Witcover’s column fallacies

To the editor:

Jules Witcover’s article, “Why do Republicans fear the insurrection inquiry?” which ran in the Sept. 7 edition of The Journal, poses its titular question rhetorically. However, although Mr. Witcover attempts to answer that question with a resounding “No good reason!” his article actually proves a much different conclusion.

Witcover attempts to support his accusations that Trump and Republicans are trying to dodge justice with a logical fallacy called shifting the burden of proof. He writes, “[Trump] labors to sell his false allegation that the 2020 presidential election was ‘rigged’ against him.” Witcover asserts here that election fraud could not have happened unless you can prove it did happen. That’s a logical fallacy because the reality is that election fraud may or may not have happened until either is proven. I think Witcover knows this because he attempts to prop up the statement with the popular refrain of citing “extensive review of state elections officials across the country verifying their results.”

No, significant election fraud has not been proven. But it has not been disproven, either. Witcover’s “extensive review[s]” have mostly consisted of auditing samples of a few thousand votes out of millions cast. They have not addressed hundreds of thousands of ballots with no chain of custody or the statistical impossibility of Biden’s 139,000-vote leap in the dead of Michigan’s election night.

And that is precisely the problem with Witcover’s implicit assertion that Republicans have no good reason to oppose the January 6 investigation. Just like with their election fraud assertions, Witcover and those like him are not looking to uncover the truth. They have already made up their minds, as he makes quite clear in his article. They will not allow the American tradition of innocent until proven guilty to the defendants. No, they will not even allow guilty until proven innocent. They will charge “Guilty!” no matter what is proven about the man who urged his supporters to “peacefully and patriotically” make their voices heard.

Witcover makes this clear by writing, “It is to hoped [sic] that the insurrection inquiry . . . will burst the bubble of that Big Lie [excuse the Orwellian term], and put an end to Trump’s dream of a return in 2024 . . .” Note that he doesn’t even mention, say, finding out what happened on Jan. 6. As a matter of fact, what could an investigation into the storming of the Capitol possibly prove about what happened in Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan in November?

Witcover says it himself: he and Congressional Democrats aren’t out looking for truth or justice, they’re out looking for blood, and Congressional Republicans’ best hope is to end the show trial before it has started.

Aric Reim

New Ulm


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