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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

ACORN, the Media, and Culture

In my capacity as a citizen of Illinois, I took it upon myself to contact both Roland Burris and Dick Durbin to see why they voted to continue to fund ACORN. Senator Burris has a press release but it's not available on line. I may receive an email in a bit and then I will post it. The basic idea of the release is this. Senator Burris is deeply troubled by the allegations. He believes that there needs to be strict oversight over the group. He also believes the group should not be defined by a few "bad apples". ACORN does a lot of good work providing services to low and mid income families in the inner cities and cutting off funding would cut off that good work.

Senator Durbin's statement was similar. Senator Durbin's office believed that this is a criminal matter and not a matter for the Congress. His office believed also that these videos showed a few bad apples and shouldn't reflect on the group as a whole. Senator Burris' office told me they were in no position to answer any questions. In other words, he laid this hand grenade on his staff, gave them a statement, and expected them to figure it out from there. Senator Durbin's staff took questions but frankly they were in no better position to answer any questions. I pointed out that Dale Rathke embezzled $1 million from ACORN, that Wade Rathke covered it up along with severl lieutenants, and that they've owed millions in past due taxes. Of course, the Issa report concluded that ACORN is a criminal organization. His office told me that they would relay my concerns to the Senator.

The manner in which both Burris and Durbin treat these latest revelations is similar to the way some in the media treat the entire issue. Burris doesn't even have the statement available on his site yet even though there's a page set aside for press releases. His staff wasn't even in a position to take questions. Durbin's statement is also not available yet on line. His staff took questions but clearly weren't prepared for many. That's not the fault of the staff. They weren't prepped for questions. The Senators clearly didn't think that prepping them was necessary.

It's this sort of dismissive attitude that many in the media take to ACORN. There's the now infamous exchange between Charlie Gibson and two Chicago radio personalities. In that exchange, Gibson admits that he knows nothing of the story. He further goes on to say that this is a story for cable. We all know that the MSM has all but ignored the story.

So, this ACORN story is now the latest reincarnation of our culture wars. There are those in our culture that think it is their duty to decide what is and isn't a major story. That's the position that both Burris and Durbin take. To them these incidents are merely isolated incidents that shouldn't be treated as anything more than that. They have obviously ignored the years and years of evidence of wrongdoing by ACORN and now treat these incidents as isolated.

The MSM is doing much the same. There is a collective yawn. Of course, no one should decide what is and is not news. What is or is not news is defined by its worthiness, impact, fascination, verifiability, etc. There are certain characteristics that are either there or they aren't. In this case, the ACORN story has all the characteristics. Some just choose to ignore it regardless.

So, what's happening is that this story is unfolding with some literally standing on the sidelines. There are those that care about this and those that don't. When 83 of 90 Senators vote the exact same way, that's news. We can't get that many Senators to agree to name an airport. Yet, we got that many to agree to defund ACORN. That's news and yet only some in the media This is NOT a partisan issue. Greg Hall is a liberal and a Democrat and he's a former ACORN employee. He knows where the proverbial bodies are buried. He wants ACORN investigated and he isn't shy about saying so. The folks at ACORN 8 are almost universally liberal and Democrat. Many have told me that they believe in ACORN's mission. They want to see a group like ACORN battling for the lower and middle classes in the inner cities.

This isn't a partisan issue but a corruption issue. That should be a bi partisan issue. Corruption isn't liberal or conservative but wrong and it's corrossive. It must be stopped. There is overwhelming evidence that there is something really wrong at ACORN. Yet, we have a schism in our society between those that think this is a very bad thing and those that dismiss it as background noise. That's another reincarnation of our culture wars. There are those that find corruption wrong and want it stopped. Then, there are those that see corruption and dismiss it as minor incidents. Everyone must decide which side they are on.


Stop the presses/ Patrick said...

Who or what is propping up the mainstream media? If the Washington Post and their like are losing $1.10 for every paper they sell, then what is keeping them going? Is it the hope of a government bailout? Is it the Hotel chains or whoever buys these rags in bulk? The mainstream media is the enemy of America and whoever buys these rags is an accomplice. The quicker they fail the better.

mike volpe said...

I won't pretend to know the detailed financials of all these newspapers, but I think you are overstating things. A lot of the major newspapers are going under. here, the Sun Times is on its last breathe. The New york times is now in junk bond status. Lot's of newspapers have folded. No one, I believe, is propping anyone up. They are hurting.

Incredible said...

Here is the contact info for the 7 Senators.