Story Notes For Television Producer Shonda Rhimes
By Sheila Parks
Dear Ms. Rhimes:
You are one of the bravest,
most extraordinary women on TV and you are going to help save us from election
Thank you for creating the
ABC television series "Scandal," -- and in particular for taking on the bedrock
of democracy, voting rights. All of our
other rights rest upon voting rights.
I also applaud your diverse
cast, which includes many women in leading roles.
Over the last ten years, I,
like many others, have written to numerous media and entertainment outlets to implore
them to help us get rid of all electronic voting machines and bring democracy
to our voting system and our country. To
no avail, alas.
And then I saw a recent
episode of "Scandal," entitled "Defiance," which
did just this, in part, by addressing charges of election fraud in Defiance, Ohio in a fictional
I love the scenes where James
Novak (Dan Bucatinsky) talks with computer scientists about their dissertation.
This helps him to read memory cards and understand the rigging of the election on the
touchscreen electronic voting machines in Defiance. Here is a link to the whole episode "Defiance" http://abc.go.com/watch/scandal/SH55126555/VD55252084/defiance
(For those who have not seen
the series), James is a journalist covering the White House. He is also the husband
of Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry), the president's chief of staff. The president, Fitzgerald [Fitz] Grant (Tony
Goldwyn) is a Republican who trashes pollsters and is in office via this rigged
election. We don't know yet whether he
is in on it.
Television can be powerful.
People often relate to the stories they see illuminated in dramatic series,
even when they are skeptical about what they hear from activists who are not in
the mainstream. In other words, if someone as influential and accomplished as
Shonda Rhimes believes there is enough here for a television show, there must
be some truth to it.
Exposing this reality on
mainstream TV may just get through to the many people who do not know this kind
of rigging exists and to others who know but dismiss and/or trivialize it. It may
get through to those who say audits can save us from rigging. It might even get
through to some who, with their silence, are complicit.
I love the connection between
"Doyle Energy," the fictional oil company owned by character Hollis Doyle
(Gregg Henry) and "Cytron," a fictional Internet security company that also
secretly develops software unofficially used for electronic voting machines. To get a pipeline through the country, Hollis
rigs the election and also causes the explosion at Cytron that kills seven
I love the "secret
circle", that includes Beltway "fixer," Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), lefty
Supreme Court Justice Verna Thornton (Debra Mooney), Cyrus, Hollis and the president's wife Mellie Grant (Bellamy
Young). They are all entangled in this rigging.