Dan Rather Takes on Florida Voting Machine Problems -- Through Google Video?
It's a compelling 12-minute clip, tracing the problems with voting identified in Sarasota, Fla. to a factory in the Philippines assembling faulty electronic voting machines in a sweatshop environment.
And it's entirely possible more people may see this clip -- floated by former CBS anchor Dan Rather and his compatriots at HD Net on Google Video -- than will see the actual, hourlong report on voting irregularities, which airs for the channel's limited audience at 8 tonight and throughout the rest of the week.
Starting with protests by Democratic candidate Christine Jennings, who saw more than 18,000 electronic ballots in Sarasota County record no vote for Congress in her race for the seat vacated by Katherine Harris (she lost by 373 votes to Republican Vern Buchanan), Rather's story vaults to a factory in Manila where workers allege they assembled voting machine with minimal testing and faulty touchscreens imported from the U.S.
Rather shows one Philippine worker who says he was paid $2 to $2.50 an hour for his work, done in a hot factory with no air conditioning. testing amounted to shaking the machine to see if any loose parts rattled around. And the most defective parts of the unit, an unreliable touchscreen, was manufactured in the U.S.
Unfortunately, Rather and HD Net didn't announce the broadcast of this eight-month investigation until Monday, declining to make review copies of the entire story available to critics in time for review. Given that HD Net only reaches about 4-million viewers, it's more likely that the Google Video clip -- already linked on numerous blogs -- will reach many more eyeballs.
It's also worth noting that the clip doesn't feature any rebuttal from public officials who support the use of the voting machines or officials who run the companies which manufacture them. And despite Rather's claims to Associated Press that "our story is not that the election would have turned out differently in 2000," it's hard not to draw that inference, when you see Jennings protesting the anomaly of 18,000 non-votes.
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