Sunday, April 04, 2021


Tomi Lahren, a Fox News commentator who's now a host at the streaming service Fox Nation, tweeted the following last night:

There are a couple of reasons why this is obvioudly nonsense. First, no vaccine is approved by U.S. authorities for children. Second, even if there were a sinister plan to prioritize the vaccination of "illegal kids" before American adults, why wouldn't the perpetrators simply ship the vaccine to the kids instead of the other way around?

But right-wingers love stories about mystery vehicles doing sinister things on behalf of their evil enemies. Years ago, many of the rumors involved voter registration and voting. True the Vote, a Texas-based, Tea Party-affiliated organization that complained loudly during the Obama years about mistreatment from the IRS, and recently was sued by a wealthy donor because he felt he didn't get any return for the $2.5 million he donated to the group in the hopes of backing Donald Trump's election challenge, used to tell many stories about buses full of election fraudsters, as The New York Times noted, with great skepticism, in 2012:
It might as well be Harry Potter’s invisible Knight Bus, because no one can prove it exists.

The bus has been repeatedly cited by True the Vote, a national group focused on voter fraud. Catherine Engelbrecht, the group’s leader, told a gathering in July about buses carrying dozens of voters showing up at polling places during the recent Wisconsin recall election.

“Magically, all of them needed to register and vote at the same time,” Ms. Engelbrecht said. “Do you think maybe they registered falsely under false pretenses? Probably so.”

Weeks later, another True the Vote representative told a meeting of conservative women about a bus seen at a San Diego polling place in 2010 offloading people “who did not appear to be from this country.”

Officials in both San Diego and Wisconsin said they had no evidence that the buses were real. “It’s so stealthy that no one is ever able to get a picture and no one is able to get a license plate,” said Reid Magney, a spokesman for the Wisconsin agency that oversees elections. In some versions the bus is from an Indian reservation; in others it is full of voters from Chicago or Detroit. “Pick your minority group,” he said.
A few months before that Times story appeared, an earlier version of Fox Nation -- a Free Republic-style message board overseen by Fox News -- reported on a phantom bus said to be ferrying voters from Michigan to Wisconsin to vote for the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in the Wisconsin recall election, which then-governor Scott Walker survived.
On WMAL’s The Chris Plante Show today a Michigan resident by the name of "Mike" called in to discuss how he had infiltrated a Michigan Union's organized bus convoy, en-route to vote in the Wisconsin recall election for Democrats.

The caller claimed that Michigan’s “Democrat Unions” had organized a convoy of 4 buses, filled with Michigan Democrats, with the intention of voting for Tom Barrett in the Wisconsin recall election.

Caller “Mike” describes “Greyhound size buses, filled to capacity” with a good amount of “freebies” available, “They treated me to lunch!”
It's not clear why "Mike" -- allegedly riding on a bus from Michigan to Wisconsin -- called in to a right-wing radio show based in Washington, D.C. (the caller's explanation: "I drive [a] tractor trailer and I know your number. I'm always in DC, Virginia..."). "Mike" claimed that he, personally, wasn't going to vote for the Democrat -- though he was planning to vote illegally in a state where he didn't live.

You're on a bus full of people going from Michigan to Wisconsin and you believe that most of the people on the bus..other than believe that ALL of the people other than yourself are going there to vote for Tom Barrett


Most of them are's a Democratic union..its actually a Democratic union organized by Democrats. But I'm not goin on there to vote for the Democrat. I'm going on there to vote for Scott Walker. Once I heard about it I- I was thinking, hey..this is an opportunity to sabotage what they always do to Republicans.
At the end of the call, Plante asked for "Mike's" number, but -- funny thing -- Mike never provided it. So this totally legitimate story couldn't be verified. What a shame!

This is one of the right's favorite narrative structures. I have no idea why.

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