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Fox and Friends, Beck and Hannity -- Running a Con

Reported by Julie - October 5, 2009 -

As reported by Ellen of News Hounds, the monkey-see/monkey-do duo of Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck have been targeting President Obama’s “safe schools” czar, Kevin Jennings. Does it matter to the Fox News powers that be that their “evidence” is based on lies? Nah . . . who needs facts when they can run a con on their gullible audience without ‘em?

But wait, there’s more. It seems that Hannity and Beck, along with Fox and Friends, have been caught by Politifact spinning yarns about White House Political Director, Patrick Gaspard (who, incidentally, holds the same position Karl Rove held in the Bush White House). Fact-checking be damned, Steve Doocy on Fox & Friends, in an interview with Glenn Beck, announced, “"The White House political director is a fellow by the name of Patrick Gaspard . . . And he apparently has been in bed with ACORN and, in fact, Bertha Lewis, who heads up ACORN. He, Mr. Gaspard, was her right-hand man.”

Beck took it a step further, saying, “You know what's really weird is he was also one of the top guys at SEIU (Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, United Healthcare Workers East, the largest local union in America). SEIU and ACORN, the same organization . . . The president has zero credibility when he says, ‘I haven't been following this ACORN thing.’ This is his army, SEIU and ACORN.”

Hannity – who, rumor has it, is getting jealous of Beck’s, uh, attention-getting stunts – also ran with the story.

“And now questions are being raised [see how they do that? Quote another Fox Newsie as some kind of legitimate source raising legitimate questions?],” Hannity blustered, “About a top White House adviser's connections to the group . . . Now the director of the White House Office of Political Affairs, Patrick Gaspard, is said to be closely affiliated with ACORN and, according to the American Spectator, he previously worked as the political director for none other than Bertha Lewis, who is now the chief organizer of ACORN.”

You lie!

Seem as though the game of telephone is alive and well when Fox wants to smear someone. The origin of the “story” is an article entitled, “ACORN’s Man in the White House” written by Matthew Vadum (senior editor at Capital Research Center, “a Washington, D.C., think tank that studies the politics of philanthropy”) for the American Spectator last month. In his article, Vadum quoted ACORN founder Wade Rathke, who in May 2009 wrote on his blog, “Tell me that 1199's former political director, Patrick Gaspard (who was ACORN New York's political director before that) didn't reach out from the White House and help make that happen, and I'll tell you to take some remedial classes in 'politics 101.”

But, according to Politifact’s Truth-o-Meter . . .

Brian Kettenring, a spokesman for ACORN, says it ain’t so.

Scott Levenson, a spokesperson for ACORN, says it ain’t so.

And, in the end, Rathke says it ain’t so – “I misspoke,” Rathke said.

When Fox and Friends and Beck and Hannity were hyping this story that's not even a story (unless you've got something against community organizers), Kettenring could have given them a definitive answer. Levenson could have given them a definitive answer. And Rathke could have given them the ultimate definitive answer. They could have done what Politifact did, and get it straight from the horse’s mouth.

The Fox News theme: Shoot first, ask questions later – if ever.