On October 7, the New York Times published an article about a 2016 Trump voter who changed his mind and now intends to vote Democrat:
Mark Graham, a real estate appraiser in this faded manufacturing hub [Erie, Pennsylvania], sat with friends at a gym named FitnessU on the morning after the Democratic debate in mid-September. He had voted for Barack Obama, but in 2016 he took a gamble on Donald Trump.
“Things have changed in the last couple weeks: More stupidity has come out,” Mr. Graham, 69, said in a telephone interview last week. He hopes Democrats nominate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., but he is not particular. “I’d vote for the Democratic nominee no matter who it is at this point,” he said.
The Times story, which admitted that “[o]utright conversions like Mr. Graham’s” are “still rare,” included this photo of Graham:
Fast forward a month, to November 12. Now the Times reports, excitedly, on a new anti-Trump ad campaign being undertaken by David Brock’s disreputable organization, American Bridge:
A Democratic group unveiled a $3 million advertising campaign Tuesday featuring people who supported President Trump but now regret it, the first wave of a yearlong effort to reclaim some of the voters in the industrial Midwest who helped tip the 2016 election.
The group, American Bridge, will air commercials in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania that are first-person testimonials from residents of each state explaining why they backed Mr. Trump in 2016 and why they will not do so again next year.
The Times proudly noted its own role in tracking down anti-Trump converts:
The disaffected Trump voter who appeared in the Pennsylvania spot — Mark Graham of Erie, Pa. — was featured in a New York Times article last month.
It is reasonable to assume that American Bridge found Mr. Graham via the Times article.
Unfortunately, neither American Bridge nor the Times thought to check the Erie, Pennsylvania voting records to confirm Mr. Graham’s claim that he voted for President Trump in 2016. It turns out he didn’t:
An allegedly regretful Trump voter in Pennsylvania, highlighted in videos by a Democratic political action committee and by The New York Times, never actually voted in 2016.
News organization JET 24, an ABC affiliate, found after checking county voting records that Mark Graham of Erie County, Pennsylvania, did not vote in the presidential election three years ago.
[T]he Trump campaign noted Friday that American Bridge has yet to take down its ad or apologize.
There was a time, I suppose, when readers expected the New York Times to fact-check its news stories, but those days are long gone. The Times has now issued a grudging correction to its stories about Mark Graham:
Editors’ Note: Dec. 6, 2019
After this article was published, local news media reported that Mark Graham did not vote in the 2016 election. The Times has confirmed that Mr. Graham did not vote in the election. While Mr. Graham acknowledged misspeaking about his voting record, he said the article accurately reflects his feelings about the 2016 race and President Trump’s performance in office.
“Misspeaking”! Since the whole point of the Times story was that Graham was a Trump voter who now repudiates his 2016 choice, that “misspeaking” is rather significant. But the Times has long been satisfied with a “fake but accurate” standard for its reporting.
Something like 63 million people voted for Donald Trump in 2016, so presumably the Democrats can find three who actually have changed their minds. Somewhere in America, there must be three people who voted for Trump last time, but are unhappy with a booming economy, record low unemployment, rising wages and peace abroad. Conversely, it would be interesting to know how many people didn’t vote for President Trump three years ago, but now, impressed by his record, will turn out for him enthusiastically in 2020. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the Times to report on them.