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Iraq: changing the rules. Media: burying the story.


By Eli Stephens
Left I on the News
http://lefti.blogspot.com

I probably wouldn't have noticed this story if not for the eagle-eyed (and
British newspaper-reading) Whatever It Is, I'm Against It. It's not on the
front page of the New York Times online, the Washington Post online, or the
Los Angeles Times online, three sources I routinely check. It isn't in the
print version of the San Jose Mercury News, which I read. The Post, like the
Guardian cited by WIIIAI, carries only an AP story, in which the information
is alluded to in paragraph two but only actually discussed much lower in the
article; likewise in the Los Angeles Times article (the only other
independently-written story I found), it doesn't appear until paragraph 12
of a 15-paragraph article. Indicative of the significance of this part of
the story being carried so far into the article, the USA Today copy of the
AP story cuts it out entirely.
And what is this minor news which is being buried in the press?

"[The Iraqi] parliament voted Sunday to alter the rules of the
constitutional election. It decided that in order for the draft to be
defeated, two-thirds of registered voters -- rather than two-thirds of those
who cast ballots -- in three provinces must vote against it."

The Post says that "the change effectively raises the bar to reach the
two-thirds mark." I'll say. During the "purple-finger" elections in January,
the turnout was 58 percent. If the turnout were identical in the upcoming
election, a whopping 115 percent of all votes cast would have to be against
the Constitution. Not impossible in some countries, but probably not too
likely. Admittedly the 58 percent turnout was depressed by the Sunni
boycott; let's raise the figure to a more reasonable 75 percent. That will
still require 89 percent of those voting to vote against the Constitution.
"Effectively raising the bar?" To put it mildly. Not that you would learn
this without a very careful reading of the world's press.

Links in the story below found in the original here.

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