The insidious danger of ‘news’ intended to misinform

By Mike Weland

Mike WelandAn article published by Mark M. March 12 in the “corruption/local” section of Boundary.News, the “premier news site in Bonners Ferry,” is chock full of numbers and replete with shocking innuendo and shrill allegation. What “Election Anomalies and Corruption in Boundary County,” lacks is any shred of proof or veracity. It is “alternate facts” serving no purpose but to inflame and engender distrust. Such propaganda does disservice to those who vote and to those who work year after year, many of them volunteers, to ensure that our elections are accurate and trustworthy.

Mark M. would be Mark Moseley, founder of Boundary News as a local far-right propaganda outlet and Republican precinct committeeman for Copeland.

“My background is a high-tech consultant. You can readily find my resume on LinkedIn, if you want to see my general qualifications,” he wrote in response to my question on his background and education. “For the most part, I am a self-taught expert in many things. I am one of those people that find an interest, become an expert in that topic, and then move along to the next. I often rely on my professional colleagues to assist me in becoming skilled in this or that. I happen to have a professional history as an Analyst, among other things.

“Truly intelligent people do not use certifications, degrees or titles to prop themselves up and give themselves a false sense of accomplishment. As a hacker in the mid-90s, I went to college. What I found was that most of the teachers simply did not understand the real-world applications of the topics they had degrees in. They often lacked actual technical experience, and simply did not understand the methodologies that people actually use. I often found myself having to write papers on concepts outlining why the teachers were wrong.”

To explain the process he used to compile and analyze his data, he wrote, “The data sets I used are publicly available. First, I received several pieces of information from a team of people that I work with. Next, I ran queries against the data sets to get the numbers that I was looking for. Next, I talked to a colleague who has a Masters Degree in statistics, to answer questions, and provide direction on statistical anomalies. Next, I followed up on the items that were discussed with my Statistics expert. Next, I pulled archives from different public sources to verify key points.”

According to his article, “it has been the hard work of a few citizens that have taken it upon themselves to do the work. It took the citizens roughly 10 months and 100 email exchanges with the Clerk’s Office, to get the Clerk to do her job and provide a revised, “comprehensively updated election data set.”

While it’s not mentioned in the article, the Boundary County Watchman, Adrienne Norris, who collaborates with Moseley, posted notice of the group, “Did you know Boundary County has an Election Integrity Group (BCEIG)? Dave Ingle leads this team. They have been engaging with other groups across the nation to ensure our elections are secure. BCEIG has been working hard as a Watchdog!”

“The County Clerk’s office should be properly analyzing and updating the detailed records of registered voters,” Moseley writes with endearing condescension and smug superiority. “However, due to corruption, laziness, and/or incompetence, they have failed to do so.”

The Boundary County Clerk’s staff has not failed to do so. Elections staff and workers undergo a significant amount of training. Voter rolls are maintained to state standards, by staff increasingly harried by self-anointed “watchdog” groups bent solely on pushing their own radical agenda, causing disruption and sowing distrust.

And who can assess the validity of the “comprehensively updated election data set” that took 10 months and 100 email exchanges to derive? Or how it was manipulated to reach the preordained conclusion of incompetence and corruption?

In his article, Moseley says this updated data set shows the names of 1,900 voters had been removed from the lists, listing them by cause; death, 344, challenged, 201, moved out of state/county, 94.
That all seems reasonable. But in one particularly troubling figure, he cites 719 voters erased from the rolls in “list maintenance purge.”

List maintenance. It’s an ongoing process performed in every county as a matter of course. List maintenance purge is but one of many steps involved in keeping the lists as accurate as possible.

After each presidential election, registered voters who haven’t cast a ballot in their precinct for a specific amount of time are removed, not because the Secretary of State doesn’t like them or the local “political machine” suspects they might not vote right, but because people have a tendency to die and not notify everyone who might need to know, to move and leave no forwarding address, to enter a monastery in Nepal in hopes of becoming a Shaolin priest … the fact is, the voter roll in every political subdivision in the universe is a static method for keeping track of a dynamic data set, people.

If I walked into the clerk’s office and demanded an accurate and correct voter roll, they could not comply. In the two minutes since the last update, some poor voter won the lottery and flew her family off to their own private island just left of Gilligan’s and got caught in a storm. And until the Professor on Ginger’s Island sets up mail service or floats a can on a string back to the mainland and conveys the fate of the USS Minnow II, nobody in Bonners Ferry is going to know the Minnow is lost again.

