Just a Little Bit Pregnant…

Thomas Roberts appeared on LOGO with Wanda Sykes and Johnny Dollar was the first to spot this clip. Everyone who has a beef outstanding with Roberts over his voter suppression anchoring/opinionizing on MSNBC is going to want to kick their TV in (paging Noah Rothman). But I’m past that because that genie has not only left the bottle…he’s put that bottle up for sale. I’m far more interested in the tap dance Roberts does when Sykes asks him who he’s voting for…

There are lots of possible responses Roberts could have given here. My preference would have been “It’s really nobody’s business who I vote for.” Instead Roberts gave the one with the biggest boomerang potential.

Roberts: I’m a journalist

Consider the context of that statement. Roberts just spent the previous seconds discussing how the GOP is suppressing the vote (his opinion). He just crossed past the “I’m a journalist” shield lexicon into the realm of the opinionator. But he quickly scurries back to the other side when pressed about who he’s going to vote for.

Roberts can’t have it both ways. He can’t on the one hand leave the realm of the journalist and attempt to make statements of fact which are actually open to interpretation and then on the other hand use the journalist label as an excuse to not reveal who he’s voting for. That my friend is trying to act like you’re only a little bit pregnant. You’re not. You’re pregnant…stop trying to frame it as anything other than that. You’re just deluding yourself.

BTW, Sykes’ response to Roberts’ statement is just priceless…

51 Responses to “Just a Little Bit Pregnant…”

  1. I had a problem with Andrea Mitchell using that phrase, but I’ve changed my mind. There is no statistically significant problem with voters’ identification in this country. To call what Republicans are doing with Voter ID as anything other than an attempt to keep the poor and minorities at home on Election Day is journalistic malpractice. We all know what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it. Stop pretending there’s two sides to this story.

  2. It’s never ‘bias’ when liberals deem it to be right. So I guess Roberts now gets to be a “journalist” again, and MSwhatever is just fine.

  3. I agree that there’s no statistical reason to justify voter ID laws. I further stipulate that the conflation between voter fraud and voter registration fraud is one of the most frequently committed sins in journalism. But to say that there’s absolutely no reason to believe that there aren’t two sides to this story is a pretty sweeping generalization to me.

  4. I agree that there’s no statistical reason to justify voter ID laws.

    If that’s true, then what is the other side? The average Republican voter believes this is a real problem because their politicians and TV/radio/internet opinionators are lying to them. That’s the story.

  5. So I guess Roberts now gets to be a “journalist” again..

    Nope. He’s shown bias in other ways, including as a fill-in opinion host.

  6. Just describe what the legislation requires and then let the viewers decide whether it’s voter suppression or an attempt to eliminate voter fraud.

    Example: I think the President’s recess appointments last year were unconstitutional. The Senate was still in session. But it would be wrong for a reporter/anchor to describe it as unconstitutional. It’s just my interpretation of what happened. Just tell us what he did and we’ll decide whether it was proper or not.

    As to Roberts’ unwillingness to admit who he votes for: this is one the more strange responses by journalists – not just Roberts – to this question. They insist that they keep their opinions out of their stories and that the layers of editorial fact checking weed out bias but for some reason they won’t say who they voted for.

    If you keep your views of your work and have editors to double check things, why not tell us your voting habits? Very weird.

  7. One more: the Republican goal can be both, right? Mitigate fraud and also lower Democratic turnout.

    Doesn’t have to be either/or.

  8. Even better “journalist” story: Several months ago, MSNBC’s Richard Wolff was a guest on the Craig Ferguson show. Ferguson asked him what his political affiliation was and Wolff replied, “I’m a journalist.” And Ferguson shot back, “Oh, so then you’re a Democrat.”

  9. Judging the constitutionality of an action is almost always open to debate. The impetus behind the Republican push against voter registration fraud is not. It’s a statistical non-issue against the Republicans, which could become one against the Democrats. This legislation has the potential to prevent people who are constitutionally granted the right to vote from doing so. There is no other side to this story.

    Btw, where’s the push against voting-by-mail fraud? Oh right..lots of Republicans vote that way…

  10. I think we all know who Thomas Roberts is voting for.

  11. Though I do like the guy.

  12. He’s better as an opinion guy. He shouldn’t be anchoring the news.

  13. “Judging the constitutionality of an action is almost always open to debate”

    And judging the motives behind a piece of legislation can also be complicated.

    As I said, Republicans have more than one purpose here: clearly it’s to lower Dem. turnout; but they also think, rightly or not, that there’s significant voter fraud and it needs to be addressed.

    They still think Richard Daley is running Chicago too, I guess. There’s very little voter fraud and this is a dumb way to address.

    But stupidity is different than malice.

  14. “Editorial journalism” is what’s hot right now Joe. That’s why FOX “News” is #1 and MSNBC is #1 at 9pm and 10pm.

  15. …but they also think, rightly or not, that there’s significant voter fraud and it needs to be addressed.

