ELECTIONATE OCTOBER 16, 2012
This is North Carolina.
Its borders have been established for hundreds of years, beginning with King Charles II's Royal Colonial Boundary in 1665. Since then, North Carolina's northern border has been unmistakably straight, although it took a little longer for the southern border to get worked out.
But when Karl Rove and Joe Trippi took their most recent look at the electoral map and moved the Tar Heel State’s 15 electoral votes to “Lean Romney,” it became apparent that they had moved more than just the state’s position in the Electoral College. According to Fox News, North Carolina is a raggedy island and, if you look carefully, you can see smaller islands off its northern and southern coasts ensconced inside of Virginia or South Carolina. The border with South Carolina isn't defined by geometric lines, but an arch of supposed coastline stretching from Cape Fear to the Appalachians.
Making Fox's North Carolina map even stranger is their utterly conventional depiction of Virginia, which features a straight-line, east-west border with North Carolina.
Somehow, Fox News is airing a one-of-a-kind and entirely inaccurate outline of North Carolina with fictional islands and inlets. The first 42 pages of Google Images search results of “North Carolina” and 38 pages of “North Carolina maps” did not include a single map that depicted North Carolina with anything other than straight borders, suggesting that the error wasn’t simply the result of a geographically disinterested intern picking an unfortunately prominent map of the Tar Heel State. A quick look at a past Rove/Trippi map session also revealed the same inaccurate depiction of North Carolina.
Anticipating the first reaction of TNR's many progressive readers, I have even preemptively ruled out conservative-bias. While Republicans harbor grand ambitions for the state’s wildlife, they have apparently accepted the state’s borders.
How could Fox News misrepresent something as simple as the outline of an American state? After all, they got the other states right. Where did this map come from? Did they make it? Was it a prank? You decide.