Put up or shut up

Ever since Minnesota certified Al Franken as its next Senator, the wingnuts have basically gone nuts, and accused him and the Democratic Secretary of State of cheating, lying, stealing and whatever else, because he went from being barely behind on Election Day to barely ahead following a recount mandated by state law for elections that are, essentially, a tie.

All this, without even a shred of proof. And Salon takes them to task for it.

If Al Franken were not a longtime public figure -- and thus severely handicapped by American jurisprudence -- he could file a powerful complaint for libel or slander against several of the most prominent wingnuts in the United States. From Rush Limbaugh to Bill O'Reilly to Richard Mellon Scaife, a chorus of familiar voices is loudly defaming the Democrat whose razor-thin win in the Minnesota Senate race will now be tested in that state's courts. Ever since Election Day, on radio and television, on the Internet and in print, they've screamed that Franken is stealing, rigging, pilfering, scamming, thieving and cheating his way to victory.

These media figures, some of whom occasionally pretend to be journalists, have spewed such accusations repeatedly, without offering any proof whatsoever -- in plain contradiction of the available facts. Not only is there no evidence that Franken or his campaign "cheated" in any way during the election or the recount, but there is ample reason to believe that the entire process was fair, balanced and free from partisan taint.

The whole thing is worth a read.