By Prioleau Alexander
Here at the Mercury we always welcome reader input. Conversation is important, as it is the only way a group of people can arrive at a consensus. As a result of my column in last month’s issue, “Healing and dealing the Biden way,” I was accused by several readers of perpetuating conspiracy theories and lies regarding the election night pause and Hunter Biden’s laptop, and the Mercury was accused of giving them a voice. (These letters are reprinted at the bottom of this column.)
I fear that these readers and I have different beliefs on what constitutes “lies.”
On the evening of the election, all the major news outlets reported that a number of battleground states “stopped counting.” I personally believe this was to manipulate the counting; other Americans believe either there were no stoppages or that the ones that did occur were entirely innocent. We simply disagree.
Regardless, the fact remains the media reported several states stopped counting: That these stoppages occurred in battleground states gives me great pause. I did not, however, state my belief regarding fraud as I’m doing right now — I left it to the reader to decide. (My words were: I’ll leave the reality of that inconvenient truth to you, dear reader.) Are these words sarcastic? Yes, and I apologize if they were overly so — I thought the turn of a phrase was funny, but I’ve been wrong many times.
However, covering politics is part of my job, so on election night I was switching between TV stations, not reading Trump supporter’s Facebook posts as was suggested. I heard with my own ears the major media outlets reporting there were delays/pauses in several battleground states. Although most of the states were led by a Democrat governor (by the way, I was referring to Nevada, not Georgia, as the fifth state with a Democratic governor to take a vote count break), it was Georgia, led by a Republican governor, that went on to become the biggest laughingstock of all.
However, I can understand why there would be confusion about this. On the night of the election every TV news outlet proclaimed “a water main” broke. That would lead one to believe there was water raining down onto the ballot counters. I remember the exact wording and the widespread reporting because my jaw was on the floor, pondering the odds.
But anyone who had spent “minutes of research” on the topic would have found the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on November 17 that “the water leak was originally reported as a burst pipe, but days later officials corrected themselves to say it was a leaky toilet spilling water into a room with ballots early on Election Day.”
On December 7, Gabriel Sterling, the voting implementation manager for Georgia, spoke at a press conference that was recorded by C-SPAN, and stated, “Let’s be clear, there was no water main break. There was a urinal that they turn off during the downtime at State Farm [Arena in Atlanta] because there’s no events going on there. And it had a little slow leak that came over the side.”
Almost immediately following the election, reports from multiple sources (including the mainstream media) began to come out regarding the voting spikes that happened to occur in the same cities where the reported stoppage/pauses took place. Biden-supporting commentators said these spikes were expected and did not represent any real news. However, a simple website search will connect you to dozens of experts, mathematicians and analysts who claim the spikes were a mathematical impossibility. In all fairness, a search with different wording will connect you to dozens of experts making the opposite claim.
Regardless, the reason why these states stopped counting (or why the media reported they stopped counting) remains largely a mystery, because, to my knowledge, the president’s legal team never actually made their full case in a court of law. On one side there are the DNC shouts of “There is no evidence of fraud!” On the RNC side there are the shouts of “The election was clearly stolen!”
My point? The issue of election fraud is not “debunked.”
Yes, it has been debunked by MSNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, et al. As a result, about 60 percent of Americans believe this means the issue is settled once and for all. It does not. To me and 40 percent of Americans, those outlets are laughably biased.
However, let’s take the position these readers are completely correct. Let’s agree reports the night of the election were incorrect across the board, and they have been successfully investigated and — except for the leaky urinal in Atlanta — no polling place paused for even a moment. I assume that is an acceptable compromise?
If that is the case, 40 percent of Americans don’t believe it. Forty percent of Americans believe there were mathematically impossible spikes that occurred in the favor of President Biden. Forty percent of Americans want to know why 1,000+ people signed affidavits (under penalty of perjury) stating they saw election fraud. And 40 percent of Americans want to know why the areas being disputed are in some of the most famously corrupt cities in America.
