Leave it to those vigilant journalists at Fox News to attempt to discredit the Wall Street occupation by associating it with the dreaded ACORN organization. Jana Winter's expose it at pains to tie the actual organization reportedly aiding the occupation, New York Communities for Change, as closely to its former ACORN associates, and by illogical extension to all ACORN's alleged sins, as possible.
"NYCC’s connection to ACORN isn’t a tenuous one," Winter writes, "It works from the former
ACORN offices in Brooklyn, uses old ACORN office stationery, employs
much of the old ACORN staff and, according to several sources, engages
in some of the old organization’s controversial techniques to raise
money, interest and awareness for the protests."
Those details would matter only if you assumed that every ACORN activist or ACORN office shared equally in the guilt of any member caught in or accused of indiscretions. But for the Fox base audience, ACORN as a whole was an evil conspiracy to steal elections through fraudulent voting. And since many activists still want to maximize the poor vote, that conspiracy is still alive in Fox's eyes. Winter talks to anonymous NYCC staffers who claim that they were sent out to solicit donations on fraudulent pretenses, telling people that they were fundraising for other benevolent purposes while the money raised was actually being spent on packing the occupation with paid protesters. Going against the initial narrative of a movement instigated by Adbusters magazine, Winter suggests that ACORN was behind it from the start, dating back at least to last May. That'd make the occupations as much an instance of "astroturf" in Fox-watchers' eyes as the allegedly Koch-fueled Tea Parties are for MSNBC-watchers.
Anonymous whistleblowers are meat for journalists across the ideological spectrum, so we shouldn't dismiss the Fox story simply because of its reliance on the anonymous. But we should think critically about the story Fox is trying to tell. According to that narrative, ACORN furthers its insidious socialistic agenda by recruiting the dregs of society (one source says she was hired out of a homeless shelter) who then pretend to be political just to make a buck. ACORN supposedly tried to make a mass political movement out of people who were only in it for the money. Now some of them blow the whistle on NYCC and Occupy Wall Street, denouncing the lot as a big ACORN conspiracy. "Yes, we're still ACORN," one says, "there is still a national ACORN." After taking money from "ACORN," they now spill the beans to ACORN's sworn enemy. If they were telling radicals what they wanted to hear before, they're now saying what reactionaries want to hear. Were they suddenly converted to sincerity in spasms of conscience -- or should we be asking how much Fox paid them?