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Fox & Friends Encourage Viewers To Disregard CRS Exoneration Of ACORN

Reported by Ellen - December 24, 2009 -

As Julie and I have noted, Fox News seems to be giving very little coverage to the Congressonal Research Service report exonerating ACORN, especially in comparison to the extraordinary coverage the “fair and balanced” network gave to the undercover videos made by activists posing as a pimp and prostitute that supposedly “proved” the organization was up to something nefarious. Some might conclude that Fox doesn’t seem quite so interested in news about ACORN that’s positive. In fact, Fox & Friends went out of their way to cast doubts on the positive news they did report yesterday (12/23/09). Furthermore, co-host Alisyn Camerota misconstrued the allegations against ACORN. With video.

Even in the teaser for the upcoming segment, co-host Steve Doocy made sure to suggest that ACORN must still be guilty of something, though he did not say what: “Despite several undercover videos like this one (said with absolute contempt) – Remember that? The fake pimp and hooker showed up? Well, a Congressional investigation has just cleared ACORN (said with obvious disbelief). They said ACORN did nothing wrong. What? (said with even more disbelief).” You really need to see the video to appreciate just how biased Doocy sounded.

When the actual discussion began, co-host Brian Kilmeade said, “Good news is, ACORN’s clean.”

Doocy said, “Yeah, that’s what I hear. Isn’t that great?” He could not have been more sarcastic.

Alisyn Camerota, substituting for co-host Gretchen Carlson, laughed a little and said, “Yes,” thereby conveying her own scorn.

Camerota added, looking at her notes, “According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service… the CRS decided… (ACORN) did not misuse its federal funds.” Then, she added what can only be described as bias and spin. “Of course, this flies in the face of everything that we’ve seen with our own eyes (she put her hands to her temples) about ACORN, which is when a documentarian posing as a pimp and a prostitute go in, the ACORN workers helped them set up a brothel for underage girls (those last two words said with special emphasis). But, (CRS) say(s) that, in fact - if you can believe this - the Congressional Research Service says it was the film makers that actually broke the law by recording this and taping this without permission.”

What Camerota didn’t mention is that no ACORN worker actually helped set up a brothel or engage in any other illegal activity. As the Washington Post reported, “Some ACORN employees appeared willing to support (my emphasis) illegal schemes involving tax advice, misuse of public funds and illegal trafficking in children” thus giving the “impression,” as an internal ACORN report found, “that ACORN believes it is above the law.” That, of course, is a far cry from helping to set up a brothel or assisting in the illegal trafficking of children. Furthermore, considerable doubt has been cast on the integrity of the undercover videographers. One of them, Hannah Giles, has admitted to having an anti-ACORN agenda before she started the project and she has been caught lying on television about the results. Furthermore, exculpatory footage was edited out of the videos. Media Matters has called on Andrew Breitbart, the mentor for young Giles and her video “pimp,” James O’Keefe, to release all the unedited ACORN videos. So far, he has not.

Nevertheless, Doocy said, “This is so crazy. Keep in mind, the federal government voted not long ago to keep ACORN from getting any of their federal money. But then a federal judge threw that out. And they said, ‘You can’t single out a single organization.’ And it looks like they are back on track to get their dough.”

Doocy continued, “But when you look at this video (b-roll footage of one of the anti-ACORN videos played as he spoke), how can it possibly be legal for an organization to get federal money and yet encourage people on how to break the law, how to skirt the law? …It’s crazy.” Doocy, who's the one working for a news organization, didn't even try to find out the answer to that question. One can't help but think his only interest was in raising it and thus casting aspersions on the CRS' findings.

Kilmeade piped up with some more ACORN incriminations. “They’re registering Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse to vote for president. Remember that?”

Camerota noted, “Yes, and they did find that there was voter registration fraud… but not voter fraud.”

But what Camerota forgot to mention is that ACORN was not found guilty of voter registration fraud, some of its workers were. In Nevada, ACORN was accused of breaking the law by attaching financial incentives to voter registrations.

Doocy did correctly point out, “So people were registered wrongly. But none of those wrongly registered people actually voted.”

So there you have the Fox & Friends recipe for “fair and balanced:” Briefly summarize the results of ACORN’s latest legal issues; avoid any real follow up on the issues about the legitimacy and import of the prior incriminations coming from activists Giles, O'Keefe and Breitbart; cast doubt on the validity of the CRS report exonerating ACORN; denigrate the ACORN organization while you’re at it; wrap up the segment by having two hosts point out that the organization is not quite as guilty as the third host had suggested.