by Scoobie Davis
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Tonight on Special Report, there was a panel to discuss election issues comprised of Morton Kondracke, NPR's Mara Liasson, Charles Krauthammer, and host Brit Hume--three partisan Republicans and one nonpartisan (Liasson). It was a joke. When the panel discussed voter disenfranchisement in Florida, Kondracke--against all evidence--referred to voter disenfranchisement in 2000 as "an urban legend." Krauthammer called talk of disenfranchisement "a fraud" and brought up the canard of Democratic disenfranchisement of military ballots. Liasson only spoke about spoiled ballots (and very tepidly). The panel also used the polling data from RealClearPolitics.
Write NPR's ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin at email@example.com and JDvorkin@npr.org and ask him to review the 10/19/04 edition of Fox News' Special Report. Ask about possible violations of NPR's ethical guidelines. Issues of particular concern: 1)Was there a conflict of interest in that a legitimate journalist (Liasson) was pitted against three pro-Republican operatives? 2)Did Liasson's participation in this sham discussion serve the audience members' best interests? 3)Did this discussion further the ideals of truth, both factually and contextually? 4) Did this discussion promote fairness, accuracy, and balance? 5)Did this forum adhere to the ethical standards of public radio?