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Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Unholy Alliance of Michelle Malkin and Michael Gaynor

I always say I love numbers because numbers don't lie. I recently scanned Michelle Malkin's site, Michael Gaynor's site, and Anita Moncrief's site, and what I discovered is rather illuminating. For instance, on Michelle Malkin's site, Anita Moncrief , an ACORN whistleblower, is mentioned in more pieces (25-19) than Wade Rathke. In other words, if you relied primarily on Michelle Malkin's site for your news, you'd think that Anita Moncrief is more important to the ACORN story than the long time CEO of the group, Wade Rathke. Wade Rathke is known by almost all that follow ACORN whereas Moncrief is relatively unknown by most that don't follow Malkin's site. (Moncrief blew the whistle on ties between ACORN and Obama among other things. Her story became infamous when it was discovered that the New York Times buried her information in the lead up to the election) Furthermore, all but one of the stories started on May 18th. So, in just under five months, Malkin has written 23 times about Anita Moncrief. In that time, the only person I've found mentioned more times by Malkin is the President. (there may be others but I didn't have time to search every name in the world) Each and every time Malkin mentions Moncrief Malkin uses the monikor, whistle blower, and all articles present Moncrief in a positive light.

During roughly the same time period, another blogger, Michael Gaynor, also suddenly begins mentioning Anita Moncrief with the same kind of intensity. Gaynor is even more glowing in his presentation of Moncrief. His presentation of Moncrief becomes embarrassing in one piece in which he points out that Anita Moncrief just wrote her first piece for the web site Big Government. In this piece, Gaynor uses most of the piece to cut and paste a plethora of reader comments from Big Government in response to her piece in which he highlights some of the positive comments left in response to her piece. On top of this, Gaynor has a tendency of quoting Malkin in support of his own characterization that Moncrief is heroic. Gaynor, like Malkin, references Moncrief exponentially more than he references anyone else on the story.(I wanted to do a similar name search for Gaynor but his site doesn't have a similar search icon so I am approximating the number of pieces he's written)

This is important because there have been dozens of whistle blowers related to ACORN. All sorts of folks have presented evidence and information related to wrongdoing on ACORN's part. Yet, if you were to only read Gaynor and Malkin, you'd be under the impression that the only whistle blower was Moncrief. Certainly, in the view of Malkin and Gaynor, the only whistle blower that matters, worthy of praise, is Moncrief.

While both act as more of a P.R. arm for Moncrief rather than journalists, they also act as hatchet people for Moncrief's enemies and rivals, real and perceived. This is a task left mostly to Gaynor while Malkin attacks perceived enemies like the New York Times, which Malkin normally does. Gaynor, starting in about May, begins to attack Fox News, certain members of ACORN 8, ACORN 8 itself, Bill O'Reilly, and eventually even me. All of these enemies if you will come from complicated relationships that Moncrief has created.

In fact, the whole thing is rather complicated. Back on October 22nd 2008, Gaynor "outed" Moncrief as a whistle blower. In that piece, he even released personal emails between Moncrief and Gaynor. One of those emails said this. (Moncrief blew the whistle on a relationship between Project Vote, an ACORN affiliate, and the Obama administration, among other things she revealed)

Anita MonCrief. Google me. Please do not use my name with anyone until we connect. I also emailed Michelle Malkin but she scares me.

It's not totally clear that Moncrief ever gave Gaynor permission to out her, let alone release personal emails, and in fact, I've been told that Moncrief initially complained that she was outed. Eight days later, Moncrief herself started a blog. Initially, Moncrief was quite complimentary of ACORN 8 and its members. In December she published a letter the group had sent her with this by line, "From time to time, I get wonderful emails about the struggle. Here is one I got last night from the ACORN 8". On January 12th, here's how Moncrief described ACORN 8 members Karen Inman and Marcel Reid. (both of whom for full disclosure I've spoken with)

Courageous ACORN whistleblowers Karen Inman and Marcel Reid continue their quest for transparency and accountability for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

