The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Charles D. Jackson, Communications Director, at 504-994-4669, or communications(at)

New Report Shows Media Consistently Scapegoat ACORN

Media Matters shows Media Scapegoats Group Instead of Using Substantive Analysis


Today, Media Matters released a new report showing that when
discussing major news stories, conservatives in the media have
repeatedly resorted to blaming ACORN in place of substantive analysis
of causes and solutions, even where the organization has little or
nothing to do with the issue. The report can be viewed at:

"We are disappointed, but not surprised, in the report's findings,"
said Bertha Lewis, CEO and Chief Organizer of ACORN. "ACORN has watched
over the years as the right wing has attempted to blame us for
everything from the 2008 financial crisis to voter fraud. We hope that
this report serves as a wake-up call that we must no longer be used as
a kicking post."

During the 2008 financial crisis, several in the media claimed,
suggested or uncritically reported that ACORN contributed to the
housing crisis by bullying banks into irresponsible lending to
minorities. For example, the media has falsely asserted that much of
the housing crisis was caused by ACORN intimidating banks under the
Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to lend loans to minorities and the
poor, all of whom could not make payments. In fact, according to
housing experts, a large number of subprime loans were not made under
the CRA.

Also, during the 2008 presidential and general election, the media
falsely linked ACORN's voter registration campaign to allegations of
voter fraud. The media, including CNN and the Wall Street Journal,
repeatedly failed to report that in many states in which ACORN
registered voters, state law required the organization to submit all
registration forms filled out despite being flagged as fraudulent.
Moreover, actual instances of illegal votes being cast as a result of
registration fraud are extremely rare.

In the debate over the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,
the media repeatedly claimed that the bill contained language to funnel
money to fund ACORN. However, the act does not mention ACORN or
otherwise single it out for receiving funding, and ACORN itself has
said that it is ineligible for the funds and has no plans to apply for

The media, including The Washington Times and, has also
uncritically reported that ACORN will be a national partner with the
Census Bureau in its effort to recruit more than 1 million temporary
workers, baselessly suggesting the group will fraudulently influence
the count or that the Obama administration is politicizing the process.
However, ACORN is only one of "more than 250" groups partnering with
the Census Bureau to recruit workers.

Many in the media have also vilified public figures' relationships
with ACORN. For example, during the 2008 Senate recount in Minnesota,
the media uncritically reported that Minnesota Secretary of State Mark
Ritchie's "ties" to ACORN were proof of his favoritism of Democratic
challenger Al Franken over Republican incumbent Norm Coleman.

The report also cites incidences where undocumented immigrants are
used as scapegoats, including during the debate over the 2009 State
Children's Health Insurance Program, when many in the media falsely
claimed that the bill made it easier for undocumented immigrants to
access health benefits.

To read more:

Media Matters Report (HTML)

Media Matters Report (PDF)

Media Matters Press Release (HTML)

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, working together for social justice and stronger communities. Since 1970, ACORN has grown to more than 350,000 member families, organized in 850 neighborhood chapters in over 100 cities across the U.S. and in cities in Argentina, Peru, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Canada.