The New York Times initially framed a story on an election software company’s connection to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a “right-wing conspiracy theory,” but within 24 hours the story turned out to be true.
A Times article published Tuesday reported that “right-wing” election deniers in Arizona had crafted a conspiracy theory that election software company Konnech had secret ties to the CCP and gave the party access to personal information about two million U.S. poll workers.
The following morning, the company’s top executive, Eugene Yu, was arrested for the alleged theft of poll workers’ personal information.
“At an invitation-only conference in August at a secret location southeast of Phoenix, a group of election deniers unspooled a new conspiracy theory about the 2020 presidential outcome,” the Times’ original lede read.
The initial piece, published Tuesday, detailed how “conspiracy theorists” have attacked election officials and private companies, alleging that they played a role in subverting the the 2020 presidential election. The piece suggested that the allegations against Konnech illustrate “how far-right election deniers are also giving more attention to new and more secondary companies and groups.”
“In the two years since former President Donald J. Trump lost his re-election bid, conspiracy theorists have subjected election officials and private companies that play a major role in elections to a barrage of outlandish voter fraud claims,” the piece read. “But the attacks on Konnech demonstrate how far-right election deniers are also giving more attention to new and more secondary companies and groups. Their claims often find a receptive online audience, which then uses the assertions to raise doubts about the integrity of American elections.”
The piece also said the accusations had forced Yu and his family to go into hiding after receiving threatening messages from members of the public.
Within hours of publishing the article, the Times reported that Yu had been arrested on suspicion of stealing the personal information of poll workers. Los Angeles Attorney General George Gascón’s office announced Tuesday that Yu had been arrested but that “the alleged conduct had no impact on the tabulation of votes and did not alter election results,” according to a press release.