That all changed in the spring sometime and there was a falling out. Moncrief herself has since attacked both Inman and Reid and ACORN 8 itself. Furthermore, all while showering Moncrief with adulation, Gaynor himself has simultaneously acted as a hatchet man against ACORN 8, certain members of ACORN, Fox News, and Bill O'Reilly. (who once had Moncrief on his show but hasn't had her on since) Gaynor himself has gone through a transformation. He's been writing about ACORN 8 for the better part of a year. Up until the same relative time period that he began writing incessantly about Moncrief, he wrote sparingly about ACORN 8 and was generally balanced or even favorable. It was only about the time he began writing endlessly in praise of Moncrief he's also begun to attack ACORN 8, O'Reilly, Fox News. (he's been attacking the New York Times throughout) So, at the same time he began putting Moncrief on his journalistic pedestal he also began to attack most of her enemies. Also, coincidentally or not, Gaynor began putting Moncrief on this pedastel at about the same time that Moncrief got sued by Project Vote. That's something that I said hindered Moncrief's ability to speak publicly though she's denied that characterization to me. It can't be denied that Moncrief enjoyed significantly more media exposure prior to the lawsuit than after. (of course if you eliminate Gaynor and Malkin, Moncrief has received almost no media attention since) Fox News put Moncrief on television a handful of times and then stopped. The New York Times used Moncrief as a source for a number of stories and then refused to publish a story in which there was a link between ACORN and the Obama administration on the eve of the election.

What did ACORN 8 do to Moncrief? ACORN 8 refused to share a series of documents they had gathered with Moncrief. Most prominently, they refused to share the Kingsley memo. Elizabeth Kingsley was an ACORN attorney that discovered all sorts of problems when she examined the relationship between ACORN and its affiliates. Kingsley prepared an internal memo to discuss her concerns. Because ACORN 8 were all former and current members of the board of ACORN they had access to this memo. Moncrief was not and she didn't. ACORN 8 refused to share this memo and other documents with Moncrief, and for that matter Gaynor. (for full disclosure they didn't share that memo with me either though they've given me other documents) After this refusal, Moncrief and Gaynor began attacking ACORN 8 rather than referring to its members as "courageous". (this and other documents were shared with Congressional investigators and other investigators by ACORN 8) It's also pretty ironic that Moncrief's relationship with ACORN 8 has soured because they refused to share documents with her. That's because Moncrief never shared any documents with ACORN 8 to provide evidence that there was a relationship between Obama and ACORN.

Meanwhile, Malkin's relationship with Moncrief also went through a transformation. That's obvious. After all, in October of 2008, Moncrief said that Malkin scared her. Then, starting in mid May, Malking references her more than anyone in relation to ACORN. This, coincidentally or NOT, just happened to coincide with Moncrief's transformation from a liberal to a born again conservative. That transformation was completed when Moncrief published this piece that appeared in among other places Malkin's sister site, Hot Air. So, while Moncrief was a self professed liberal, Malkin scared her. Once she discovered her conservative roots, Malkin did nothing but shower her with praise and adulation.

All of it came to a head a few days back when Malkin again praised Moncrief in a piece written after the Louisiana AG said that the size of the embezzlement of Dale Rathke might have been as much as $5 million. That's something that Moncrief had told the New York Times and Malkin scolded the Times for not running with the story when Moncrief informed them of it. In that piece, Malkin quotes ACORN 8 member Michael McCray (another individual I've had conversations with) who also once referenced this number and then she does this.

Michael Gaynor noted at the time in response to McCray: “Tellingly, Mr. McCray
did NOT complain about keeping the information from prosecutors and the public.
Perhaps that is because ACORN 8 leaders also kept important information from
prosecutors and the public and put off the possibility of legal action to
protect then presidential candidate Obama’s election prospects. Incredibly, Mr.
McCray essentially claimed that bad leadership is ACORN’s only problem. Mr.
McCray admitted that the ACORN 8 are out to replace the current ACORN control
group, but the ideological difference is limited…Mr. McCray and the ACORN 8 did
not complaint that ACORN has functioned wrongfully as an unofficial arm of the
Democrat Party for many years. Instead, Mr. McCray celebrated ACORN’s
“effectiveness” and complained only about ACORN leadership corruption.

In response, I criticized the manner in which Malkin quoted Gaynor and the entire relationship between Malkin, Gaynor and Moncrief. In response, Gaynor attacked me. He called me an ACORN 8 defender. Now, it's true I am sympathetic to ACORN 8. That's because they're all whistle blowers and I've made no secret of how I feel about whistle blowers. (I just said something similar about Chicago area whistle blower Pat McDonough) That brings up the final piece of the puzzle. The manner in which Anita Moncrief has been described by both Malkin and Gaynor is completely corrupt. Each and every time they mention Moncrief the monikor whistle blower is used. What both rarely mention are the events that lead her to be a whistle blower. Before she blew the whistle on corruption, Anita Moncrief fraudulently applied for a Project Vote credit card and used it for over $1000 of personal expenses. For this, she was fired. It was only after being fired that she blew the whistle on corruption. (also, Gaynor often quotes Malkin in support of claims that Moncrief is courageous)

