So the ACORN videos are crossing over to CNN and the Daily Show (h/t: Conor). At this point, it seems rather hard to deny that there’s something wrong with ACORN. By appearances, it looks like there’s a whole lot wrong. The conservative blogs and FOX News put the videos in a narrative where ACORN is bottom-to-top an organization of corrupt thugs. I’m not yet convinced, which is not to say that I want to defend ACORN. I’d just like to see someone dig a little deeper.
For example, we see that ACORN staffers in at least four cities are willing to keep talking to people who make requests that are increasingly morally horrifying. Why are they doing this? Do they help people set up criminal enterprises on a regular basis? Or is it that they’re they willing to say what they have to say to get people to join ACORN? What do people who live near ACORN offices in New York or Baltimore say about the organization? John Fund at the Wall Street Journal is working to provide some of this context. He’s talked to former ACORN board members, he knows when and where ACORN’s run into legal challenges of its voter registration drives, and he’s aware that Democrats have also called for hearings on ACORN. (He gives the example of John Conyers, from Michigan, who made his complaints last March.)
You know, comparing Fund’s work to what’s posted on Big Government gives an interesting old/new media perspective to this whole thing. Fund has been tracking and criticizing ACORN for years as part of his writing on election fraud. He’s got sources and can put his argument in perspective. Big Government has the hot videos and can get ahold of all sorts of documents, but they don’t pull it into a narrative that can convince me that they know much more than I do about how ACORN works from the inside.
This is, I guess, why I’m relieved that this story is moving out of the conservative media landscape. It deserves treatment by people who aspire to objectivity (though I think I’d put Fund in this category), and want more out of the story than a way to attack Obama.