The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, January 13, 2004
 

Robert Novak South Dakota Indian furore - update


(To my piece of January 11.

Why didn't the press call Novak on his allegations? I waited; and then ranted - January 19!)

My reading is, Novak has squat.

The Poor Man's Nexis gives us a piece in the Rapid City Journal (surmised at January 12) which was the basis of an AP piece (them again!).

The Journal pieces starts off with a cringing note worthy of old Uriah Heep himself:
Editor's note: The use of the terms "Indian" and "Native American" to identify the indigenous tribal people of North America is at issue in this story. The Rapid City Journal follows Associated Press style with the use of "American Indian" in first reference in most news stories. When "Native American" or "Indian" is used in a direct quotation, it is not changed. In some circumstances, the Rapid City Journal will identify a group of people using the name of a specific band or tribe, such as Lakota, Oglala Lakota or Winnebago.

Not even the Denver Post at the acme of the influence of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company surely cowered quite so abjectly awaiting the attentions of its master's lash as this poor excuse for a rag!

Indians are apparently around 8% of South Dakota's population - my surmise (nothing more) is that their contribution to the Journal's revenues, one way and another, is rather less than 8%.

If it cannot advance the defence of duress for its attitude, one wonders what else might explain it.

However...

On Saturday (January 10), Novak appeared on CNN's Capital Gang; the relevant exchanges are these, taken from the transcript (inessential differences with the Journal's text)
SHIELDS: Joining us now from Sioux Falls, South Dakota is David Kranz, political writer for "The Sioux Falls Argus Leader." Thank you for coming in, David.

DAVID KRANZ, SIOUX FALLS ARGUS LEADER: Hi, how are you.

[Shields asks/Kranz answers]

SHIELDS: Bob Novak.

NOVAK: David, let me take a minute to say that I created quite an uproar in South Dakota with some remarks I made on this program and on "CROSSFIRE" about Native American voting, I want to say I did not intend any bias against Native Americans. I don't have any bias against Native Americans or anybody else, but I do feel, based on my reporting, that there were very serious voting irregularities in 2002 in South Dakota, which the -- I also believe that -- which the Republican Party, for political purposes, did not want to protest.

My question is, are the Republicans looking at the voting on Indian reservations in this upcoming election and worrying about taking any corrective measures on it?

KRANTZ: Governor Rounds in particular is paying close attention to improving relations with the Native Americans. He's appointed a Native American to the state senate, and they are actively interested in playing this election a lot harder. They feel that they can make a case on the reservation for their side. You have some very key Native Americans, including Russell Means (ph), who tells Democrats, don't take this for granted anymore. You just can't. Tim Daego (ph), a gentlemen who announced his candidacy against Tom Daschle in the primary said the same thing. He says, hey, Democrats, don't take, you know, the Native Americans for granted.


Or, We're not interested, Bob. And no more on election irregularities.

The paper says
Novak did not specify what voting irregularities he identified in his reporting and has not responded to telephone calls from the Rapid City Journal

My reading, as I said, is that Novak has squat, everyone is pretty sure he has squat, and his Capital Gang statement was the last squawk of a dying duck.

We shall see...

(The Journal refers to two cases of voter registration fraud prosecutions, one successful, one in progress. Apparently, there are forged registration documents known to be in circulation.

No stuffed box cases at all, though, at any stage of the criminal process.)


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