    Right. There’s no evidence of it on any remotely significant scale, but they just “think” it. Sorry, they represent the public. They can’t legislate because they dreamt something up with no statistics to prove their theory. They’re trying to suppress liberal voters; they know that’s what they’re doing; and they’re lying about it.

  16. I dont see it a voter supp…..the Gop just wants the Democrat to come out in support of no id reqiured and then use it to bash them……and since Voter ID polls at +70% for them its a good idea.

    BTW: Since you dont have to show a ID at the polls…how do we really know its NOT a problem? Also since you have to show a ID to register….just how did the register to being with?

    IMHO…..I really dont care for myself I have ID…..and I have NEVER met anyone who didnt but if they cant get one for free its a poll tax.

  17. I do see it as voter suppression. I’m gonna have to move three weeks early in order to be able to vote this year (complicated story). Even then, it’s not a sure thing with Virginia’s voter ID laws.

    Republicans poll better than Democrats on every issue because most Americans are idiots with the attention span of a gnat and think every single problem (or, in this case, non-existent problem) has a 140 character solution. And it’s not Republican voters who are affected by this so what care do they give?

  18. The number of legitimate voters who would be prevented from voting due to voter ID requirements is also a statistical non-issue. “Minority & poor” does not mean helpless and stupid. As for voting by mail, I’m not sure how to go about curbing it but I don’t like it one bit. I get myself to the voting booth every election because it’s my duty as a citizen.

  19. There are like five cases of voter fraud. So the idiots on the right write laws that affect millions of people so “voter Id, which will allow Governor Romney to win Pennsylvania” can be done. I mean, honestly, the idiots aren’t even trying to conceal their true motives behind voter ID laws. But since their base doesn’t care about the facts, they get a free pass.

  20. The potential for voting corruption is far more about local and congressional than it is about presidential elections. Whether it’s enough of a problem to do something about it now is debatable, but the incentive for corrupting the system is in where some of the hundreds of billions of dollars get spent as well as who, precisely, is given preferential treatment in laws that are enacted.

    With that much at stake, I’d think most Americans would be in favour of a robust voter verification system. If you don’t like voter ID, propose a better way that accomplishes the same thing.

    Answer this honestly only to yourself: If a Democrat you favour wins a close race and you quickly find out – to a level of your own satisfaction – that it was certainly unqualified voters who put this person over the top, would you hope that the courts overturn the election?

  21. ^ Of course. This country has a representative government decided by vote. If the representative is there dishonestly, then fair representation has been breached.

    Insisting on a very specific form of ID is unnecessary and discriminatory. You got a Social Security Number? You get to vote. We’re not terrorists who need to be rooted out of the voting booth. We’re Americans with the right to vote.

  22. ^ Non-US citizens are issued social security numbers. Also, why do you assume it’s only non-US citizens who might be doing the fraudulent voting?

  23. Then a Medicaid card or a student ID..whatever. I’m not assuming very many people commit voter registration fraud PERIOD. We simply do not have a statistically significant number of people wandering into a voting booth and saying their name is John Smith if it’s Joe Bernard. It’s not an issue.

  24. Student IDs would count as photo ID, and I assume you realise that in order to get a student ID you need to furnish a WHOLE bunch of documents including your birth certificate, your passport if you’re not an American, etc. Now that I think about it, pretty much the same is true for your Medicare card, so these people would have no problem whatsoever meeting the voter ID requirements.

    We’ve seen several news reports in recent years of more people voting in a district than there were registered voters. How does that happen? News reports and news opinion discussions about this always look to the top of the ticket and determine it to be a little thing that made no difference. They never seem to consider that it might have changed the vote enough for a ballot proposal… such as allowing casinos or overturning a zoning commission ruling.

    With all of the elaborate fraud schemes going on these days, it seems relatively easy task for a determined group to pull-off a well-organised plan to steal an election. And with the kind of money and power at stake, I find it hard to believe that it isn’t already happening.

  25. It doesn’t have to be a Joe Bernard pretending to be John Smith. It could really be Joe Bernard pretending he lives in Sausilto after previously registering his name at a valid address that somebody else told him to use. That Joe would have a difficult time casting this (possibly second) vote if the California DL he had to produce showed he really lived in…

  26. That’s an awful lot of words to avoid the facts: Voter registration fraud is not a problem. The GOP is trying to make it harder for liberals to vote. Period.

  27. I would be embarrassed if my ideology had created a sub-group of people for whom it might be assumed that they would have difficulty obtaining identification. My son registered, and there were forms to help you obtain an ID if you don’t have a Driver’s License or Learner’s Permit. I can’t imagine that it’s any different in other states, certainly not in states more progressive than Georgia. And if your state makes it difficult for you to obtain an ID, just wait until they’re in charge of your healthcare.
    It’s a perfectly reasonable requirement, and the hysterical opposition is what indicates an ulterior motive.

  28. The Republicans have decided there is a problem with no basis in fact. They’re trying to intimidate people into staying home on Election Day.

