Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another example of how they make a story say anything they want it to

This comes courtesy of a Fox News story dated September 24.
An official report released this week says an ACORN offshoot group cannot properly account for how it has spent millions of federal dollars and recommends that the group repay the government and be put on standby mode until it cleans up its act.

The report from the inspector general for the Department of Housing and Urban Development reviewed how ACORN Housing Corporation -- now called Affordable Housing Centers of America -- has spent federal grant money over the past two decades. The report described the group's book-keeping as "problematic and unsupported," and claimed that more than $65,000 in "ineligible" salary expenses were charged to a federal grant last year, including costs for six employees after they were terminated. ...

The study is the latest blow to the beleaguered low-income advocacy group ACORN and its offshoots. After Congress voted to cut funding to the main organization following the release of undercover videos that showed its workers appearing to help a couple posing as a pimp and prostitute, the organization's affiliates and chapters have been reorganizing under different names.

ACORN Housing Corporation, which was formed in 1985 by ACORN organizers, changed its name this year to Affordable Housing Centers of America.
So yeah, once again ACORN has been caught ripping off public money! Once again it's a "criminal enterprise!" Evil, evil, evil ACORN!

Except, of course, in just that excerpt it's crap four times over.

One: It attempts to equate ACORN with an "offshoot" without mentioning that structurally and financially the groups have been separate since AHCOA was founded 25 years ago.

Two: It leads with references to "millions of federal dollars" and "repay the government" - only to admit pretty much in passing later in the article that the actual amount the report calls on AHCOA to repay is $65,000, with more due back only if the group continues to be unable to account for it.

Three: It spends paragraphs outlining the charges but manages to mention only at the very end of the article (in one of I. F. Stone's "shirttails") that the report alleges neither that funds were misused nor that the work for which the grants were made was not done - and neither does it mention that the report "commends" AHCOA for its "efforts to bring its operations into compliance with Federal requirements and its willingness to resolve the issues in the report."

Four: It brings up the infamous "undercover videos" - which Fox promoted endlessly and breathlessly - without mentioning that they have been thoroughly discredited by revelations that they were selectively edited and that chief creep James O'Keefe lied about how he and his co-conspirator presented themselves to the ACORN employees. It also fails to mention that in a plea deal to dodge a felony rap, O'Keefe later pled guilty to a charge of unlawfully entering federal property in a not-actually-unrelated incident involving an attempt to tamper with the phones of Sen. Mary Landrieu. (If that's not relevant, why is it relevant that AHCOA was founded by ACORN organizers 25 years ago?)

So here's the actual story: An organization which has received federal funds over the years is unable to account for some of that money and if after further investigation it still can't, it will have to repay it. In the meantime, the group has made efforts to improve its compliance with federal regulations.

And here is how the story reads as reported: ACORN IS EVIL!

Just another day at the media office.

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