Perhaps the sole truthful and direct sentence in the article is written as a caveat, “It is important that we point that our investigation has not found that any of the 1900 voters removed from the list were used for illegal vote casting.”

It would seem such admission would negate the need for the article, but not in Moseley’s newsroom.

“There is a trend in Boundary County Elections,” he writes, “where the elections are decided from the Absentee ballots. We have tracked this trend over the past 6 elections. This trend, alongside other anomalies surrounding our elections, the voters, and the people who are in charge of counting, has become, at minimum, a statistical improbability, and more likely, a statistical impossibility.”

Come now! Trump tried that gambit, “but I was so far ahead until the absentee ballots came in!” and was laughed out of court.

Absentee ballots are no different than ballots cast at precinct locations. The only difference is that they are counted at the courthouse rather than the polling site and then added to the precinct totals. It’s not how they were submitted that seems to baffle folks, it’s a matter of when they’re added to the count.

“Our investigators found several voter ID’s address that contained no residence, or dwelling.”

If this is so, how is it the fault of election personnel?

And the terms he uses again and again, “statistical improbability” and “statistical impossibility” are meaningless, intended only impress.

“The number of Registered Democrats vs Republicans is vastly outside of normal parameters,” Moseley explains, “Boundary County was once a largely Democrat majority. Over the years, Conservatives have moved here and Conservative values have been slowly creeping into the County, over decades. However, this does not explain the huge marginal differences between registered party affiliations. In order for the leftists to keep control over this county, the Democrats have conspired to switch their party affiliation and register as Republicans. By doing this, they knew that most people would see the ‘Republican’ label and treat them as such. A simple action to switch parties by the Democrats has allowed them to undermine the very fabric of honest elections in Boundary County.”

Might it not be that the culprit is the Republican Party itself, having gone on a long decline from being an organization dedicated to improving U.S. politics and serving the American people to a party defined by and serving Donald Trump? In a county wherein one party has a large advantage in numbers and wherein many important races are decided in the primary, and when that party becomes a self-serving organization dedicated to itself and closes its primary to voters of other parties, it is the party at fault for failing to grasp that elections, even party primaries, belong to the voters, all of them.

To think voters are going to sit idly by and allow the most radical faction of any one party make decisions for them is foolish.

“The leftists have managed to accomplish Total Subversion of the Boundary County political structure,” Moseley writes. “They have taken over almost every elected position, and public service positions. Every organization from the Boundary County Republican Central Committee, County Clerk, Commissioners, City Council, Library Board, School Board, Planning and Zoning (and others) have been completely saturated with these Subversionists. They are literally running every single committee and public services department.”

No, Mr. Moseley, that’s not quite right. What has your drawers in a bunch is that our offices haven’t been sufficiently filled with radicals such as yourself and I, for one, pray it stays that way. Your atrocious performance in your single term as a precinct committeeman, won on your third attempt only because you ran unopposed, is well indicative of the lack of ability in you new “conservatives.”

“Anonymous voting should not be allowed,” he writes. “Right now, votes cannot be properly validated by independent resources, due to not having access to the names of the individuals and the votes that were cast.

In the Idaho Constitution, the sanctity of the secret ballot is paramount; “All elections by the people must be by ballot. An absolutely secret ballot is hereby guaranteed” so as to protect us all from the sanctimonious, self-educated “experts” who would appoint themselves their brothers’ keeper.

He goes on and on; signature verification, voters voting before they’re registered in a state in which you can register right at the polls. “Stop using electronic voting machines. These machines are far too easily hacked using low tech and electronic means.”

Huh?! But they’re plugged into an electrical outlet, not the internet! Oh no … is my Mr. Coffee under the control of a cabal of heinous hackers?

But I guess I ought not be pointing out the glaring contradictions and inconsistencies so prevalent in Moseley’s brand of “news” or the insidious damage he brings to our community by sowing distrust and casting unfounded aspersions against the people who have long served the public trust well and who work hard to ensure the integrity of the process that is the very cornerstone of our democracy.

“On a side note,” he writes, “I have never seen you write anything that required actual investigation, or that is unbiased. My team and I are the first writers in this community that actually investigate problems in this community … In the last precious days that you have left, I would encourage you to repent, and start writing actual truth. Several people who have known you for decades have told me about how you have slowly descended from someone who was once decent, into the lifeless waste of humanity that you have become. Please understand that this is not me trying to attack you. I am just trying to encourage you to do some actual soul searching.”

Thanks, Mark … I’ll certainly take that under advisement, coming from such a fine and dependable source as it does.