Open Letter to the Media: Don't Print as True What You Can't Prove

The following Open Letter to the Media is an ongoing campaign to change the way the newsmedia thinks and reports about the inherently unverifiable nature of the U.S. electoral system.

We are asking the Fourth Estate to consider their obligations to verify what they report as fact to the public, and to acknowledge that in the case of U.S. election results, they have no basis for doing so.

We are asking reporters to seriously question their responsibility for perpetuating an illusion of democracy when the vote-counting process is hidden, unobservable, and unaccountable to the public.

We are asking journalists to change news culture by signing on to this letter and sending it to their journalistic peers. Everyone can participate by sending this letter to the editorial departments of newspapers, news magazines, radio and television news departments, and to individual reporters.


We Do Not Consent - Open Letter To The Media

A Public Media Campaign

Send This Letter as an E-mail to Reporters in Your Regional Newsmedia

Dear Media Colleagues,

You are receiving this message because you are known to American progressives as a truth-teller. In this presidential campaign, despite the typical horse-race coverage, we also see the overall corporate media narrative influenced by daily debunking efforts from candidates’ rapid response teams, the blogosphere, and the reality-based coverage and reporting that you provide. We need to take this to the next level.

There are three very simple basic facts about the way US federal elections are conducted now, and we think they lead to an inescapable conclusion that must be addressed. See if you agree:

1. We have secret corporate vote counting computers counting more than 95% of the votes cast in the United States;

2. The absence of paper ballots, and in some cases state’s law, prevents meaningful re-counts throughout much of the country;

3. These electronic voting machines frequently produce results impossible in a legitimate election, such as John Kerry’s negative 25 million votes in Youngstown, OH (Nov. 2004), or Palm Beach County’s 12,000 votes in excess of the number of voters (Aug. 2008).

To us this suggests the conclusion that federal election results are unprovable, even though the media reports them as fact. Can you draw any other conclusion?

It will surprise nobody this November when the outcome is a spoiled mess, riddled with controversy. In fact, we can already say the results –- based on the conditions –- are guaranteed to be inconclusive, unknowable and unprovable.

We must challenge our industry to refuse to report as fact what can’t be proven and hasn’t been independently verified, particularly when the only source of the information is the government itself.

The reality is that the media should be the greatest advocates of hand counting paper ballots because this method of counting allows media greatest access to observing and documenting the process, affording the reported results the greatest credibility.

Transparent coverage of a transparent counting process would create a basis for confidence in the reported results where none currently exists.

As we all know, there is a vibrant community of engaged citizens across the US who collectively self-identify as the “election integrity community.”

They are asking us truth-tellers to challenge our industry, essentially reframing the debate. Many of them have appeared on our shows and in our columns over the past few years, and they are eager to be sources for us now.

But they are also counting on us to take this message forward and we don’t see how we can be truth-tellers without doing that.

Please join us in this concerted effort to use truth-telling yet again to change the corporate media narrative of this presidential campaign.

Respectfully yours,

Dave Berman,; Voter Confidence Committee of Humboldt, CA
Mark Crispin Miller, Author,
Alastair Thompson, Co-Editor/General Manager,
Peter B. Collins, syndicated talk show host.
Michael Collins, “The Money Party,”; Ernest Partridge, Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers
Bernard Weiner, Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers
Rob Kall, Executive Editor & Publisher,
David Swanson, Co-Founder,
Joan Brunwasser, Election Integrity Editor,
Rady Ananda, Senior Editor,
Lynn Landes, freelance journalist,
Tom Courbat, Founder, SAVE R VOTE,
Dan Ashby, Co-Founder and Director,
Linda Milazzo, OpedNews Senior Editor; HuffingtonPost blogger,
Jan Baumgartner, Managing Editor,
Cheryl Biren-Wright, Managing Editor,
Amanda Lang, OEN Managing Editor,
Re-Media Election Transparency Coalition, Joanne Lukacher, Communications Director, Andi Novick, Legal Counsel
Paul R Lehto, Juris Doctor, Author of Election Law Encyclopedia articles
Mark A. Adams JD/MBA founder of and attorney for Clint Curtis.
Catherine Austin Fitts, Scoop “Mapping The Real Deal” Columnist,
John Gideon, Co-Executive Director, VotersUnite.Org
Ellen Theisen, Co-Executive Director, VotersUnite.Org
Bev Harris, founder and director, Black Box Voting (Web site
John Chuckman, Columnist & Cartoonist More Websites: Postcards, Trading Cards, Places
Bernie Ellis Organizer, Gathering To Save Our Democracy (Tennessee) and Convener, National Election Reform Conference Nashville, TN April, 2005 -
Steve Freeman, author, academic and founder of Election
John Russell (FL-5) D -
Jason Leopold, investigative journalist, author - TPR: The Public Record
David L. Griscom, Ph.D.,; Co-Founder, AUDITAZ; Member Coordinating Committee, Election Defense Alliance.
David Earnhardt, filmmaker, “UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections”

Sign on to the letter

A current list of this letter’s signers can be found (as of 11pm - 28 October 2008) at:

If you would like to add your name, please use the form on that page or submit your name and affiliation via e-mail to: