Saturday, October 03, 2009

Redeeming the Irredeemable

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Karen Heller does her best to put a shine on the tarnished ACORN image:

Who are these evil, awful ACORN people conservatives keep attacking? Grandmothers and great-grandmothers like Junette Marcano and Miriam McKnight, organizers of the West Oak Lane branch.

"I got sick after the latest attacks. We work so hard. They're trying to demoralize and disenfranchise us," says Marcano, 66, a retired nurse championing increased funding for neighborhood schools. "ACORN means a lifeline to the low- and moderate-income communities. It empowers people who don't have a voice in the community."
You see, us evil conservatives are incessantly "attacking" grandmothers and great-grandmothers because when we can't find any homeless people or illegal immigrants to beat on--our typical prey--old ladies will do just fine. We want to quash those voices in the community and have as our sole mission to keep minorities silent and in their place.

These are the local faces of ACORN: idealistic recent college grads toiling for modest pay, and African Americans, mostly women, trying to make their communities better. "Our members represent the best of their community, they care so deeply," says head organizer Neil Herrmann, 27, who works 60-hour weeks helping the poor.

With everything else going on in the world, perhaps the attacks on ACORN, the antipoverty community coalition, might have subsided.

But no.
And with everything else going on in the world Barack Obama shouldn't have gone to Copenhagen in what started as another one of his moves to get his mug in the paper and ended as another in a long line of political mishaps showing his political immaturity. But I digress.

Note that she throws in the race card in that subtle way only one with a journalism degree from one of our esteemed institutions of higher learning can do. She didn't even realize she was doing it I'll bet since injecting race is as intrinsic a part of these types of pieces as writing a headline. Conservative hate African-Americans is as fundamental to liberals like Heller as breathing.

This has been a cruel autumn for the Association for Community Organizations Now. ACORN, the target of virulent attacks during the presidential campaign, is back in the news, due to allegations of voter-registration irregularities in some states and a tawdry sting operation at multiple offices where some employees used abysmal judgment. In Philadelphia, after a couple posing as a prostitute and law student sought assistance in using underage Salvadoran sex workers, an organizer phoned the cops.
The attacks on ACORN during the campaign were warranted as they were committing voter fraud--a crime in every state...well, except Illinois. Sure, the ACORN people in Philly saw through the sting but they were also responsible for submitting 1,500 fraudulent registrations in the fall of 2008 in the midst of the election; a fact that Heller neglects to tell us.

Heller goes on to tell us of all the great things ACORN does in the city and then gets to this:

The conservative "media echo chamber" successfully "framed" ACORN coverage last year, according to the study "Manipulating the Public Agenda" by academics Peter Dreier and Christopher Martin. "Voter fraud" was mentioned in more than half of 647 stories, without the claim being verified. Fraud is rare, as opposed to registration irregularities, which are common even at the DMV. In most cases, ACORN reported irregularities, as required under law, then acted to stop improper conduct, mostly by temporary employees. At the Philadelphia office, organizers made up to three calls to verify every registration.
See how Heller makes something as important as voter fraud out to be insignificant. One of the cornerstones of our great nation is a free and open election process that is fair. ACORN did everything to subvert that.

Again, Heller doesn't find it intrinsic to the story to mention the voter fraud allegations because it would make her entire story premise collapse like a house of cards.

Why do conservatives fear ACORN? Perhaps because its organizers fought for a minimum-wage increase, angering big business, or because they were early, adamant critics of redlining and predatory lending practices, thereby incensing banks.
We don't fear ACORN at all--to the contrary. ACORN is rotten from the inside out and is the antithesis of what America stands for. They lie, cheat and stand for the things most Americans find abhorrent. It had nothing to do with business or banks but solely with the actions they've taken.

But mostly critics seem infuriated by ACORN's voter-registration efforts in economically disadvantaged communities, among Latinos and people of color, folks who tend to vote Democratic. ACORN reports registering nearly 1.7 million voters in the 2004 and 2006 elections, and 1.3 million voters last year, 144,000 in Pennsylvania, more than half in Philadelphia.
Again, it's not voter-registration, it illegal voter registration that infuriates us. They got a good many people on the voter rolls indeed...including Mickey Mouse and the Dallas Cowboys football team.

Heller continues on with this drivel for a few more paragraphs but this is the most striking paragraph of the entire essay and shows exactly why people are running away from newspapers in droves:

When angry, embittered, increasingly disenfranchised people don't like what they see, they smear opponents by questioning their legitimacy, politics, methods, and goals. ACORN has been targeted by Berman & Co., a Washington outfit known for "Astroturf lobbying," launching fake grassroots efforts through Web sites, protests, and dubious front organizations funded by corporate clients.

"Let us do what we do best, which is to give power to the poor," Marcano says. "These people who are attacking us want the rich to get richer, the poor to get poorer."
When Heller sees fit to include that in this piece, it shows exactly what her mindset is--redeem ACORN at all costs and smear conservatives in the process. Playing the class card is just as easy as playing the race card. However, you can't redeem an organization that is on camera in numerous locations showing their willingness to break the law or assist other sin doing so.

You can put a dress on a pig and it's still a pig. Heller doesn't stop with the dress but goes full-out with mascara, lipstick, a wig and earrings. It's still a pig, Karen and ACORN is still an organization corrupt to its very core.

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