If President Trump had been declared the victor, and 40 percent of America believed he stole it, I’d want every layer of the onion peeled, if for no other reason than to prove it was completely above board. Is that a bad thing? To assuage the anger of 40 percent of the nation? Isn’t this needed to successfully realize the calls to “heal” the nation? Or is the call to “heal” only directed at the 10 percent of Trump supporters who feel the election was above board?
I understand, of course, that 50 percent of America thought President Trump stole the 2016 election, so Congress and the DOJ spent four years wielding subpoena power and an unlimited budget trying to prove it. We know how that turned out. If the Democrats can spend four years investigating Trump’s election, is it unreasonable they might spend four months investigating President Biden’s? Please remember that the two-year investigation of President Trump’s election was so widespread and invasive, some of his colleagues were sent to jail for unrelated matters — matters discovered by FBI agents who were combing through every single personal facet of their lives.
And speaking of the FBI, it’s certainly possible to believe it to be an organization above reproach, as I did a short four years ago. However, the mountain of evidence connecting them to illegal activities is breathtaking: spying, wiretaps, lying on FISA court applications sourcing a dossier they knew to be paid for by the Clinton campaign, Agent Peter Strzok and his paramour texting that “we’ll stop it” regarding Trump’s reelection ... it would take hours to write up all the illegal activity that is public knowledge.
In terms of Hunter Biden’s laptop, the store owner provided the hard-drive to the FBI, which they kept hidden from the public for months. Only after the store owner gave the hard drive to the president’s attorneys did the story come to light. Both the store owner and Rudy Giuliani stated publicly that the hard drive contains information connecting President Biden directly to his son’s illegal dealings with China. The store owner has received death threats, and as a result closed his shop and moved his place of residence.
It should also be noted that Anthony Bobulinski, Hunter Biden’s ex-business partner, has stated in numerous venues that former “Vice President Joe Biden was part of discussions around his son’s efforts to form an investment venture with a Chinese oil company.”
In a letter to the New York Post, Bobulinski wrote, “Hunter Biden called his dad ‘the Big Guy’ or ‘my Chairman,’ and frequently referenced asking him for his sign-off or advice on various potential deals that we were discussing. I’ve seen Vice President Biden saying he never talked to Hunter about his business. I’ve seen firsthand that that’s not true, because it wasn’t just Hunter’s business, they said they were putting the Biden family name and its legacy on the line.”
CNN/MSNBC/ABC/CBS/NBC did such an excellent job hiding the laptop story from the public that a poll by the Media Research Center found that 50.4 percent of Biden voters had no idea that a controversy concerning Hunter’s laptop even existed.
Interestingly, on December 10, CNN filed an extensive story about the federal investigation of Hunter’s laptop and even included this telling sentence: Now that the election is over, the investigation is entering a new phase.
Based on what was reported, I believe that several battleground states did stop/pause counting: I also believe the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop would expose deep corruption within the Biden family, but it will never be revealed to the public, as it will be killed by the new administration. President Biden will never “level with us” about the laptop and will never answer questions about it, except to claim it is “Russia disinformation.”
So it comes down to this: My opinion vs your opinion. And no matter how much you may wish it, your opinion doesn’t cancel out mine … nor does my opinion cancel out yours.
In closing, let me say I do understand the reason for these reader objections. President Trump inspired rage and hatred among tens of millions of Americans, and the American left wishes to disgrace him in every way possible. There have even been dozens of calls from the media for people like me to be “deprogrammed” from the “cult” I’ve joined. If I felt the same way, I too would want disagreement suppressed.
However, when we start using language like “do not insinuate, hint, suggest, or promote an alternative reality,” we get into dangerous territory.
I must admit, that is an excellent way to keep a narrative straight. If my memory serves me correctly, the “party narrative” was maintained using that same philosophy under Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot — and continues to work today in Iran, China, North Korea and Russia.
