They say journalism is dying, but you couldn't tell it by the amazing investigative piece in Wednesday's New York Times. The Times has uncovered a voting scandal that threatens the underpinnings of American democracy -- and the victim isn't Al Gore, but Adam Lambert. Yes, the Times is shocked -- shocked! -- to discover there was cheating in the American Idol voting. The raping, pillaging, devouring corporate Leviathan AT&T manipulated the voting by providing free texting to at two viewing parties held by supporters of the Mayor Daley of American Idol, Kris Allen. That enabled Allen's fans to vote for him 10 times a shot, the Times sternly noted. Now the Hollywood Reporter is employing quantum physics theory to prove the stolen votes didn't swing the outcome.
Oddly, no one seems to have noticed that the whole point of American Idol is, and has always been, to vote early and vote often. That's one of the ways the show makes money, a commission off every vote cast by phone call or text message, and that's why AT&T is one of the show's top sponsors. You don't need mastery of quadratic equations to figure out that when Nielsen says 32 million people watched the finale and 100 million votes were cast, American Idol is not exactly guided by the principle of one man, one vote.
The only thing funnier than the New York Times' gravid tone of accusation is Fox's wounded protestation of innocence. "Fox and the producers of American Idol are absolutely certain that the results of this competition are fair, accurate and verified," the network said primly. As sure it was, no doubt, of the falsity of the 2005 accusations by a contestant that Paula Abdul romanced him, coached him and bought him clothes, medicine and a cellphone -- no matter that he had a mountain of witnesses, tape recordings and other evidence to support his claims.