democratic Party, I would think that your new organization would take greater care to understand the facts and use sources that will yield objective information, rather than carry one party's political agenda.
Please post this letter on your website and in any other place that the above-mentioned story appears. It is your responsibility to make sure that the facts are relayed to your viewers and readers.
Mindy Tucker Fletcher
Senior Advisor, Victory 2004