Yesterday, at the Big Journalism ObamaMedia live blog, I made note of a tweet fired off by MSNBC's Luke Russert, where he linked to a wild-eyed MSNBC story "raising questions" about Tagg Romney's connection to a Ohio voting machine company:
A financial interest held by Mitt Romney’s son in a voting machine company whose systems are being used in Ohio threatens public confidence in the election’s integrity, according to Jennifer Brunner, the state’s former top elections official.
“It doesn’t look good for a presidential candidate’s son to be an investor in a voting machine company,” Brunner told MSNBC.com. “That has to do with public trust in the process.”
Today, NBC News itself jumped into the fever swamp:
Now, the integrity of electronic voting machines is back in the spotlight. Reports are circulating there are “dubious links” between the voting machines in some counties [Hamilton and William] in Ohio and Governor Romney.
The machines are supplied by Hart Intercivic, a national e-voting company. The Austin-based firm is partially owned by H.I.G Capital, an investment company that has business ties to Solamere Capital, Tagg Romney’s [Mitt’s oldest son] equity firm.
The suggestion is that the Romney link is at best a conflict of interest, with even the potential for bias, fraud or irregularity.
Naturally, NBC's political soul-mate, Salon, piled on to lay even more track with this nonsense:
Voting machine provider Hart Intercivic will be counting the votes in various counties in the crucial swing states of Ohio and Colorado and elsewhere throughout the country come Nov. 6 — even though it has extensive corporate ties to the Mitt Romney camp, and even though a study commissioned by the state of Ohio has labeled its voting system a “failure” when it comes to protecting the integrity of elections.
The irony here is that while Luke Russert, Salon, and NBC News are going off the deep end, the openly left-wing Talking Points Memo has already debunked the story:
Why Romney Isn’t Rigging Voting Machines …
This rigged machine theory is based on actual reporting on Tagg Romney’s Solamere and its cozy relationships with many businesses interested in lobbying the government. However, there is absolutely no evidence that this crony capitalist network extends to interference with voting machines. Furthermore, Hart Intercivic machines are only being used in two counties in Ohio. Though it is not implausible that the election could come down to two Ohio counties, it seems like quite a gamble to plant these supposedly rigged machines so sparsely.
It's pretty obvious what's going on here. As of today, it looks as though everything is going to come down to a close race in Ohio, and what you have is a major news network back-filling a way to contest and muddy the waters should the race in the Buckeye State end up a squeaker or, Heaven forbid, end up being contested.
This is appalling behavior by NBC News, but the kind of behavior we should expect from a network that has dragged its own self through the mud all year. Maliciously edited videos, lies, and outrageous race-baiting have all been committed in an effort to reelect Barack Obama.
Now with the race close, top NBC/MSNBC honcho Steve Capus (pictured) is allowing his brand to be used to seed the clouds of wild conspiracy theories.
We have fourteen days to go and it's only going to get worse.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC