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July 3, 2016

Austrian Eurocrats May Have Cheated to Win an Election

After a tissue of innuendo, comprising several paragraphs in which unsubtle references to Nazism stand in for context on an Austrian election six week ago, followed by several more paragraphs of artless diversion, The New York Times finally gets around to reporting the real story: that it looks like pro-EU politicians stole the election in Austria.

Or at least, it looks that way enough that the Austrian Constitutional Court has ordered a new election.

When polls closed in the May 22 runoff, [the Euroskeptic candidate] was leading, but a final count that included about 700,000 postal ballots put [the pro-EU candidate] ahead by roughly 31,000 votes. [Complaints were filed] with the Constitutional Court about irregularities in 94 of 117 electoral districts.

The chairman of the Constitutional Court, Gerhart Holzinger, announced on Friday that “the runoff must be repeated in all of Austria,” and said the decision was guided solely by the court’s mission to protect the rule of law and democracy.

Now bear with me. We know that for many of the The New York Times’ precocious reporters, history began around 2008, but some of us are old enough to remember a certain contested election here in the United States at the turn of the century. Maybe some of the Times reporters have heard of it; I cannot say.

What I can say is this: Imagine a The New York Times article describing, say, the Florida Supreme Court’s intervention on behalf of Albert Gore against George W. Bush, which commenced by reminding readers that a majority of that Court’s judges hailed from the formerly segregationist Florida Democratic Party, and then proceeded to bury the lede that the state’s presidential election results had been called into question and a statewide recount ordered.

I submit that such an article is quite beyond the imagination of any reasoning man.

But here we are, ten days after the biggest political blow the European Union has ever suffered — at the hands of a British public exasperated with the EU’s contempt for popular autonomy — and the Times is reporting a high court’s vacating of a major European nation’s popular election as if the only angle of consequence is the aid and comfort it gives to “far-right” parties.

“Austria’s Far Right Presents the E.U. With a New Test at the Polls” — that is, honest to goodness, the headline chosen by the Times. The headline to this blog is demonstrably more accurate.