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Monica Crowley on The Factor Gives Short, Short Shrift to ACORN Victories

Reported by Julie - December 23, 2009 -

As Ellen reported earlier, after months and months of Fox News’ witch-hunt against ACORN –O’Reilly, Hannity and Beck – Fox News’ reporting has been a little, uh, sketchy on the news that ACORN has been exonerated by the Congressional Research Service of breaking any federal laws in the last five years and that it properly spent federal funds. And the reporting appears to be REALLY sketchy on the part of the CRS report that said that Fox darling Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe – the pimp and ‘ho duo who filmed ACORN employees allegedly breaking the law -- may have violated state law themselves in their little filming expedition. (You can read more about Giles and O’Keefe on many, many News Hounds posts here, here, and here, to use only a few examples.) But on last night’s O’Reilly Factor, guest hosted by Monica Crowley, she bravely gave, oh, about a minute to the news about ACORN’s exoneration, if she gave a second to the news about Giles and O’Keefe’s potential law-breaking I missed it, and about 15 minutes to a clip of O’Reilly’s tricky little interview back in May with ACORN chief organizer, Bertha Lewis, and Reverend Gloria Swierenga, Maryland ACORN Chairwoman. You know that old saying about eating crow? I think Fox News is gonna have to eat a little acorn. Updated with video.

So this is what I want to report. Fox News, in the form of Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, in particular, set out to destroy ACORN – and almost succeeded. For a while, it looked like Fox News had become the channel of “all ACORN, all the time.” When Hannah Giles was just out jogging one day and got the random thought that it would be fun to dress up as a hooker, and preppy James O’Keefe thought he could pull off pimp – just so they could try to catch ACORN workers at something, anything – Fox News talking heads couldn’t give the decadent duo enough airplay. On the ACORN federal funding issue, Glenn Beck gleefully reported it. Sympathetic interviews were abundant, with Hannity even offering Giles free advertising and assistance with legal services on the air.

Eventually, however, apparently satisfied that they had succeeded in wreaking havoc with ACORN, news about ACORN died down some on Fox. But now, ACORN has been absolved by the CRS of any wrongdoing with respect to its use of federal funds. And there’s more: ACORN sued Congress in federal court to get its funding back, and last week U.S. District Court Judge Nina Gershon ruled in favor of ACORN and “ordered government officials to reinstate Acorn's federal contracts. ‘That Acorn was singled out is obvious and undisputed by the government,’ Judge Gershon wrote. The Justice Department has appealed the ruling.” The issue raised in federal court was “the Constitution's prohibition of bills of attainder, which punish a specific person or group without due process or other rights that courts provide.”

So what does Monica Crowley do? Does she now, in conjunction with this latest news, get Bertha Lewis back on The Factor to talk about ACORN’s federal court victory and its exoneration by the CRS report? (I mean, O’Reilly had Lewis on his show so he could deride ACORN and challenge Lewis to throw open the financial records for O’Reilly’s people to examine, so this is an excellent chance to do that “fair and balanced” thing.) Not a snowball’s chance in hell. Instead, Crowley practically speed-read the news of ACORN’s exoneration, and played the damned O’Reilly-Lewis interview again! At the end of the clip, instead of reiterating ACORN's exoneration, Crowley mumbled something like, “That’s ACORN, there you go.”

Fox’ “fair and balanced” Crowley did everything possible to make it appear as though ACORN is still on the hotseat. There was absolutely no reason to play that clip again unless the plan was to get Bertha Lewis on to talk about ACORN’s exoneration, as a follow-up to O’Reilly’s accusatory interview that turned out to be completely wrong. As it stands, Crowley demonstrated once again that Fox News has no interest in truth, or fairness; its only interest is its rabid right-wing agenda, and ACORN’s exoneration just didn’t dovetail with that.

The federal government wasn’t the only entity that “singled out” ACORN. Fox News singled out ACORN again and again and again – and for them, there’s no appeal process.