  29. People who are too feckless to meet a basic requirement. No great loss.

  30. You’ll be waking up to this. It’s going to be bad.


  31. But hey, at least we’ve got the greatest foreign policy president ever on the case!

  32. There’s no law stating that being a “journalist’ prohibits you from expressing your opinion on a subject. It happens all the time. Someone can be an opinion giver; like Billo or Maddow, and still be a journalist reporting stories that are accurate and newsworthy. Where you cross the line is when you distort the story to back your opinion. If the news you are reporting is true then you are a “journalist”.

  33. “With all of the elaborate fraud schemes going on these days, it seems relatively easy task for a determined group to pull-off a well-organised plan to steal an election. And with the kind of money and power at stake, I find it hard to believe that it isn’t already happening.””

    ^^ Al, that’s what people believe happened in Florida in 2000.

  34. fritz, may I introduce you to Sen. Al Franken.

  35. There is a not so short history of Democrat political machines stuffing ballot boxes and manipulating the vote. The 1960 presidential election anyone? Republicans remember that even if Democrats look the other way.

    To be sure, almost all of that has disappeared (we still see “walking around” or “street” money being distributed however).

    It’s a small problem and Republicans are using a blunderbuss to address it.

    If they suppress the Dem. vote along the way is another benefit.

    In any case, anchors/journalists calling it “vote suppression” is simply irresponsible. Let the public decide whether it’s suppression or eliminating fraud.

  36. Heyyyy Spud! Kind of a big news day…

  37. Pretty finny to see people whine, “There is no evidence of fraud!” While also saying, “It will keep people away!”

    There is as much evidence (if not more) to show that fraud, in some degree, has taken place… as there is that a substantial portion of the population won’t be able to get an ID.

    But it’s all on what you WANT to believe, before considering the facts.

  38. The facts are in the statistics. Voter intimidation will disenfranchise many more people than ever committed actual voter registration fraud. It’s a game your side is playing, and you pretend like you don’t know what’s really up.

  39. -disenfranchise-

    Translation: People who have very good reasons for not wanting to do what’s needed to obtain identification… arrest warrants, to name just one. Tough.

  40. And what stats would those be, Joe? Come on… link me up.

  41. Voter registration fraud is about as common as the chances of being struck by lightning.


  42. I will ask again….since we dont check anyones ID….just how can anyone tell there isnt fraud?

    Thats like saying speeding is rare….but you never run Radar.

    I will say it aagin the GOP just needs a issue to bash the dems with and since +70% back voter ID this is a great one to do it with.

  43. Also just so you know Joes link is from a Guy who worked for BIll Clinton…not very non-partisan .

    Since +70% back voter Id laws….that mean allot of Dems and (I) also back them……if the ID are free I dont see the problem.

  44. Yes, the article meticulously references well known data, but anyone who doesn’t like the numbers can clam “bias” and walk off. Which is why my usual answer to “show me the links” is “look it up, buddy”. Nobody cares what the links say.

  45. You’ll find similar arguments demonstrating that the number of qualified-to-vote people who want to but can’t because of voter ID requirements is equally insignificant. It’s a risk assessment of not just what the level has historically been but also what its future potential could be. This has to be argued against the level of imposition necessary to eliminate the risk. People will see this differently and, for various areas of the country, it can actually be different.

    It’s a state issue and should stay that way. If a politician of whatever party proposes a federal requirement for voter ID, I’m opposed.

    Interesting tidbit: The 26th Amendment guarantees that no one who has attained the age of 18 years can be denied the right to vote because of their age. There’s nothing to prevent any state that wants to from allowing younger people to vote.

  46. So ignoring that the guy who wrote Joe’s link is a former Clinton guy… and ignoring that he was writing for a group known to be funded and associated with the Soros empire, let’s consider what it has to say… about the potential to disenfranchise people.

    Aaaand, nothing.

    So I guess we’re left still waiting for that evidence that people won’t be allowed to vote, and it will disenfranchise large swaths of people.

  47. There’s plenty of data extrapolating what effect these laws will have on folks who will give up trying to get to the polls rather than go through whatever hoops are being set up for them. Google it.

  48. Exactly.

    There is equally “plenty” of data extrapolating voter fraud across the country.

    In other words, you’re arguing that some data isn’t as good as the other data, when in truth, they’re both pretty much the same. If you want to claim there isn’t enough information to warrant voter ID laws, fine. But you cannot then logically argue disenfranchisement, when that’s equally unknown.

  49. You`re a journalist Roberts?.Then start acting like one, people like you are the problem.

  50. […] Can you picture Walter Cronkite, or Bret Baier for that matter, telling his viewers “you’re a chicken-eating Judas” if you patronize Chick-Fil-A? That’s Thomas Roberts. Does an impartial news anchor look into the camera and tell viewers how “dirty” and “ugly” a political committee is? That’s Thomas Roberts. How about tweeting insults at political figures he doesn’t agree with? That’s Thomas Roberts. And then, as election-day approaches, warning his audience that Republicans are trying to keep you from voting? That’s Thomas Roberts. […]

  51. […] hope you didn’t expect any pushback on that last one from Mr. Roberts. After all, he’s said the same thing himself! It hardly seems necessary to point out the lack of any conservative or Republican […]

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