Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Dirty Tricks – Follow-up

Last week as a part of the post-debate aftermath, I posted a piece from the Miami Herald about a group of “undecided” voters that included Ted Lyons, a Republican political consultant. I sent the following e-mail to Oscar Corral, the reporter of the piece:

In your piece in Friday’s Herald on undecided voters, you had one Ted Lyons, a Republican and a political consultant pegged as an “undecided” voter. Yet he’s a part of the North Dade Republican Club – not exactly an “undecided” group of people, I would think. A little research by Joshua Marshall at Talking Points Memo turned up a picture of him hanging out with them last summer.

By the way, if you get some e-mails from people around the country asking you the same question, it’s because I’ve posted your story on my blog, Bark Bark Woof Woof. We all would like to know whether you and WFOR got suckered into putting him on your panel, or the fix was in. Which was it? How did a Republican party man get on your panel?

Mr. Corral replied today:

Thank you for your interest in the article and for your feedback. It’s always welcome. Ted Lyons continues to insist he was undecided before the debate. Although he is a Republican, he says he had serious misgivings about Bush’s approach to Iraq and wanted to see how Kerry fared before deciding. Thanks again for your awareness and interest,

Oscar Corral, reporter

Miami Herald

I responded:

Thanks for getting back to me on Mr. Lyons. May I ask, though, how did you or Channel 4 find this group of “undecided” voters? Did you run an ad or something, or did he volunteer? I’m curious because unless you’re out there randomly asking people on the street and drafting them, I’d be suspicious of anyone offering their services; they probably have an agenda. How do you know you didn’t get taken in?

Based on Mr. Lyons response and his background, he seemed all too eager to state his position, and if he insists he’s still “undecided,” that’s about as believable as the guy who says he buys Playboy only for the interviews.

“Continues to insist” my ass. That sounds like the excuse of a reporter who got conned and is now too ashamed to admit it. I can’t speak for Mr. Corral’s other reporting – this is the first time I remember seeing his byline – but if this represents the level of curiosity and research being done at a major newspaper, it’s no wonder bloggers are now seen as the new source of investigative journalism. Sheesh.