Fox News Discovers That Zombie ACORN is Behind Occupy Movement

Fox News Discovers That Zombie ACORN is Behind Occupy Movement

Fox News Discovers That Zombie ACORN is Behind Occupy Movement

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 26 2011 2:59 PM

Fox News Discovers That Zombie ACORN is Behind Occupy Movement

I'm just surprised it took Fox News so long to run this.

Screen shot 2011-10-26 at 12.50.47 PM

The headline is a whopper: ACORN doesn't exist anymore. We know this because the lede of the story refers to "the former New York office for ACORN, the disbanded community activist group." If it's disbanded, it doesn't exist. Why not refer in the title to an "ACORN offshoot" or "ACORN successor"? Easy: You're trying to pass on a stupid story to some rubes.

Why do I say it's stupid? After all, there's lots of bad journalism out there. (I try to make as little of it as possible.) It's stupid because it doesn't follow the most basic rules of reporting and analysis. The second graf informs us that "the former director of New York ACORN, Jon Kest, and his top aides are now busy working at protest events for New York Communities for Change (NYCC)." That fact must be an exclusive, right? Nope: Later in the story, we're told that "Kest publicly threw his organization’s support behind the movement in a Sept. 30 opinion piece on HuffingtonPost.com." He's never tried to hide his involvement. That's not what "behind the scenes" means.

So where do the grisly details come from? If you guessed "anonymous sources with too-perfect quotes," congratulations: You've been registered to vote in Ohio. (Sidebar: The reason ACORN went down, and its name is a negative association, is that it was accused of registering fake voters to hit quotas and of giving free tax-cheating advice to undercover journalists. That's why it's scandalous. Using its name to tar people who weren't involved in those activities is pure sleaze. Post-phone-hacking scandal, it's not a great practice for a NewsCorp product.)

“We go to Freeport, Central Islip, Park Slope, everywhere, and we say we’re collecting money for PCBs testing in schools. But the money isn’t going to the campaign," one source said. 
"It’s going to Occupy Wall Street, and we’re not using that money to get schools tested for deadly chemicals or to make their kids safer. It’s just going to the protests, and that’s just so terrible.”

Awful -- and unprovable!

“All the money collected from canvasses is pooled together back at the office, and everything we’ve been working on for the last year is going to the protests, against big banks and to pay people’s salaries—and those people on salary are, of course, being paid to go to the protests every day,” one NYCC staff member told FoxNews.com.

Which NYCC member? Might be useful to know.

"That’s where these contributions - the community’s money – is going,” the source said. “They’re doing the same stuff now that got ACORN in trouble to begin with. And yes, we’re still ACORN, there is a still a national ACORN.”

A source who says ACORN exists -- even though it doesn't! Look, it's good to know that unions and community organizing groups are providing some of the money and ballast for Occupy Wall Street. We knew most of that already. It's also good to know that conservative and libertarian donors fund organizations that organize Tea Parties, like Americans for Prosperity. Sensationalistic stories about that are just as dumb as sensationalistic stories about OWS -- though I can't remember Fox doing much of the former.

David Weigel is a reporter for the Washington Post.