Thursday, September 10, 2009

Community organizing at it's best

Two "secret shoppers" go to ACORN to see if they really do help the little people navigate government bureaucracy and red tape to start a small business, and enter politics.


Chalicechick said...

For those of you who don't want to watch 18 minutes of video, you can get the idea from this story.

Not ACORN's finest hour, I will freely admit, but it's not like the ACORN folks were encouraging them to go into prostitution. The two folks present everything they are doing as "this is what we're going to do no matter what you say" and ignore the ACORN folks' complaints that their plans are illegal.

I wouldn't be much of a law student if questions along the lines of "I'm planning to do this illegal thing, how can I minimize the risk to myself" shocked me particularly and I doubt ACORN would last long in the inner city of prostitution shocked them. And getting advice on minor things like tax evasion and then moving on to the bigger stuff once the person has started helping you is pretty classic psychological manipulation. Once a person is giving you advice and is involved, it's really hard to put on the breaks. Naturally, even though the filmmaker himself set it up that way, he is shocked and saddened that ACORN folks did what he set them up to do.

Also, ACORN claims that the twosome had tried this at other ACORN offices and had been kicked out. Naturally, they don't have video of that.

So it's not as black and white as it appears. But yeah, not ACORN's finest hour.

Joel Monka said...

I didn't use the Fox story, or the Fox interviews because there are many- including fellow UU bloggers- who insist that Fox makes up stories like this, despite their inability to show a single example of Fox News ever doing so. (Note I said NEWS, not commentary)

"I wouldn't be much of a law student if questions along the lines of "I'm planning to do this illegal thing, how can I minimize the risk to myself" shocked me particularly and I doubt ACORN would last long in the inner city of prostitution shocked them." True, they shouldn't be shocked by someone asking. But any response milder than "Get out of my office" is despicable. Giving advice on how to get tax credits for child sex slaves is despicable. Giving advice on how to launder money from sexual slavery into a political campaign is despicable. I totally don't buy the "psychological manipulation"; they weren't given the third degree, nor were the filmmakers even as convincing as street beggars telling you how they need $25 to get their car out of hock to pick up their mom out of the hospital so she can take care of their baby- no wonder they had been thrown out of other ACORN offices. I'm too old to be shocked, but I am saddened that there are lawyers who, without threats, coercion, or even a cut of the profits, are willing to help people set up an international child sex ring. And they say religion hardens hearts.

Chalicechick said...

I will concede that usually Fox doesn't make up stuff.

I mean, sure, the photo caption on a picture of Joe Wilson on right this second says "Rep. Joe Wilson apologizes after shouting at Obama as he talked about insuring illegals," which strongly implies that Obama was speaking in favor of insuring illegal immigrants. That's a strongly implying a lie, but it isn't exactly making stuff up.

Usually Fox finds someone else who has made up stuff and quotes them (they didn't start the "Obama was raised radical Muslim" bit but they sure enjoyed talking about how other people were talking about it.) Or just plain reports rumors as true. This, of course, leads to them running a lot of hoaxes and stories that sound dramatic but turn out to be untrue. And did I mention the hoaxes?

As for times when Fox News has directly made up stuff, I hadn't gone looking for it before but it was pretty easy to find. I mean the John Kerry manicure story was the most famous example.

Most of time time, Fox doesn't make up stuff it twists and omits stuff. Let's look at a recent example: Here's a Fox story that doesn't have much in common with what actually happened. This principal didn't just forget and accidentally ask one of his flunkies to recite a Christian prayer, he and his school had been embroiled in a lengthy lawsuit about his school's CONSTANT use of Christian prayer, which was so pervasive that the school district had admitted fault and had entered into a consent order banning this guy from forcing any more prayers on his public school. The principal that Fox news is portraying as so innocent CHOSE to VIOLATE A COURT ORDER THAT HIS OWN SCHOOL DISTRICT HAD AGREED TO.

You will note how the Fox report glosses over how that charge was actually "contempt of court," because they don't want to go into that messy "violation of consent order" stuff.

Also, if you google the ACLU quote that Fox news uses you will find that it is from a statement from years before this incident where the ACLU is talking about a completely different case. They, of course, refer to it as the ACLU's "statement on the Pace lawsuit" which is them making up stuff, and then treat the fact that the statement doesn't fit the facts of the case as a victory for their own side.

Also, the report you saw says the ACLU reported the prayer to the court. Actually, it was a school board member. That would also be them making up stuff in a minor way.

So yeah, even when they aren't making up stuff, I can understand people's skepticism.


who also doesn't get it that Fox News reporters don't understand that sometimes people get email spam and forwards. That's not making up stuff. It's just weird.

Joel Monka said...

I agree that those stories represent much spinning and disingenuousness, but I was talking about actually faking the stories, like NBC Dateline did with their expose about how GM pickup trucks fitted with saddle tanks would explode in an accident. The problem was, try as they might in tests, they couldn't make one explode- so for the final test they removed the safety shield and attached model rocket engines to ignite it.

ABC's 20/20 did something similar with Ford. A laboratory had run studies about the impact of fire in passenger cars; the lab had used incendiary devices to start the fires in the controlled experiments, which was valid research technique because it was the fire they were testing, not the integrity of the vehicle. But ABC took the footage and showed it as an example of how all Fords, not just the Pinto, were dangerous in a collision.

And then there was the 60 Minutes story about how Jeeps roll over even in routine road maneuvers and turns, with dramatic footage of a Jeep rolling over while turning into a parking lot, and rolling while avoiding an obstacle on the road. They neglected to mention that the remote control driver robot was turning the wheel faster than humanly possible, while simultaneously hitting the gas instead of the brake.

All these things can easily be Googled for; this essay will give you plenty of search references- and what I've provided above is only the tip of the iceberg.

That is the sort of not spun, but genuinely faked news I was speaking of.