Rachel Maddow’s dizzying intellect was on display Thursday night. By dizzying of course we mean “spinning so fast she can’t see straight.” Maddow has chosen defending ACORN as a perhaps-not-so-unlikely hill to die on. Thursday night, she vehemently defended ACORN, calling them a “trumped-up boogieman” and that ACORN “has been caricatured by people, like Congressman [Steve] King [R-IA], as a corrupt, criminal enterprise.” As you’ll see, “caricatured” in this case must mean “shown to be what is is.” Ah, the funny, funny dialect of Rachel Maddow.
Actually, if you don’t think critically and tend to turn your brain off while watching television—which is the way we imagine most people can stand to watch Maddow for an hour—her segment laughably titled “The TRUTH about the LIES about ACORN”–was effective. If you weren’t paying close enough attention, she quite effortlessly shifted the debate away from the actual issues and into her specialty: shots at the right and character assassination. But if you care at all about facts and honest debate, it was more “dishonest and deceitful” than “effective.” Call it lies about the truth about ACORN, if you will.
In a twelve-minute segment where she proceed to call conservatives who’ve brought ACORN’s misdeeds to light every name in the book, she hardly bothered to mention the recent expose on ACORN at all. In fact, she claims that the story only “broke open” when Democrats (finally, after years of urging by Republicans) agreed to de-fund the radical organization. No, sorry Rachel, the story was actually “broken open” by a little thing like video evidence of ACORN supporting criminal activities. Not that you tune into Maddow for facts (if you tune in at all), but there they are.
Maddow worked herself up into one of her typical rants decrying attacks and misrepresentations about ACORN, and then proceeded to try and prove it by ignoring the recent videos exposing ACORN’s willingness to support prostitution, tax evasion, and sex slavery. She couldn’t even be bothered to mention them except as a throw-away line blurted out at the very end of her segment where she of course called it an “entrapment video.” Wonder what she thought of Chris Hansen, hm?
Instead, she chose to focus on ACORN’s lobbying for a higher minimum wage. This is what we in the logical world refer to as a “red herring.” Or, put another way, the “Hitler was kind to his dogs” defense. These facts may be true, but are not in any way relevant to the actual charges, nor do they excuse the wrong done.
Advocating for a higher minimum wage—a position ACORN is welcome to take—has nothing to do with the serious issues that a twentysomething and his girlfriend managed to expose with nothing more than $3000 and a pair of cheesy outfits. Just because an organization does something ostensibly good does not excuse their reprehensible (and illegal) acts elsewhere. There’s a debate to be had about what the minimum wage should be or whether minimum wage laws are effective, but for Maddow to turn a blind eye to ACORN’s systemic and obvious corruption because they lobby for an issue she agrees with is patently foolish and blindly partisan. One would think that Maddow would know this, given her Ivy League background. If we, a couple of state-school kids, can point this out, surely she’s aware as well? We think she is, but she just doesn’t care. It’s not her job to be honest. It’s her job to promote Democratic and leftist boosterism at every turn.
The irony of Maddow’s position deepens in that ACORN—that supposed champion of minimum wage laws—itself fought to the point of going to court against paying its own employees minimum wage on the grounds that doing so would lead ACORN to be able to higher fewer workers. Which, oddly enough, is exactly the argument that opponents of minimum wage laws—the people ACORN has fought tooth-and-nail—have made for years. That’s ACORN’s version of practicing what they preach for you.
Also, unsurprisingly, MAddow tried to obscure President Obama’s well-documented ties to ACORN. She claimed it was “blatantly false” that Obama ever worked for ACORN. Well, we suppose that depends on what your definition of “worked for” is. If your definition includes “ performing services for,” then it’s Maddow who is clearly in the wrong here. Obama himself doesn’t even try to hide how closely he’s worked with ACORN. She also mocks Rep. Steve King of Iowa for pointing out that Obama actually did say to a group of ACORN workers “we’re going to be calling all of you in to help shape the agenda.” Maddow ignores Obama’s defending ACORN in court, running a get-out-the-vote effort by ACORN, and training ACORN staffers, among other things.
Then she brought on Peter Dreier, who she introduced simply as a “professor at Occidental College” to discuss a report he wrote on how the media has supposedly gotten their ACORN stories wrong. What she neglected to inform her audience is that Dreier has worked with ACORN for years, partnering with them and funding them while working for the National Housing Initiative. The NHI has frequently defended ACORN and often turns over the pages of its magazine to ACORN to use for their propaganda. Dreier has a long history of writing pro-ACORN spin material. Hardly the impartial academic Maddow paints him as.
Maddow let him repeat the lie that ACORN was responsible for discovering all the voter fraud. As we said when ACORN’s Bertha Lewis made the same claim, that is simply not true. He also claimed that all of the prosecution of ACORN was done by “Republican attorney generals” who were just out to get ACORN. Sorry, Professor, but that too is a lie if you look at the facts.
Taken all together, Thursday’s show was practically a textbook on dishonest debating tactics. Of course, Maddow is hardly the only one on the left trying to rewrite ACORN’s sordid history. There is a phrase the left loves – “how do you ask someone to be the last to die for a lie?” Well Rachel, do you want to be the last one to “die” for the lie that ACORN is anything but a corrupt, radical, and distinctly anti-democratic organization? Or will you wake up and realize how ridiculous a position you are taking? Her track record says she won’t. Those of us who cherish truth and sanity hope she might.