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An ACORN of Truth

It is no surprise that Republicans hate ACORN. After all, ACORN is an organization of community activists, and Republicans really hate our president — the community activist in chief. Even worse, ACORN mostly helps poor people, including helping them register to vote, and most of them vote Democratic.

Initially, Republicans claimed that ACORN was guilty of voter fraud because some imaginary people were fraudulently registered to vote. ACORN was never charged with any wrongdoing — and the accusations don’t even pass the smell test. Why would ACORN benefit from registering voters with made up names? They could benefit only if those imaginary people actually managed to vote.

Even more interesting was that GOP organizations were charged of registration fraud: they switched people’s registrations to Republican so they could not vote in Democratic primaries, and switched them to absentee status to prevent them from voting when they showed up at a polling place to vote. Not only that, but ACORN critic Ann Coulter was herself guilty of actual voter fraud.

Then Republicans screamed about the census, claiming that ACORN would be “in charge of going door to door and collecting data from the American public.” This too doesn’t pass the smell test, since ACORN has never been involved in the census.

Lacking any real evidence, Republicans doubled down, even alleging that ACORN stole the election for Obama.

While Republicans have been relentless in their attacks on ACORN, the real surprise is that the Democrats piled on when videos were released that seemed to show ACORN employees advising people on how to get away with illegal acts. Why would Democrats vote to defund ACORN? To prove that they have no spine?

Now it turns out that those videos were largely faked. An independent investigation found no criminal wrongdoing, and that the “scandal” was overblown by the media.

And to make the whole thing even more ironic, a judge has ruled that the bill defunding ACORN is unconstitutional. Of course, everyone already knew that, but Congress passed it anyway. So much for honoring the constitution.



  1. Daniel Habtemariam wrote:

    Here we can see two time-honored failures of the modern news media:

    1. First is what Krugman calls the media “script,” a story line that shapes coverage, often in the teeth of the evidence, particularly because it’s a storyline that conjures up specific archetypes in people and sticks easily.

    John McCain taking a contrarian stance on a bill is him brandishing his maverick credentials while Hillary Clinton’s doing the exact same thing is a cold, politically calculating move. The script never dies. And ACORN, no matter what the facts are, is similarly suffering as a result.

    2. Second is what I call the “Texas chickens” method, and it’s attributed to the famous Texan Lyndon B. Johnson:

    Johnson: Tell the press that our opponent has sex with chickens.
    Aide: But we can’t possibly prove that!
    Johnson: I know, but I want to see the son-of-a-bitch deny it on television.

    A younger generation is more likely to attribute this to Glenn Beck (whom we’re still waiting to hear publicly discredit the claims about him and crimes against a girl in 1990), but the idea is to smear your opponent (ACORN, Glenn Beck, John Kerry,…whoever) through rumor campaigns to the point that the rumors have sown so much doubt in so many people’s minds that they may as well be true.

    Thanks nonetheless for laying it out the ACORN story like this. I counted 9 links in this post!

    P.S. I came here from reddit!

    Monday, December 14, 2009 at 7:56 pm | Permalink
  2. Blue Girl wrote:

    I seem to recall from my undergrad psych courses a phenomenon common among sociopaths called “projection,” wherein the predatory personality accuses those who would be victimized of committing the wrongs they themselves are guilty of.

    Just sayin’…

    Monday, December 14, 2009 at 8:33 pm | Permalink
  3. griffjim108 wrote:

    “Projection” is an incredibly common and immature psych defense mechanism used by many adults. The childish version is ‘I know you are, but what am I?” The most frightening aspect of the current health care debate to me is how it mirrors early Nazi Germany propaganda efforts, telling a lie loud enough and long enough and the people believe it and then they control the actions (votes)of the masses. Can our Democracy withstand that assault?

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 10:54 am | Permalink