So I’m sure most people have heard the recent news story about how ACORN got busted giving advice on how best pimps can evade taxes and now are getting their federal funding taken away. Conservative activists traveled around the country, going to different ACORN offices, posing as pimps and prostitutes, and seeing how many laws they can get employees to break on camera.
Their method was a good one. Actual journalists sometimes have to break the law or lie in order to get their story. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. And these ACORN people fell for it completely and unequivocally. So the government is right to take away their funding.
On the other hand, several of the offices these activists visited turned them away. So it’s not as if tax evasion aid is an official policy of ACORN. The advice given by employees (including How Best To Import Sex Slaves From El Salvador, at one California office) would have to have been dispensed at the discretion of the individual offices, if not the individuals themselves.
And I think it’s with that kind of nuance in mind that Democracy Now! had ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis on their show last Thursday. Juan Gonzalez, who contributes to the New York Daily News, asked her how she responds to accusations of voter fraud on the grounds that ACORN workers were allegedly paid by the signature and therefore had a motive to falsify their records.
Instead of simply saying that the premise of the question, that workers were paid by the signature and not by the hour, was false, Lewis scolded Gonzalez for asking that question because he was “repeating a lie.”
Hey, guess what, Bertha Lewis? If he doesn’t “repeat the lie,” then you have no opportunity to point out that it’s a lie. Here you have a sympathetic news organization giving airtime to the CEO of a (presently) intensely hated organization in order for her to have her say in the wake of an obvious scandal; the least you expect is some courtesy and not this kind of immediate defensiveness. Even though DN! is slanted in favor of lefty charities like ACORN, they’re not giving you free advertising. That’s not their job. The whole point of journalism is to be able to sort out what’s true and what’s bullshit, not to ignore it.
Lewis then went on to point out that while they may take away their federal funding, they can never take away their DIGNITYYYYYYYYY… or something like that.