Monday, January 10, 2005

Fahrenheit Bullshit Stuffing

Last night, Michael Moore won the People's Choice Award for best movie. Today, The New York Post whines as it wins the people's choice award for worst loser.

In a sorry excuse for a news article, Gersh Kuntzman - who I used to think was one of the few not-so-bad "journalists" for the Post - accuses Mr. Moore of cheating through the use of "ballot-stuffing" to win the award. "Ballot-stuffing" in this scenario, I presume, would entail encouraging fans to engage in multiple voting. Most Internet polls go by the "one computer, one vote" rule, but there are ways around it. As far as I know, there is no evidence of Mr. Moore or anyone else (the Kuntzman also accuses that Focker, Barbra Streisand, of circumventing the vote) calling for this type of (not exactly earth-shattering) election fraud, but that doesn't stop Mr. Kuntzman from making the accusation. As far and as close as I know, Mr. Kuntzman doesn't possess one lick of evidence that anyone voted for the documentary more than once.

In the world according to Gersh, the documentary won the award " - amid allegations of ballot stuffing via the Internet." But the article doesn't contain a single quote from any extraneous source hurling this charge. Nor does it say who called him and told him to write this slop. But now the unfounded charges can be found all over the worst part of the blogosphere (not neccessarily because Gersh's work is well-known got me...the only guess I would take is alluded to in the preceding sentence).

Mr. zman (I think I'm going to leave out the rest of his surname for the sake of the children) writes, "Although he lost to mainstream hit flicks like "Shrek 2" and "Spiderman 2 at the box office, Moore had the last laugh, taking advantage of the People's Choice Awards' new Internet voting system to enable "Fahrenheit" to trounce those flicks as favorite motion picture." That has to qualify as the most retarded sentence I've ever read in The New York Post over the last five minutes. As most of the world knows, "Fahrenheit" was the highest grossing documentary of all-time, and one of the top 10 highest grossing films of the year; it's competition at the box office wasn't against $100 million dollar blockbusters, and to say it lost isn't just disingenuous it's preposterous. But then comes my favorite sentence: "[a]ccepting the award, Moore didn't refer to his call for ballot-stuffing." That's because it never happened, you eediot!

The People's Choice Awards take their electoral system seriously. Here are the pertinent "terms and conditions" posted at their Website: "All voting will be subject to verification and certification by an independent third party auditor. No automatic, programmed, robotic or similar means of voting are permitted. Participants who do not comply with these Terms and Conditions, or who attempt to interfere with the voting process or the operation of the Web Site in any way will be disqualified and their votes will not be counted. PCA reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend voting should any virus, bug, non-authorized human intervention, fraud or other causes beyond its control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness or proper conduct of the voting process. All decisions regarding the voting process shall be final and shall not be subject to challenge or appeal." Did Mr. zman consult with the "independent third party auditor" before penning his libelous words? Doubtful, since no "independent third party auditor" is quoted from in the article, either.

Mel Gibson's "The Passion" won for best drama, which - according to gushing Gersh - "earned a bit of revenge for consevatives." Hmmm. Revenge by using Jesus. Sounds very Christian, doesn't it.

But, then I got to thinking, did Mr. Gibson engage in any calls for ballot-stuffing or, perhaps, ballot-praying?

Why doesn't Mr. zman mention any campaigns for "Passion" votes?

It's not like the right hasn't trolled for Gibson votes before (sorry, too many links on my might have to scroll down):

Con Web Watch has more on this campaign to protect Mel's "good name." While Anthony's Apple chides both sides for participating in "the most obvious case of voter fraud since the recent Ukraine and Ohio Presidential elections," he also provides this interesting paragraph: "With "The Passion of the Christ", Christians and especially evangelicals turned the vote into a fervent religious crusade just as they did in buying-out entire theatres and giving away the tickets when the movie was in theatres." I spent a good amount of time googling and technorating, but I wasn't able to find much evidence of this. But I only go to blogs, I don't frequent churches or synagogues, so I can't confirm this. Perhaps there are pictures somewhere of billboards on churchyards which read, "Repent Ye Sinners, God Wants You To Vote For Mad Max." But, Ambience Force is one faith-based Website which did officially endorse Mel Gibson's vision of the last days of Jesus and the hook-nosed Jews that killed him.

Then I got to thinking. What's the best word to describe the concept of "ballot-stuffing" on the Internet? The answer, of course, is "freep." Sure enough, Mel Gibson has friends at the Free Republic (For Me Not You). In a post written on the first day of last December, entitled Vote for 'The Passion' as the People's Choice Award for Favorite Film (Freepin' Hollyweird!), gopwinsin04 beseeches his brother freepers to vote for "Passion" so that it makes the final list of nominees and "you may vote until December 13th." But the damning part of the post: "You know what to do!" That is an endorsement for ballot-stuffing, no question about it, because that is what freepers do.

Gopwinsin04 cites Laura Ingraham's Website for the story, and this link to a message board at World Magazine shows "that Laura Ingraham has a link on her web site where you can vote The Passion for best movie for the upcoming People's Choice Awards (The Passion was nominated). Tell your friends, especially considering the garbage that The Passion is contending with." The evil one must have removed it from her Website, though, and I didn't have any luck finding any caches.

Some conservative bloggers (Example 1 & Example 2) believe that campaigning for a People's Choice Award qualifies as a form of fraud. Well, I do, too. Not in this case, of course. But imagine, if you will, an a nominal nominee (for something just-a-wee-bit more important) who travels around the country on his "campaign" to speak to crowds that are pre-screened, must sign waivers or promises of support, and, in many cases, volunteer to make phone calls or put up big bucks in exchange for front row seats, all the while knowing that the fix is in. Mommy, please make that bad dream go away.


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