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The Daily Beast’s Purposeful Distortion of the PA Supreme Court Decision

Whenever a controversial decision is made by a court you can rest assured that the news media will find a way to misrepresent the decision in an attempt to misinform the public. It happens every time without fail. 

On the twenty-fifth of November the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania dismissed a petition for review filed by a group of Republican legislators. 

The Court described the petition in their order:

Petitioners filed the petition for review in Commonwealth Court on November 21, 2020, setting forth a facial challenge to those provisions of Act 77 of 2019, establishing universal mail-in voting in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Petitioners sought a declaration that the aforementioned provisions were unconstitutional and void ab initio, and injunctive relief prohibiting the certification of the results of the General Election held on November 3, 2020. As a remedy, Petitioners sought to invalidate the ballots of the millions of Pennsylvania voters who utilized the mail-in voting procedures established by Act 77 and count only those ballots that Petitioners deem to be “legal votes.”[1] 

Before I delve into why the Court dismissed the petition for review I’d like to point out the misinformation presented by the Daily Beast. 

The Daily Beast described the reason for dismissal by selectively quoting the Court out-of-context

The Court found that “the want of due diligence demonstrated in this matter is unmistakable” and dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice.[2] 

The above quote makes it appear as though the Court was criticizing the actual merits of the petition. It sounds as though the Court was claiming that the argument presented in the petition lacked “due diligence” in some way. However, that’s not at all what the Court said. 

The Daily Beast had cited CBS Pittsburgh’s (KDKA/AP) article on the Court’s dismissal wherein CBS/AP faithfully explained to the public the Court’s reason for the dismissal. The Daily Beast decided to leave out  the important, core message, of the coverage and instead select an out-of-context quote that mischaracterized the Court’s decision

So, what was the Court’s claim regarding the petition? The CBS/AP article had it correct:

“The state Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, threw out the three-day-old order, saying the underlying lawsuit was filed months after the law allowed for challenges to Pennsylvania’s expansive year-old mail-in voting law.”[3] 

The Court put it even more succinctly:

“Upon consideration of the parties’ filings in Commonwealth Court, we hereby dismiss the petition for review with prejudice based upon Petitioners’ failure to file their facial constitutional challenge in a timely manner.” [1]

The Court’s dismissal was based on the fact that the Court didn’t approve of the “timing” of the Petitioners’ filling. 

Their argument had nothing to do with the merits of the case. In fact, the Chief Justice of the Court claimed that the argument had merit. In his own separate opinion Chief Justice Thomas Saylor wrote:

“I find that the relevant substantive challenge raised by Appellees presents troublesome questions about the constitutional validity of the new mail-in voting scheme.”[4]

In an attempt to misinform the public the Daily Beast mischaracterized the statement of the Court. The activist staff at the Daily Beast purposefully misinformed their audience in order to shape a narrative wherein the merits of the case presented by Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania were invalidated by the state’s Supreme Court.

The staff at the Daily Beast know that very few people read the articles they write. Far fewer investigate the original source material to validate the narrative presented in the articles they write. Their audience reads only the headlines and then share them on social media in an attempt to confirm their bias within their own social network. The bloggers over at the Dail Beast understand that it is their job to create biased headlines, and dishonest narratives, to be shared in social media echo chambers in order to increase SEO, drive traffic, and increase advertising revenue.

Let this stand as yet another example of how dishonest, biased, activist “journalists” willfully mischaracterize court decisions in order to drive biased political narratives, and promote revenue generating headlines. 


[1] http://www.paCourts.us/assets/files/setting-7862/file-10781.pdf?cb=1f7217

[2] https://www.thedailybeast.com/pennsylvania-supreme-Court-rejects-republican-lawsuit-seeking-to-declare-mail-in-voting-unconstitutional

[3] https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/11/28/pennsylvania-supreme-Court-dismisses-mike-kelly-and-sean-parnell-request/

[4] https://www.theepochtimes.com/pennsylvania-supreme-court-overturns-block-on-certification-of-election-results_3597001.html

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