Disgraced ex-CBS anchor Dan Rather delved into conspiracy theories on Monday, speculating that the Ohio Republican Party could steal the election for Mitt Romney. In a Facebook posting for Dan Rather Reports, the journalist hyped, "The whole upper tier of Ohio state government is in the hands of the GOP now; in very close voting they have the power to influence what votes are counted and how."
Linking back to other conspiracy theories, Rather reminded, "Remember Ohio, Bush v. Kerry in 2004 and Florida, Bush v. Gore in 2000)." The former CBS Evening News host seemed to be echoing the fevered claims of Keith Olbermann, one of the first proponents of the idea that Bush stole the 2004 election.
On November 8, 2004, Oblermann raved: "Did the new voting technology tamper with last weeks presidential election?...There is a small but blood curdling group of reports of voting irregularities and possible fraud - principally in Ohio and Florida."
Other examples of the paranoia Rather is now copying:
Last night we began our newscast with a run-down of the irregularities in Florida and Ohio....Why is it that this is like the second large-scale report on this on a national level? Did every news organization give up on this story the moment John Kerry conceded the election?
--Olbermann's introduction and first question to Congressional Quarterly columnist Craig Crawford on the November 9 Countdown.
Intimidation, harassment, fabrication, doctoring, spinning, de-contextualizing and actual truth-telling have all been facets of the continuing firestorm over the probity of the elections on the Internet. The latest dueling weapons: scholarly analyses from researchers at major universities. One suggests that the actual statistical odds that the exit polling was wrong that wrong were 250 million to one.
--Olbermann on the November 12 Countdown.
See below for Rather's Facebook comments. [Posted October 22, 2012, 10am.]
This theory was too much for even the liberal Salon, which at the time found "no evidence that Bush won because of voter fraud."
On his October 2 program, Rather's program highlighted current fears about Ohio: "An investigation into new voting hours in Ohio that some Democrats claim will suppress the turnout."
Perhaps Rather is simply trying to get some attention for himself. After all, his program is now airing on something called Axs.TV.
During the post-election struggle in 2000, Rather, as anchor of CBS Evening News, was openly skeptical as to George W. Bush's legitimacy:
"What about the argument, which I'm sure you've heard, that Vice President Gore is continuing to contest the election because he is absolutely convinced that more Floridians went to the polls to vote for him than did for George Bush, and that the proof of that is how hard you and others are fighting on behalf of George Bush to stop the counting?"
-- Dan Rather to Bush lawyer Ben Ginsberg, November 27 CBS Evening News.
"To those who are absolutely convinced that the Supreme Court had a Republican majority and wanted a Republican President and voted politics not the law. As an attorney, and as our President, you say what?"
-- Dan Rather to Bill Clinton, December 19 60 Minutes II.