The whistle blowers I've covered have blown the whistle in an entirely different manner. Let's take the aforementioned Pat McDonough. He was working for the city of Chicago when he noticed that several trucks were not in use but always on the job site. He reported this apparent waste of Chicago resources to superiors and then to the media. What grew out of his complaints turned out to be the Hired Truck Scandal. He was targeted by his superiors and the city itself. There are still several pieces of litigation with regards to this in the courts. McDonough, to this day, still works for the city. Often he takes orders from people he's blown the whistle on. That's entirely different than Anita Moncrief who only blew the whistle after she was fired. McDonough risked his source of income when he blew the whistle. Moncrief had already lost that income when she blew the whistle. This very important fact has been mentioned by both Malkin and Gaynor but a handful of times. Moncrief is called a "whistle blower", however, each and every time they refer to her. So, unless a reader has read all their work, this statement is totally without context.

The relationship is that much more corrupt when you realize that both Malkin and Gaynor rely almost entirely on Moncrief as the source of any inside information. Each and every time news breaks about ACORN, both Malkin and Gaynor rush to tell the world that in fact Moncrief had already broken said news. Just think about that for a minute. Two journalists rely almost entirely on one source for inside information. They prop said source up using a misleading story line to describe her. They never mention the complicated nature of the manner in which she became a source for both. The certainly don't mention that this complicated relationship likely compromises the manner in which they report on news related to her. Neither mentions that initially Moncrief had a sour relationship with each and only after Moncrief got sued and spoke less did either become champions of her. Furthermore, when appropriate, each acts as an attack dog for her perceived enemies, real and imagined.

The whole thing is that much more ironic given that Michelle Malkin is making a lot of money right now with her book Culture of Corruption. I haven't read it but been told that Moncrief is prominently featured in a chapter. Everything I've relayed is of course not mentioned. It's ironic that Malkin criticizes a culture of corruption all while engaging in some very corrupt journalistic behavior. No journalist shoud be someone's mouthpiece. If they are, that should be revealed. I don't know why Malkin and Gaynor are propping up Moncrief but they are. The facts speak for themselves. Malkin references Moncrief more than she does Wade Rathke. Every single time she's mentioned the monikor whistle blower is attached. The events that lead to her being a whistle blower are rarely addressed. Only a corrupt journalist would ever make Moncrief a bigger deal than Rathke. Gaynor went so far as to write a piece in which he did nothing more than cut and paste favorable comments in defense of Moncrief. More than that, the events that lead to Moncrief becoming a whistle blower are rarely addressed and so her whistle blowing is rarely put into proper context. In other words, both are doing Moncrief's bidding for her.

Epilogue: I fully expect Gaynor to write a scathing rebuttal of me in the next day or two. Let me save him some time. I am not perfect. Dig into my past and you'll find plenty of skeletons. There's plenty of bad things I've done and I only have reasons not excuses. I've beeen a hypocrite plenty. I am not judging Moncrief's theft. Everyone does bad and no one is infallable. Her theft must be referenced, however, if you are going to treat her as a hero. Furthermore, I am not the issue. If the defense to all this is to attack me then all you're doing is attacking the messenger. The message remains the same. It's not right when you stop being a journalist and act as a mouthpiece. It's forgiveable when you admit to it. It's unacceptable to have two jouralists do someone's bidding in an attempt to prop them up and turn them into a much bigger story than they are. It's ironic when one of those journalists is making a lot of money writing a book called Culture of Corruption. I agree with Malkin, Gaynor and Moncrief's politics. I agree with them that there are serious problems at ACORN. That doesn't excuse journalistic corruption. In fact, it's that much worse. This is exactly the sort of thing that ACORN would trot out to show that their opponents can't be trusted. I've always said that the ACORN story must be reported as it is not as someone wants it to be. Malkin and Gaynor are not reporting this story as it is but as someone wants it to be. That's not journalism but propagandist. Propganda is perfectly fine if it's labeled as such. If Gaynor and Malkin want to be propagandists they must label themselves as such. If they continue to merely call themselves bloggers, they must have better journalistic integrity.


Unknown said...

Wow! Thanks for bring to light the fact that MonCrief is hardly a whistleblower. Granted ACORN needs to be investigated but it looks as if Gaynor and Malkin might need to be investigated as well.

FourMartins said...

I. Love. You.