Right-Wing Voter Suppression Group Caught Using Fake Photo

The right-wing voter suppression group, King Street Patriots, used a doctored photo to make it look like an African-American woman was complaining that she wasn’t allowed to vote twice in the election. This, combined with the groups untrue allegations of voter fraud ought to destroy its credibility and render impotent its efforts to suppress the vote of middle class, poor and minority voters who oppose its extremist agenda.

Listen to podcast of my discussion of the matter with Dallas KRLD radio host Scott Braddock. And read my piece at Huffington Post below.

A right-wing group in Houston engaged in a systematic voter suppression and intimidation effort used a doctored photo in its showcase video. Tellingly, a hand-lettered sign carried by an African-American woman at a 2000 Florida, Gore-Lieberman recount rally was changed from, “Don’t Mess With Our Vote,” to read, “I Only Got to Vote Once.”

Huffington Post editors first suspected the photoshopping after I posted “Possible Arson and the Right’s Texas Voter Suppression Effort” regarding King Street Patriots’ attacks on a nonprofit voter registration effort and the mysterious fire that destroyed all of Harris County’s (Houston) voting machines.

In my regular Sunday FireDogLake column, I posted a follow-up piece, “Contempt for Democracy: Attacks on Voting Rights,” that included a link to DigitalDupes.org, which had launched an effort to locate the original photo. Within hours, Newshounds found it.

In addition, a Gore/Lieberman sign was altered to read, “I’m With Stupid.” Here is the doctored video as presented in King Street Patriots’ video, followed by the original photographs.

2010 09 06 TrueTheVoteScreenCapture Right Wing Voter Suppression Group Caught Using Fake Photo

2010 09 06 capt.ballot confusion 4gl Right Wing Voter Suppression Group Caught Using Fake Photo

2010 09 06 capt.florida recount aq1 Right Wing Voter Suppression Group Caught Using Fake Photo

The King Street Patriots video has disappeared from their website (soon after the deception was revealed), but it remains on YouTube. UPDATE: Video still at King Street Patriots site affiliate, TrueTheVote.org. Here it is:

In the video, King Street leader Catherine Engelbrecht says their effort is all about the truth, that they just want true, fair, honest elections. But if they are so committed to the truth, why did they use doctored photos? Why did they lie?

Because their real intent — as it has been for similar voter suppression efforts for decades — is to create barriers between the ballot box and the voters. They want to suppress the vote of people they suspect of opposing their agenda. In this case, as in most, that means assaulting the voting rights of the poor and minorities.

Their pious and sanctimonious rhetoric works — most of the time. Political journalists seldom get beyond the “he said/she said” accusations and counter-accusations in voting controversies. This deception, in a showcase video, puts the lie to King Street Patriots claims to the truth and destroys whatever credibility they might have had.

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About Glenn W. Smith

Glenn W. Smith has spent the past 30 years in journalism and politics, where he’s made a name for himself as a writer, campaign manager, activist, think tank analyst and, as Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas says, a “legendary political consultant and all-around good guy.” “There’s no one like him,” says author George Lakoff. CNN commentator Paul Begala says, “He has unmatched experience, a graceful pen (or pixel nowadays) and deep insight into the best and worst of us.” Novelist Sarah Bird speaks of his “lucid and lyrical” prose. And, she says, he’s fun. Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington says Glenn writes with “grace and abundant humor” and “uses his colorful experiences in Texas to enlighten us all.”

Smith led Ann Richards’ successful 1990 campaign for Governor of Texas. He worked for former Texas Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby and U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen. Earlier, Smith was a political reporter for the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post. He’s coordinated national campaigns for groups such as MoveOn.org. In 2004, he authored the highly acclaimed book, The Politics of Deceit: Saving Freedom and Democracy from Extinction. He also wrote Unfit Commander, a book that detailed George W. Bush’s mysterious disappearance from military service.

In 2004, Smith was featured in the film, Bush’s Brain, a documentary about Karl Rove. Smith provided commentary on Rove’s role as then-President Bush’s senior advisor. He has made numerous media appearances with Chris Mathews on Hardball, Joe Scarborough, Brit Hume, and many others. He writes a regularly for top national web sites, including FireDogLake and Huffington Post.

As a senior fellow at George Lakoff’s prestigious Rockridge Institute in Berkeley he studied, wrote and taught on the power of metaphor and narrative in political communications. He also lectured on religion and politics at the Starr King School for Ministry in Berkeley. As a sponsor and organizer, he has pulled together numerous national events with progressive religious leaders. He also organized a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King at Riverside Church in New York City as well as “Freedom and Faith” bus tours, which was a nationwide campaign for social justice and progressive values.

Smith’s play, Double Play, which explored American Western myths and legends, was held over to sold-out audiences. He’s even written and performed songs in the Americana tradition, such as his best-known song, “Helping Marty Robbins,” a tribute to his hometown, Houston.

Most recently, Smith is the creator of DogCanyon, a political and cultural web site covering state, national and global issues from a Texas perspective. DogCanyon is an exhilarating and unique site that gets the connections between politics and culture and explores both the personal side of politics and the ups, down, craziness and beauty of “life its ownself,” as humorist Dan Jenkins would say. DogCanyon offers heartfelt personal essays, hard-hitting political analysis, and, most importantly, laughs.

As Paul Begala said, Smith writes in “the finest, firmest, fearless tradition of Texas essayists like Molly Ivins.”