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Glenn Beck's Witch Hunt Against ACORN And Barney Frank

Reported by Ellen - May 22, 2009 -

Glenn Beck, the man who claims to love his country so much, he keeps bursting into tears at conveniently theatrical moments, went to great lengths to smear a large segment of America while pretending to “investigate” ACORN yesterday (5/21/09). His so-called investigation was more innuendo than information. He repeatedly questioned whether there might be a link between wrongdoing by ACORN's former CEO's brother, ACORN as a whole, the liberal Tides Foundation (which Beck denigrated as radical) and Barney Frank. And yet, Beck didn't even attempt to answer many of his own questions. With video.

During his recent appearance on The View, Beck insisted he's not a reporter but a commentator. But he was sure quacking like someone who thinks he's a reporter during what Fox News called an investigation of ACORN. Oddly, Beck began and ended the segment by attacking Rep. Barney Frank. I guess even Fox couldn't think of a way of working Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers or the ACLU into the smear – yet. Nevertheless, Beck, the incest-fantasizer, seems to take some kind of sadistic pleasure in jeering at Frank.

Beck started by mocking Barney Frank's lisp and then saying, “First, I want to take a look at the organization that he's in cahoots with.” But Beck never established any “cahoots” between Frank and ACORN other than the fact that Frank later said there was no grounds to hold a federal investigation into ACORN. Similarly, Fox subtitled its video (subtitle not seen in the embed below), “Is ACORN linked to Tides Foundation? Barney Frank weighs in.” Actually, no, he didn't.

Beck told about the embezzlement of $1 million dollars by Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder and CEO Wade Rathke. “Law enforcement was never notified. Why?” Beck asked. He didn't bother to try to find out. “Instead, an agreement was negotiated with the Rathke family to pay the money back,” Beck continued, claiming that nobody outside of ACORN would know about the theft so long as the money was returned. “Why?” Beck asked again.

Had Beck bothered to check Google, he would have discovered an explanation in the New York Times.

“We thought it best at the time to protect the organization, as well as to get the funds back into the organization, to deal with it in-house,” said Maude Hurd, president of Acorn. “It was a judgment call at the time, and looking back, people can agree or disagree with it, but we did what we thought was right.”

...Wade Rathke said the organization had signed a restitution agreement with his brother in which his family agreed to repay the amount embezzled in exchange for confidentiality.

But rather than waste time on the facts, Beck chose more innuendo. Noting that when, in 2008 a whistleblower forced the ACORN board to make the theft public and fire the Rathke brothers, Beck reported that a “white knight” offered to pay the balance of the money owed (to date, $210,000 had been repaid). “Why?” Beck asked again, adding that the benefactor arrived just as some ACORN members were asking to see the books. Beck never said that there was a connection between the two events, never provided any evidence to indicate there was, beyond his suggestive “questions.” Then, adding to the pile of aspersions, Beck said that the donor had wished to remain anonymous. “How come?” he asked. Once again, there was nothing beyond his suggestive remarks to indicate that there was anything untoward about a donor wishing to remain anonymous or coming forward at a time when the organization was in trouble.

The “moneyman,” as Beck called him, turned out to be Drummond Pike, CEO of the Tides Foundation. “Pike wasn't family. Apparently, there was nothing to gain. So why would he give almost a million dollars as restitution?” Beck not-so-subtly hinted. “Why?” Beck quoted Pike's explanation that, basically, he wanted to help ACORN at its time of need. But then Beck added, with the same kind of vagueness he was criticizing in ACORN, “But ACORN insiders say Pike didn't want a forensic audit of ACORN's books because he wanted to protect his own interest and those of other ACORN donors.” Who were the “ACORN insiders” saying that and to whom? What were their grounds for making such an accusation? Beck never said. Once again, the audience was left with his smarmy slurs instead of real information.

Beck continued, “The Tides Foundation is a major source of revenue for some of the most extreme groups on the left.” I don't know about all their projects but plenty of them are not extreme. A quick scan of their Projects Directory turned up Aids-Free World, whose goal is to “improve and accelerate the global response to AIDS;” the California Straw Building Association, whose mission is to “further the practice of straw-bale construction;” and the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, dedicated to “increasing access to quality health care for Latinos and the underserved, - increasing health promotion for Latinos and the underserved, - increasing research and data sources for Latinos - developing an organizational infrastructure that will support ongoing efforts to meet these goals.” But maybe Beck thinks eradication of AIDS, straw building and healthy Latinos are radical causes.

Beck next claimed that Tides served as a “funnel” for donations from those who “reportedly don't want to be linked with” the radical causes Tides supports. Again, Beck didn't bother to tell his audience who or what “reported” that.

“And guess who's currently serving on the foundation's board of directors? The one and only Wade Rathke.” Beck must have forgotten to mention that Wade's the brother who didn't steal.

Continuing with his smears-by-suggestion, Beck noted that Pike once said that anonymity is very important to many of his donors. “The question is, why? Why is it so important?” Beck said he wants answers but he made no attempt to get them.

Instead of further investigation by, say, interviewing people in a position to know about the so-called connections between Tides and ACORN or even ACORN's finances, Beck called on Fox's Griff Jenkins to corral Barney Frank and demand to know why Frank has not called for a federal investigation into ACORN since they receive federal money.

Frank gave what I thought was a reasonable answer: that his jurisdiction was only over federal money and that he has not seen any indication that ACORN had misspent any federal money (money, Frank drily noted, that had been awarded ACORN by the Bush administration). “If someone has evidence... no one has sent it to me yet,” he told Jenkins.

So did Jenkins provide any evidence of misspent federal monies or any other reason as to why Frank would have jurisdiction? No, like Beck, Jenkins seemed more interested in making Frank look bad than in enlightening his viewers. So Jenkins repeated his question, “Would you hold hearings or call for an investigation?” and then later told Beck, “I get the point. Chairman Frank is not going to call for an investigation or hearings.” Jenkins also groused that neither Rep. John Conyers nor Rep. Ed Towns (both Democratic committee chairs) had said they would hold hearings (no word on whether Jenkins provided THEM with any evidence that federal money had been misspent). And then Jenkins just happened to note, “Although I AM hearing from the ranking Republicans. They're interested in finding out a little more of ACORN's practices.”

Beck promised that he was going to “try to gather up that information from insiders at ACORN” so Jenkins could present it to Frank.

Don't hold your breath about the information being gathered. The "presentation" to Frank is nearly a certainty.