No Comment — September 29, 2009, 2:29 pm

Of Big Trees and Little ACORNs

Are major media making a mistake by failing to join in the current frenzy over the ACORN video? Ken Silverstein thinks so. The public editors of the Washington Post and New York Times think so, too. I disagree. I am happy that some undercover exposé artists attempted to lure ACORN into advising a prostitution operation. Their footage is hysterically funny in parts, and this is a seriously flawed organization that needs some self-examination and reshaping, as Ken and the Washington Post note. ACORN’s strategy of bringing suit against the videotapers is also ill-advised. But the theme on the right is now that ACORN is a threat to democracy and social decency and must be destroyed. Hysterical humor is becoming just clinical hysteria.

I first encountered accusations against ACORN in New Mexico, and I spent a good bit of time tracking them and interviewing FBI agents who had investigated them. Their uniform assessment: there’s nothing there. None of the dramatic, Republican charges about ACORN’s role in voter fraud stood up when investigated. Nevertheless, this emerged as a right-wing political gospel, accepted as unquestioned truth. What was its genesis? Karl Rove settled on the attacks on ACORN over voter fraud as a sort of ultimate wedge issue. He’s worked it tenaciously ever since.

Rachel Maddow and former Republican U.S. Attorney David Iglesias get down to the basics of ACORN fact and ACORN fiction in this interview:

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Now ACORN is attacked as a government contractor, and a concerted effort is being made to defund them, all because of on-camera statements some employees made when interviewed by some media jesters. But what about contractors who take down ten thousand times the money that ACORN does, whose wrongdoing includes the death by electrocution of U.S. service personnel? Covering-up the gang rape of an American employee? Shooting seventeen innocent civilians in a case of “spray and pray” in downtown Baghdad? In the view of Congressional Republicans and not a few Democrats, this all seems to fall into the category of “boys will be boys.”

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

From the April 2015 issue

Company Men

Torture, treachery, and the CIA

Six Questions October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm

The APA Grapples with Its Torture Demons: Six Questions for Nathaniel Raymond

Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.

No Comment, Six Questions June 4, 2014, 8:00 am

Uncovering the Cover Ups: Death Camp in Delta

Mark Denbeaux on the NCIS cover-up of three “suicides” at Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp

Get access to 164 years of
Harper’s for only $39.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

April 2015

The Joke

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Abolish High School

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Beat Reporter

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Going It Alone

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Rotten Ice

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Life After Guantánamo

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

[Browsings]
Photograph by the author
Article
Rotten Ice·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“When I asked if we were going to die, he smiled and said, ‘Imaqa.’ Maybe.”
Photograph © Kari Medig
Article
Life After Guantánamo·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I’ve seen the hell and I’m still in the beginning of my life.”
Illustration by Caroline Gamon
Article
Going It Alone·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The call to solitude is universal. It requires no cloister walls and no administrative bureaucracy, only the commitment to sit down and still ourselves to our particular aloneness.”
Photograph by Richard Misrach
Article
No Slant to the Sun·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“She didn’t speak the language, beyond “¿cuánto?” and “demasiado,” but that didn’t stop her. She wanted things. She wanted life, new experiences, a change in the routine.”
Photograph © Stuart Franklin/Magnum Photos

Acreage of a Christian nudist colony under development in Florida:

240

Florida’s wildlife officials decided to remove the manatee, which has a mild taste that readily adapts to recipes for beef, from the state’s endangered-species list.

A 64-year-old mother and her 44-year-old son were arrested for running a gang that stole more than $100,000 worth of toothbrushes from Publix, Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS stores in Florida.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Driving Mr. Albert

By

He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.

Subscribe Today