What was ACORN guilty of?


A preliminary report by the Government Accountability Office was assigned by congressional conservatives to review the case against ACORN and found that this organization, though flawed, did nothing illegal. It mostly exonerates the organization of all wrongdoing. It does highlight that some individuals working for ACORN either plead guilty to attempts at voter fraud or were found guilty in court, but the report specifies that much of the information used against these individuals was provided by ACORN itself.

So, of course, I knew that “Fair and Balanced” Fox News would be quick to highlight this GAO report. After all, Fox News practically lived and breathed assertions that ACORN pandered to pimps and prostitutes. The video, heavily edited it turned out, seemingly exposing ACORN’s complicity in prostitution was a staple of Rupert Murdoch’s right wing sounding board for many weeks. Turns out that investigations by the Brooklyn District Attorney and the California Attorney General concluded that the videos were fraudulent.

Imagine my surprise when I checked the Fox News website and couldn’t find a single article, video, transcript or snippet on the GAO report. One would think that a truly fair and balanced news organization would, at the very least, include a link to the report in the face of an incessant barrage of coverage for a fraudulent video. Just a little balance? A little bit?

Of course, I’m being tongue in cheek with my reference to Fox News as “fair and balanced.” But Fox wasn’t the only mainstream news organization to ignore the GAO report. NBC News, ABC, CBS, New York Times. MSNBC? Apparently nobody was interested. In fact, a Google search revealed not a single mainstream news outlet, with the exception of the The Hill, thought the GAO report newsworthy.

So let me get this straight. A heavily edited amateur video made by right wing activists accusing a community organizing group of complicity in prostitution is news. A congressionally requested, independent report from the Government Accountability Office…is nothing. Not even a peep.

True, suggestions that the GAO report is “vindication” of ACORN may be jumping the gun a bit, here. After all, this was a preliminary report. The GAO does not make clear where they will go from here. Will there be a more thorough and probing final report? I’d like to think so.

But if the media response to the GAO’s preliminary report is any indicator, it really won’t matter.


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