The big lie that voter fraud stole the 2020 election from former President Donald Trump is diverting attention away from a more insidious lie, one that says the press is the enemy of the people. Without the press, the people will have no defense against either lie.

Like a zombie, the big lie continues to stalk the land. No matter how many election officials have certified the results, no matter how many official recounts have been done, no matter that President Joe Biden won a majority of Electoral College votes and was sworn in on Jan. 20, Republicans continue to try to “stop the steal.”

Last week, the Arizona Senate let Cyber Ninjas, a private Florida company, take possession of nearly 2.1 million Maricopa County ballots—the actual ballots cast in the 2020 presidential election. The company will conduct yet another recount, despite post-election audits by the Maricopa County Elections Department and the chairs of the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian political parties.

Cyber Ninjas has no experience doing this. It does have a CEO pushing wild conspiracy theories about Spanish servers, votes changed from Trump to Biden, a fire fight in Germany, five dead U.S. soldiers but no bodies and a CIA coverup. In this dreamscape, Trump won deep blue California.

As amusing as it might be to listen to U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, try to explain this theory, the implications of letting private companies handle actual ballots are huge. Even worse is to let them do so and keep the press from watching.

Fortunately, an Arizona Republic reporter was able to get a glimpse at proceedings on the first day by volunteering as an unpaid count observer. During her six-hour shift, she noticed that the counters were given blue pens, not the red pens normally given to election auditors.

Arizona election procedures bar black or blue pens anywhere near recounts because black or blue marks are assumed to be made by the voter. The reporter used her lunch break to tell the public about this because she was not allowed a phone or a pad of paper and a pen—red or otherwise—while in the room watching the counts.

Cyber Ninjas apparently isn’t familiar with the rules, but is fully on board with blocking press access. This recount charade continues. Reporters will continue to try to tell the whole story.

The election results were not a fraud. The press is not the enemy of the people. The lies and the liars who tell them should not convince voters otherwise.

    “Our View” represents the opinion of the newspaper editorial board, which is made up of members of its board of directors. Remarks may be directed to

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