Latoya Peterson at Jezebel has the best concise explanation I’ve seen of the Great FOX News ACORN Scandal. She finds five key questions, and answers them, with an efficiency I can only wish the “established, professional” Media Village Idiots would use more often:
What does ACORN do?
Why did they come up in the 2008 election?
What’s happening with the current controversy?
Where have we seen James O’Keefe before?
What are the mitigating/aggravating factors here?
The comments are well worth reading, too. A number of people discuss their own history with ACORN, stressing the fact that a network of 1200 separate offices with a policy of hiring from the low-income neighborhoods they support, and the usual non-profit-organization tendency to underpay and overwork its staff, will inevitably offer a few soft targets for a right-wing Borat wanna-be with an unlimited budget and no more edifying hobbies to distract him. Since I, unlike Ms. Peterson, am not trying to be scrupulously unbiased, there was one comment I particularly enjoyed:
[T]here are two other “not-malice” possibilities that come to mind as well. 1) As has been pointed out, obvious real-life trolls were obvious and she was fucking with them. 2) When you work in community service in low-income and underprivileged communities, you are often helping people with various mental health problems and people who are just… off. You don’t want to just outright dismiss them, you want to welcome them and accept them, and you kind of develop an attitude of “let’s just hear this guy out.” You can wind up “hearing out” some genuinely messed up and terrible people, because you just kind of get used to folks coming in with very, very, very weird and sketchy claims.
I’m sure Mr. O’Keefe would appreciate the irony that he might just have been mistaken for a genuinely brain-damaged petty criminal looking for a sympathetic audience…