Shake The Tree, ACORNs Fall

Dems can no longer defend controversial community group

By Robert A. George
|  Wednesday, Sep 16, 2009  |  Updated 7:35 AM PDT
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Shake The Tree, ACORNs Fall

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ACORN is under increasing scrutiny for alleged shady activities across the country.

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Democrats have the White House, Senate and House, but conservatives have still managed to knock their rivals back on their heels when it comes to defending left-wing community group ACORN.

The group, which goes by an acronym for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, has long been a favorite target for the right, especially during last year's presidential campaign. But its critics have drawn blood now that media upstarts have used a time-honored journalistic tactic to expose alleged corruption at ACORN.

In an aggressive sting operation publicized by conservative media entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart, two young activist filmmakers posing as a pimp and prostitute got ACORN workers in four cities to offer advice on how to hide their profits and activities from the IRS and law enforcement

The shocking footage may already be taking its toll on the group: The Census Bureau dropped ACORN as a partner in helping publicize the importance of next year's national headcount. Then a Republican-backed amendment to the housing and transportation spending bill blocking funds from going to ACORN passed 83-7.

ACORN has become radioactive. Democrats don't want anything to do with the group. That is a remarkable turn of events for a group accused of voter fraud in multiple states on behalf of Dems. ACORN is giving a bad name to community organizing, the very field in which President Obama cut his teeth.

 

As fascinating as this repudiation of ACORN is, what's more interesting is how it developed. The folks behind the sting took their cue from old-time, liberal journalistic crusaders. From Upton Sinclair to 60 minutes, journalists going undercover to expose chicanery has beeen around for years. It just took the latest practitioners to move it into the YouTube era, and prove that "media" -- in whatever form it takes -- still has the power to shake political foundations.  

New York writer Robert A. George blogs at Ragged Thots. Follow him on Twitter  

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