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CNN Again Fails to Check Its Facts

I've already written about how ludicrously unbalanced CNN's election coverage has been, and others have examined CNN's blatant misrepresentation of a National Review quote during its Palin interview.

But CNN isn't merely biased, it is also incompetent. I just saw this story on CNN's political ticker that celebrated a decision by a supposedly lifelong black Republican, Aaron Wheeler, to drive 600 miles to Columbus, Ohio to vote for Barack Obama:

"My family has been Republican for three generations," he said, but "I knew I had to change and vote Democrat in the first time almost ever."

Wheeler said he was one of about 16 black Republican delegates at the 2004 GOP convention, and was proud to support George W. Bush.

This time, he said, he did not attend the Republican convention -and decided he would go one step further and vote for Democrat Barack Obama.

This story seemed a little suspicious to me, so I decided to do CNN's homework for them. It wasn't too long before I found this story from The Columbus Dispatch, dated September 12, 2007, covering the decision of a local resident to run for Congress. His name? You guessed it, Rev. Aaron Wheeler:

Wheeler, who is black, converted to a Republican about 15 years ago after working on a number of Democratic campaigns in Cleveland and managing the Cleveland office for former U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes, a Democrat. He said he does not support President Bush's Iraq war strategy. If he is nominated, Wheeler said, the likely Democratic candidate, Mary Joy Kilroy, will not be able to tie him to the war or other Bush policies.

"I'm very far away from Bush," Wheeler said.

So, CNN, you published a story about the decision of a man who worked on "a number of Democratic campaigns in Cleveland," who managed the office of a Congressional Democrat, and who is "very far away from Bush" to vote for Barack Obama? For some reason, I suspect that when he was casting his ballot for Obama he wasn't really voting "Democrat in the first time almost ever."

And if we give it a little more thought, if this 61-year old man convered to the GOP 15 years ago (at which point he still apparently opposed core Republican positions), then he has spent the majority of his adult life, about 30 years, as a Democrat. (For those who are still suspicious that it's the same man, this Los Angeles Times piece provides conclusive evidence that that is the case).

Reading the CNN story, one would think that hell is freezing over as even lifelong hardcore Republicans are now falling at the feet of The One. If CNN had done a simple Google search, they would have not only realized that their story is unimpressive, but also that it's incredibly reckless and deceptive. Or perhaps they knew, and are being flat out manipulative.

Posted on Fri, October 24, 2008 at 08:07PM by Registered CommenterPaul Ibrahim in , , , | Comments13 Comments | References1 Reference

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Reader Comments (13)

Would not criticism without name-calling be more constructive?

Fri, October 24, 2008 at 11:59PM | Unregistered CommenterConcerned

"Concerned"--If you consider the remarks above to be "name-calling", then I'm curious to know how you actually define "criticism"...I hope you were not expecting compliments ;-)

Sat, October 25, 2008 at 02:45AM | Unregistered CommenterOpinionated

I also found this story troubling.

If you check the Ohio Sec. of State website, there is a duplicate registration for Aaron Wheeler at the same address (one as a repub, the other as unaffiliated). I found the good Rev.'s phone number, but it is disconnected. The story says he moved to VA last month - shouldn't he have registered in VA and voted there??

Furthermore, this man supposedly still sits on the Ohio civil rights commission. I am a bit confused - it appears that this story was either "crafted" to look like a repub was going for Obama at best to a new case of voter fraud at worst.

This should be investigated. If the good Rev. moved to Virginia but decided to vote in OH in order to make a difference in a swing state, perhaps he should take his ministry to the federal prison system (as an inmate).

Sat, October 25, 2008 at 01:52PM | Unregistered CommenterEthan

An added note:

it appears that an Aaron Wheeler Sr. endorsed John McCain for President in March of this year. Weird, eh?
If you go to the Mountaintop Missionary church website, where Rev. Wheeler is pastor, you will find that the picture of the good Rev. does not match that of the Aaron Wheeler on the CNN story. How do I know it is the same voter?? Because Aaron Wheeler is only registered in Columbus under the same address as the pastor's (albeit, he is registered twice).

This is looking more and more fishy.

Sat, October 25, 2008 at 01:57PM | Unregistered CommenterEthan

Here is the website for the John McCain endorsement:
http://www.ohiogop.org/news/articles/2008/03/local-ohio-leaders-endorse-john-mccain

Here is the website for Rev. Wheeler's church:
http://www.mtmbap.org

Sat, October 25, 2008 at 01:58PM | Unregistered CommenterEthan

"Aaron Wheeler said he's voting Democrat for the first time ever."
Funny! A Democrat lies and we're still surprised! No wonder Lucy could yank that football away from Charlie Brown year after year!

Sat, October 25, 2008 at 02:55PM | Unregistered CommenterProof

This information should be given to the FCC. They have a website in which to report misleading information reported as fact and it has a sub-section for cable news networks. This is the very type of thing that the FCC has the website available to report. CNN has not done even basic investigatory work on this story. They must not be allowed to practice such shoddy journalism.

Sat, October 25, 2008 at 05:31PM | Unregistered CommenterSally

Thanks. I'm not sure how much good it will do to expose them. But it might. One can hope.

Sat, October 25, 2008 at 09:49PM | Unregistered Commenteryonason

I know Aaron Wheeler Sr. I also know Aaron Wheeler Jr., the son who is a full time student at Kent State University, but whose official residence address was with his father in October. Two Aaron Wheelers at the same household. The lesson: Don't name your son after yourself, or you might get one day accused of voting irregularities.

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