….Amid a barrage of “reporting” and commentary on the law—including outlandish and false statements from President Biden, who said it amounted to “Jim Crow in the 21st century” and called the law “sick” and “un-American”—it has been nearly impossible to find any straight news articles that describe, in simple and dispassionate terms, what the Georgia law actually does.
It would not be hard to write such a story if any news organizations cared to do so. As it happens, the Heritage Foundation has posted one of the few articles that simply describes what the law does in an effort to correct the false corporate media narrative that this is a “voter suppression” law.
Contrary to what has been reported by The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and many other corporate outlets, the Georgia law doesn’t contain any onerous voter ID requirements. It simply replaces a shoddy signature match system with a voter ID system, and provides that any Georgia resident can get a state ID for free if he doesn’t already have one (97 percent of registered voters in Georgia already do).
Also contrary to widespread reports, the law doesn’t eliminate drop-boxes for mail-in ballots. Such drop-boxes didn’t exist in Georgia prior to last year; they were an ad-hoc pandemic measure. The bill simply codified them into law, providing a certain number of drop-boxes for every county.
The law also doesn’t ban drinking water while waiting in line at the polls, it simply prohibits political groups from distributing food and water at polling places to prevent efforts to influence voters.
And on and on. In reality, Georgia’s voting law is a ho-hum tweaking of state voting laws. But in the phantasmagoria of corporate media, it’s the new Jim Crow. Major corporations have committed to this fantasy, publicly denouncing the law, intentionally mischaracterizing what it does, and in the case of Major League Baseball, which pulled its All-Star Game out of the state, taking concrete actions.
Other corporations have settled for issuing intentionally misleading statements. Delta and Coca-Cola, two of the largest employers in Georgia, came out against the law last week. Coca-Cola’s chief executive James Quincey said the new law “makes it harder for people to vote, not easier.” Delta’s chief executive, Ed Bastian, said more or less the same thing.
Both of them are wrong — and not as a matter of interpretation or rhetoric. They are factually, objectively wrong. The bill does not make it harder for anyone to vote. Period. Any assertions that it does make voting harder would be treated as lies or errors of fact in a reality-based media world.
But we don’t have a reality-based news media, so corporations feel no need to be reality-based. On Monday, United Airlines declared, “Legislation that infringes on the right to vote of fellow Americans is wrong.” Yet there is no such legislation, in Georgia or anywhere else. It is not real. Yet United—and Delta, and Coca-Cola, and many others—are asking us to believe that it is.….