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Fox Teams Up With Darrell Issa To Use ACORN To Smear Obama

Reported by Ellen - February 23, 2010 -

As Julie noted, Bill O’Reilly played a “new tape,” recently “discovered” by Rep. Darrell Issa’s office (R-CA), of President Obama praising ACORN in 2007 and trumpeted that with the announcement, “President Obama has avoided the subject of ACORN ever since that activist group got into a lot of trouble.” So what’s the point of playing a tape from 2007 (when ACORN’s troubles occurred in September 2009) if not to smear President Obama with it? As if to confirm my theory, Fox News called its segment from The O’Reilly Factor, “New Obama-ACORN Tape Surfaces.” But The Factor was not the only place that “new” video was played. It was on Glenn Beck. It’s on Fox Nation. Sean Hannity went so far as to have Issa discuss it on the air. If this is not an example of Fox News operating as the communications arm of the GOP, I don't know what is. Meanwhile, Issa and Hannity did not seem to realize their own ridiculousness as they each told falsehoods while accusing Obama of not being honest. With video.

Just in case you hadn't already gotten the message, Fox News called Hannity’s video, “Did Obama Lie About ACORN?” The point, as in all the segments, was to suggest that Obama’s ties to ACORN go deeper than he admits. But as Julie pointed out, the heavily edited video reveals nothing that was not known months ago when PolitiFact reported the same quotes from a visit then-candidate Obama made with ACORN leaders in 2007. PolitiFact went on to detail the extent of Obama’s relationship with ACORN which is pretty darned flimsy. But it just shows how eager Fox News is to jump at any opportunity to smear two birds with one old video.

Despite its enthusiasm for grasping at any thin straw connecting Obama to ACORN, “fair and balanced” Fox has ignored the big, fat lies told right on the air by ACORN sting “prostitute” Hannah Giles, the hugely dubious assertions of "pimp" James O’Keefe, the extensive dissembling of their boss Andrew Breitbart, and spent little time investigating the pretty darned significant federal felony charges currently pending against O’Keefe for entering the office of a U.S. Senator under false pretenses and trying to tamper with her telephones. So while I caught four Fox News reports on this old video, I’ve yet to see a single segment about a little federal civil court case against O’Keefe and Giles for recording a Pennsylvania ACORN employee without permission, which happens to be against the law there. Giles and O'Keefe also face potential trouble from the states of Maryland and California.

And while Giles and O’Keefe have gotten in a heap of legal trouble, ACORN has been exonerated by two investigations including one by the Congressional Research Service, conducted since Giles and O’Keefe cooked up their sting operation (and have yet to release the unedited videos). That was another point Hannity failed to mention. I’m sure, however, his antagonism toward Obama and ACORN has absolutely nothing to do with Hannity's dismal record on race.

To add dishonesty to hypocrisy, Issa has a terrible record on matters of integrity and truthfulness, as Julie pointed out. But just as it was overlooked on O’Reilly, Beck and Fox Nation, so was it overlooked on Hannity. In fact, Issa told some falsehoods right there on the air that Hannity disregarded. And Hannity had his turn at fabrications, too.

Nevertheless, Hannity declared, without irony, “I think the president has a credibility problem.”

“You think?” Issa snickered.

“I’m stating the obvious,” Hannity joked.

“With every broken promise, what does it do to his credibility?” Hannity asked by way of urging Issa to attack.

Not surprisingly, Issa obliged. Issa cited Obama’s poll numbers and blamed “things like (Obama’s) support of the Service Employees International, the number one person to visit the White House is the head of a labor union, closely connected to ACORN.” Issa must be getting his latest “facts” from Glenn Beck. But when Beck made the claim last December, PolitiFact rated it “False” on its Truth-O-Meter.

Meanwhile, in synch with Issa, a banner on the screen read, “NEW VIDEO SHOWS PRES ADMITTING TO A RELATIONSHIP W/ACORN” and then later, “HAS THE PRES BEEN HONEST ABOUT HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH ACORN?”

But Issa was not through misinforming. After being prompted by Hannity, Issa said what he got from the video was, “(Obama) understands the importance of a very corrupt organization that took federal money, state money, private money, charity money and government handouts and did political campaigning for certain Democrats. And it’s very important to remember, they picked which Democrats they liked.”

It might be even more important to remember that despite Issa’s suggestion otherwise, a Congressional Research Service report recently found that ACORN had not misused any federal funds.

“I read last week that they’re (ACORN) getting $3 billion of taxpayer money. Did I read that wrong?” Hannity asked.

Yes, he did. But don’t count on Issa to correct the record. “You read right that they’re eligible for and they’re in the queue for several billion dollars of money,” he said. Issa cited a recent court decision overturning Congress’ ban on appropriating funds to ACORN. But he forgot to mention that there is no allocation in the current budget for ACORN. Just as Megyn Kelly did with reporter Molly Henneberg last week, it’s speculation presented as a likelihood without any evidence to back it up. Issa added, “As soon as we take the pressure off of their past and continued criminal activities, they will get funded again as long as the Democrats are in charge.” Issa forgot to tell us what criminal activities ACORN is continuing. The last I heard, two recent investigations found none.

Another banner on the screen read, “PRES OBAMA DOWNPLAYED HIS KNOWLEDGE OF ACORN IN 2009.”