The Spectacle Blog

Center for Independent Media Smears Bachmann Over ACORN

By on 6.4.09 | 5:40PM

The leftists at the Center for Independent Media have joined the smear campaign against Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) over her comments about ACORN.

Writer Andy Birkey of the Minnesota Independent (part of the Center for Independent Media) throws a spotlight on the demonstrably false critique published by PolitiFact of Bachmann's correct assertion that ACORN is eligible for $8.5 billion in federal funding. Birkey has deluded himself into believing PolitiFact is correct.

Here are some highlights from the pissing match in progress in the comments section below Birkey's article at the Minnesota Independent:

1) Matthew Vadum
Comment posted June 4, 2009 @ 12:58 pm

PolitiFact did a terrible job.
Reporter Robert Farley's piece is ahit job on Bachmann. Farley ignored important evidence that I provided him. His analysis is incredibly superficial much like the hatchet jobs one can read at the Media Matters for America website. Farley's piece is not investigative journalism at all but a long-winded defense of ACORN.
Among other things, he takes an ACORN official at his word even though ACORN has a long, well documented history of lying about its internal affairs. Besides, ACORN is engaged in racketeering and election fraud is but a tiny bit of its business. It is engaged in extortion, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars and is under investigation by the FBI and at least 12 states. In recent weeks ACORN and ex-workers were charged with election fraud in Pennsylvania and Nevada.
I refuted the PolitiFact article at http://spectator.org/archives/2009/05/28/polifacts-fixers and wrote an extensively researched report on ACORN available at http://www.capitalresearch.org/pubs/pubs.html?id=663.

2) Andy Birkey
Comment posted June 4, 2009 @ 2:18 pm

Thanks Matthew, but I'll trust the work of a Pulitzer prize winner over the Capital Research Center.

"The Capital Research Center came under fire in the 1990s for publishing studies highly critical of charities which engaged in anti-tobacco lobbying efforts.[9]. These charities include the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society. It was later revealed that tobacco giant Philip Morris provided $50,000 in funding to the Capital Research Center.[10]"

3) Matthew Vadum
Comment posted June 4, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

Andy:

That's precisely the kind of snotty response I would expect from an arrogant journalist. Instead of examining the facts you are wowed by credentials. Shame on you. Your job is to pursue the truth wherever it leads you.

If you actually read my critique it is difficult for you to come away feeling that PolitiFact is right. My guess is, like Robert Farley, you're too lazy or careless to actually take in the evidence.

Anyway, I'm not surprised you feel that way, Andy, given that you write for an aggressively left-wing media outlet. Let's take a look at some of the dirty money the Center for Independent Media has taken in recently:

$100,000 from Tides Center in 2007
$75,000 from Tides Center in 2007
$60,000 from Tides Foundation in 2007
$12,500 from Tides Center in 2006
$10,000 from Tides Center in 2007
$6,000 from Tides Center in 2006

That's a total of $263,500 from Tides Center and Tides Foundation in the last three years alone.

Using your reasoning that means the Center for Independent Media is beholden to the extreme left. Tides has long supported the most radical left-wing and progressive groups in America.

It is run by Drummond Pike, a radical leftover peacenik from the 1960s. After the brother of his friend Wade Rathke embezzled nearly $1 million from ACORN Pike came to the rescue of ACORN and paid off more than $700,000 in restitution owing to ACORN. Wade Rathke was on the board of Tides until fairly recently when news of the ACORN embezzlement scandal broke. Pike is also an officer of the Democracy Alliance, a George Soros-led donors' collaborative that seeks to permanently move America to the left.

By your reasoning, these people pay you so you must be doing their bidding.

Perhaps you should begin using facts instead of smears.

4) Andy Birkey
Comment posted June 4, 2009 @ 3:53 pm

Matthew, I did read your essay, and I read Politifact's essay.

You're a right-leaning mouthpiece calling a left-leaning mouthpiece a ‘leaf-leaning mouthpiece."

Is ACORN Housing using taxpayer money for voter registration? That's the question. I've read through a number of your essays and all I can see is vitriol directed at ACORN and some spurious connections you claim as proof. Of course if you actually had proof that ACORN was using HUD money to do voter registration and we found to be in violation of law (i.e. a conviction), then we wouldn't be having this discussion, because your assertions would prove true.

5) Matthew Vadum
Comment posted June 4, 2009 @ 4:17 pm

If the facts I presented at length regarding ACORN's well documented abuse of taxpayer dollars and various antics failed to make an impression on you I suggest you put down the bong and read the articles again. Everything I write is backed up.

No one apart from you and PolitiFact chose to focus on the rhetorical straw man of whether ACORN Housing is using taxpayer money from HUD for voter registration. It is not the question.

Robert Farley used this straw man knowing he could easily knock it down, and that's exactly the approach that your friends at the character assassination factory Media Matters for America do too.

Seriously, how can anyone write a fact-checking piece about a controversial statement made by the figure in question (i.e. Bachmann) and then proceed to focus on statements not made by the person?

PolitiFact is a joke.

It is undeniable that ACORN is eligible for $8.5 billion in federal funds this year. It won't get the whole amount as I have said repeatedly and as Congresswoman Bachmann has said repeatedly. The scandal here is the fact that a group under indictment and under investigation across America for fraud is eligible for any taxpayer dollars.

If you continue to defend ACORN, you are one of the criminal group's useful idiots.

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