Friday, October 10, 2008

A Case Study in Manipulating the Media Narrative, ACORN Edition

Via Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in Huffington Post 6 hours ago (note the closing sentiment and esp. the last four words):

This week, the right-wing is hyperventilating because apparently Democratic election officials raided an ACORN office after they found the names of some Dallas Cowboy football players among the 80,000 new registration forms that ACORN helped to get done in Nevada.

Obviously it's not right for a fake "Tony Romo" to be registered in Las Vegas, so someone was probably playing a not-very-funny joke, or trying to pad their registration numbers to get paid a little more money rather than doing the hard work in the hot Nevada sun that helping voters to register requires, or maybe a provocateur was setting up ACORN for some bad press. But remember the basic point--it's not voter fraud unless someone shows up at the voting booth on election day and tries to pass himself off as "Tony Romo." And who would try to do that? No one is going to be that stupid.

The truth is, the main voter fraud efforts going on in my lifetime--and I was born the week of the Selma march in 1965--have been repeated conservative attempts, far too many of them successful, to demonize and suppress the vote of African-Americans and Latinos in election after election, a history for which former RNC Chair Ken Mehlman actually apologized a few years ago, while promising the GOP would no longer engage in such tactics.

So they stole an election from Gore, made the Department of Justice into an outfit for partisan hacks, allowed New Orleans to drown, lied us into a war against a country that did not threaten us, replaced science with bad ideology, indebted our grandchildren to China, and turned our banking system into a deregulated casino--but thank the Lord that "Tony Romo" will not be able to sneak in to vote in Nevada next month.

This time, there are already fake flyers mysteriously appearing on the streets of minority areas of Philadelphia, illegal voter purges in numerous states, "caging" tricks, threats of using home foreclosure lists to strike voters from the rolls, and "black box" electronic vote-counting systems under the control of private companies--and we haven't even gotten to election day!

Meanwhile, I say thank you, ACORN. Thank you, Project Vote, for taking our democracy seriously enough to try to include 1.3 million more poor people in a more perfect union.

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