I for one reject censorship, and I’m thankful to work at a newspaper that still supports free speech — a paper that allows writers to opine and is willing to print the responses of readers who disagree. I hope they’ll feel vindicated in some small way that their letters have been printed and their thoughts have been heard. It’s our responsibility to give them a voice.
Prioleau Alexander is author of You Want Fries With That?: A White-Collar Burnout Experiences Life at Minimum Wage and Dispatches Along the Way: An American Humorist Staggers Across Spain in Pursuit of Happiness, Truth, and a Cold Beer, both of which are very good and may be found at local bookshops for a reasonable price. A graduate of Auburn University, he once drove a tractor (an amphibious one, anyway) for a living; he is the owner of a damn fine dog.
Hi there. I’m a longtime Post & Courier subscriber who receives the Charleston Mercury with my paper on occasion. I took great offense at Prioleau Alexander’s column this month.
While I appreciate the Mercury prides itself on running columns that espouse differing viewpoints, this was over the line. Alexander repeats debunked myths — for starters, “five battleground states with Democratic governors stopped counting votes on election night” and “family laptops that might have information connecting” [Biden] to China.
By giving this and other lies an outlet — yes, even in an op-ed — the Mercury is perpetuating the falsehoods that continue to divide our country. It’s downright irresponsible. Please retract Alexander’s misleading assertions and demand that any future columns be backed up with actual facts.
I was reading P. Alexander’s “Healing and dealing the Biden way” piece from the Charleston Mercury’s February 2021 edition, and stopped midway to do some fact checking.
In paragraph 2, Alexander says he has “a problem with the fact that five battleground states with Democrat governors stopped counting votes on election night”, implying that Trump won the election on Nov. 3. This type of statement stokes the fires in the bellies of the Proud Boys and other violent types, is factually incorrect and is so damaging when our country needs to move forward. A quick Google search reveals that his statement probably originated from a Trump supporter’s Facebook post referring to early Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Georgia results. He must have spent minutes researching this piece of misinformation! And by the way, the governor of Georgia was a Republican, not a Democrat. But why let facts get in the way of a good bout of rage.
The reality is as of 2:25 p.m. EST on Nov. 4 (that would be the next day, by the way) the Associated Press had called only Wisconsin in favor of Joe Biden. None of the other states had been decided, and counting had not stopped. Election officials in Fulton County, G.A., briefly paused counting for four hours after a pipe burst at a facility in Atlanta where ballots were being processed. No ballots were damaged. They fixed the pipe and kept counting overnight. Archived results from Wisconsin and Pennsylvania show that they continued to count ballots overnight on Nov. 3. By law, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin were not allowed to start counting mail-in ballots until Election Day, or just before. Manually counting mail-in ballots is a time-consuming process and takes more time than in-person votes, thus resulting in reporting delays overnight on Nov. 3. North Carolina did, in fact, stop counting votes overnight, and it had nothing to do with Trump leading the race. North Carolina stopped counting votes on election night because there were no more votes to count at that time, and the results showed that Trump has a slight edge over Biden. County boards of election across the state then began counting provisional and absentee ballots that were postmarked by Election Day. You know, like the votes sent in from our overseas military, for example.
The bottom line is none of the states EVER stopped counting votes, and there’s no evidence they tried to swing the results in favor of Biden.
It is the hope of so many of us that such false information as perpetuated by Alexander will once and for all STOP! It is over. Biden won. Courts concurred. Please do not insinuate, hint, suggest or promote an alternative reality. In the meantime, I really had no need to continue beyond paragraph two with fact-checking. Fantasy is not my thing. Except I believe that the Chiefs really won the Super Bowl based on what I read on Facebook.
Respectfully submitted with hope that you will publish,
Isle of Palms, S.C.
Editor’s note: The fifth state with a Democratic governor referred to by Mr. Alexander in last month’s column is Nevada.