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Relax, FOX News: ACORN has other plans on tax day

Reported by Ellen - April 12, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Julie

Before I forget, I'm gonna do a shout-out to Neil Cavuto and Michelle Malkin for their help in alerting me to a petition that, what was it, Tea Party gate-crasher ACORN is having people sign and is “misrepresenting as opposition to the Obama agenda?” The Tea Party people are writing about it; I'm sure you masterminds managed to procure a copy. Let's see it.

In a moment of self-punishment, I wandered over to FOX Nation and browsed through this article about effective tea party organizing. (Incidentally, the word “affect” in the headline's subtitle should have been “effect” – just sayin'). I noted that Fox News Contributor and right-wing darling Michelle Malkin put out the Red Alert against potential saboteurs. “These tea parties have become a real target and a magnet for folks on the other side who defend all this big spending," wrote Malkin, adding that protest participants need to be 'happy warriors.'”

Malkin wrote that she's “heard” reports that groups like ACORN may send in "ringers" to disrupt the anti-tax demonstrations. Except, those rumors seem to have been started by her. According to The American Prospect, “I don't mean that someone reported ACORN activists showing up at a tea party and wrote about it on their blog, or that some local newspaper published a story to that effect, I literally mean it started on the Internet. Michelle Malkin linked to this post on a conservative blog, which linked to this post on an online tea party Internet forum. Meanwhile, Malkin has been twittering about this for days, hyping the ACORN/Kos/Obama conspiracy axis.”

Justin Higgins, an organizer for a protest in Columbus, Ohio, where up to 1,500 people are expected, said he'll be watching for dissenters, too. "We're worried about people involved with ACORN doing 'gatebusting,' or trying to get in front of the TV cameras," Higgins told FOXNews.com. "We're going to have people looking out for that." Wow, they've got people. I'm still trying to figure out, though, why Fair and Balanced Fox News' Cavuto, Malkin and the organizers of this “non-partisan” event are so concerned about the possibility of someone who DISAGREES showing up. What's so bad about a Fair and Balanced approach to both sides of this right-wing-driven issue by some very un-Fox-like media outlet?

John O'Hara, membership manager for the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based think tank promoting limited government, keeps insisting, despite the party-goers' desperation to admit only participants in lock-step with the right-wing agenda, that the event is non-partisan. “The thing about this movement is that nobody owns this,” O'Hara said. “It's a nonpartisan thing . . . .”

But, contrary to the right-wingers' conspiracy theories, Charles Jackson, ACORN's national communications director, told FOXNews.com that the organization will actually be holding rallies of its own. "ACORN is going to be engaged in a series of rallies across the country on April 15th in support of the priorities outlined in President Obama's first budget -- investments in education, health care, and getting Americans back to work," Jackson wrote in a statement. "This is the first we've heard of these 'tea parties' and, frankly, a gripe-fest by a bunch of conservatives who's preferred economic policies got us in this mess in the first place is of no interest to us." Couldn't have said it better myself.

In an earlier statement, Jackson wrote: "Every day the conservative movement concocts a new fantasy about ACORN. We are anticipating reports in conservative media tomorrow fingering ACORN's 500,000 member families as the principle cause of global climate change."

ACORN Executive Director Steve Kest had this to say. "I saw some mention of this on a blog, I have no idea even what the tea parties are." He said that he had “only just heard about them yesterday . . . seriously, do you know more about what the deal is here?"

On April 6th, Foxette Michelle Malkin on her website issued another Red Alert, a shout-out to the right wing, hard-core fringe group that seems to largely comprise this Tea Party thingie. “Get ready for the anti-Tea Party sabotage and smear campaign,” her headline shouted. “This is every bit as much about Obama as it is about the GOP lemmings who voted for endless bailouts, who demonized their fiscal conservative colleagues who had their heads on straight, and who continue to sponsor and vote for massive government expansions like the $6 billion national service boondoggle," Malkin wrote. (Uh, Michelle, got a question – call me a gate-crasher: Where were these so-called grassroots protesters (maybe not so grassroots – read more here) when then-President Bush signed the $700 billion Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008? Yeah, that's what I thought.)

Malkin went on to warn, “It’s already happened once before — at the Denver anti-porkulus rally last month, when the Media Matters/Daily Kos crowd shifted media attention away from the policy message by manufacturing fake outrage about some stunt-puller who showed up with a sign comparing Obama to Hitler that I didn’t see and asked for a picture. The local newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News, took the bait.” Wow, they took the bait. You mean they actually reported both sides of a story? Horrifying. And, for the record, Malkin didn’t exactly look like she was being hoodwinked. The sign with the swastika was proudly displayed right under her nose as the camera clicked. And Malkin's initial response was not outrage at the guy who got her to pose with the sign but to attack those who criticized her for posing with him.

What Malkin didn't mention was that at other rallies, such as in Cincinnati, some of the tea party reporters said they felt unsafe at the demonstration. And if you want to know the movement's real agenda, take a look at some of the blogs out there, especially on the website of DontGo Movement. There's your non-partisanship, complete with a blazing headline reading, “Silent Majority No More! Revolution is Brewing.”

No doubt in response to Malkin and Cavuto's Fair and Balanced warning, on another website, someone named Kiki blogged, “ACORN is 'gate busting' Tea Parties nationwide. These far-left goons are attending them and mispresenting [sic] their allegiance. They are getting petitions signed, misrepresenting them as opposition to the Obama agenda. They explain something different than that written on the petition. More fraud, and lies from Obama Acorn people. Please be careful when signing your name to anything at these Tea Parties. We are still not sure what these whackjobs are using the names for, these people are known for violent criminal acts, bullying tactics, fraud and harrassment (just to name a few). Groups like ACORN and CODEPINK are nothing but Anti-American criminal organizations. BEWARE.” 
In a P.S., Kikki blogged, “I just stocked up on Pepper spray at http://shop.christmascentral.com/items/item.aspx?itemid=63674 JUST IN CASE.” Yikes, pepper spray. Just in case “Obama Acorn people”, “whackjobs”, “criminal organizations” should happen by . . . yup, sounds non-partisan to me. The animosity of Kiki and others is not surprising given the repeated use of violent rhetoric and the scapegoating of ACORN in the conservative media (including FOX News).

Considering that Fox News' business guru Cavuto on April 7th had an interview with a couple of Tea Party organizers, and warned against this – what was it, infiltration? – or Attack of the Libs, and Malkin is busy rallying the pepper-spray-wielding base, I can only surmise that Malkin and Cavuto – to name a couple (just Google “violence tea party rallies” and you'll see quite a few references to ACORN, nothing about the red-meat right-wingers wielding pepper spray) – are anticipating trouble at the events and are making a preemptive strike should something go . . . awry. This way, the right-wing spin can be that the libs disrupted what would have been a peaceful event.

Hey Cavuto, Beck, Malkin – anyone! – I'll be waiting with bated breath for a copy of that ACORN petition.