Public Policy Polling's most recent survey of the Massachusetts Senate race brings some troubling, but unsurprising news. A full 25 percent of respondents say that they "think ACORN will try to win the election for Martha Coakley." Only 38 percent of respondents think the group won't try to hijack the election; 37 percent aren't sure.
Actual voter fraud is extremely rare. Nonetheless, a full quarter of Massachusetts voters think that a community activist group whose employees occasionally engage in admittedly sloppy voter registration work (which doesn't turn into actual voter fraud, since "Mickey Mouse" doesn't end up making it to the polls on Election Day) is going to swing a Senate race.
This is nuts, but as I said above, ultimately unsurprising. Fox News and its right-wing-noise-machine-comrades have spent years demonizing the group, talking up sketchy "voter fraud" claims that were trumpeted by Republican leaders. Meanwhile, they've used ACORN as a consistent scapegoat for various national crises. And they trumpeted Andrew Breeitbart's dubious ACORN document dump claims and his heavily edited videos of low-level ACORN employees.
As Washington Examiner editorial page editor Mark Tapscott wrote of the poll - proving a point different than the one he perhaps thought he was making:
Such results perhaps should not come as a surprise, considering the past two years of reporting on the dark side of ACORN, including the organization being charged with voter registration fraud and other election-related abuses in more than a dozen states during the 2008 presidential campaign, the Washington Examiner's expose of federal funding of ACORN, and the sensational revelations by Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com of ACORN workers offering advice on mortgage fraud, tax evasion, and establishment of a brothel featuring underage girls smuggled into the country from Latin America.
From the January 19 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
This seems to have angered Fox News host Greta Van Susteren, who took to her blog this morning to say:
I challenge the White House to come on ON THE RECORD at 10pm and debate ME about ON THE RECORD at 10pm. If they are certain about their swipe (which includes ON THE RECORD at 10pm since they say all of Fox) - they should have the courage and strength to prove it. I am responsible for 10pm so I am eager to talk to them about our work at 10pm - an hour included in their swipe. I will be fair, polite but strong. I expect them to be the same. I will be armed with facts about ON THE RECORD at 10pm - not swipes.
Unfortunately for Van Susteren, as Ben Armbruster notes at Think Progress, even Fox News doesn't consider Greta part of what it considers its "traditional news" operation (we've previously noted that this distinction is bunk). The New York Times reported:
Fox argues that its news hours - 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on weekdays - are objective. The channel has taken pains recently to highlight its news programs, including the two hours led by Shepard Smith, its chief news anchor. And its daytime newscasts draw more viewers than CNN or MSNBC's prime-time programs.
Note to Van Susteren - "traditional news" generally doesn't involve uncritically airing Rush Limbaugh's latest screed.
Eighty advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred of white people." Here are his January 19 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
Posted to Beck's website on January 19, 2010:
The New Republic's cover story on the problems facing the Washington Post covers significant ground, including the paper's problems in adjusting to the digital age, assorted internal squabbling, as well as questionable ethical lapses (including the recent joint collaboration with a conservative billionaire without appropriate disclosure) but the piece never touches on an issue that surely has contributed to the paper's loss of public trust: its reporting on the Iraq war.
Some examples: In the summer and fall of 2002, the paper failed to record promptly the doubts of then-House Majority Leader Dick Armey. When Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser to George H.W. Bush, wrote a cautionary op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, it apparently didn't strike anyone at the Post as news. ...The testimony of three retired four-star generals warning against an attack before the Senate Armed Services Committee was not covered at all. Speeches by Senator Ted Kennedy and Senator Robert Byrd that seem prescient today were not covered.
The list goes on. Large anti-war rallies in London and Rome went unreported the day after. In October, when more than 100,000 gathered in Washington to protest the war, the story went in the Metro section because the Post underestimated its size.
Here at Media Matters we've also documented the Post falling down on the job with regard to reporting on the war. Surely, it is a difficult time for newspapers all around, but that's no excuse for the Post's failure on this issue when so many lives have been at stake.
I'm just sayin'.
From Politico [emphasis added]:
President Barack Obama plans a combative response if, as White House aides fear, Democrats lose Tuesday's special Senate election in Massachusetts, close advisers say.
President Obama plans to re-emphasize his interest in bipartisanship by addressing House Republicans this week, but whether that will produce an election-year truce is very much in question.
At a Brown rally Monday night, Think Progress caught Fox News' chief political correspondent Carl Cameron "relaxing after the speech with Brown campaign volunteers, hugging staffers, and autographing Brown for Senate campaign materials." Cameron's actions are indicative of Fox's political advocacy in the Massachusetts special election (and in previous elections). Indeed, Fox has hosted Brown several times, providing him a forum to raise funds; Dick Morris has explicitly asked viewers to donate to Brown; and Fox News has suggested that a Brown victory might even boost your 401(k).
So Think Progress took the opportunity to ask Cameron about Fox's political work on behalf of Brown:
TP: When Scott Brown goes on Fox News and he solicits volunteers and -
CAMERON: Dude, I'm on a deadline. I can't -
TP: Doesn't that raise ethical questions?
Sure, she sold a lot of books, thanks in part to the absurd amount of free media attention the Beltway press showered on her publishing debut last November. But in terms of burnishing her reputation, or elevating her stature nationally, Palin's media blitz, via her book launch, appears to have been a colossal failure.
From CBS [emphasis added]:
A new CBS News poll finds that a large majority of Americans say they do not want former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to run for president.
Specifically, 71 percent say they do not want the former Republican vice presidential nominee to run for president, while 21 percent say they do want her to run.
More? A majority of Republicans don't want Palin to run.
The poll also finds that more people view Palin negatively than positively and that her book tour did not improve overall views of her.
Now that we have (yet another) clear picture of Palin's low standing with the public, hopefully the political press corps will stop treating her online press releases (i.e. Facebook posting) as news. They're not. And most Americans don't seem to care about her.
During a January 18 interview with The New York Times, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said that Fox News is "not a traditional news organization ... They have a point of view; that point of view pervades the entire network."
The network is "not a traditional news organization," director Dan Pfeiffer stressed, adding he agreed with former Director Anita Dunn's take on the network.
"They have a point of view; that point of view pervades the entire network," he told The New York Times in a sit-down interview.
"We don't feel the obligation to treat them like we would treat a CNN, or an ABC, or an NBC, or a traditional news organization, but there are times when we believe it makes sense to communicate with them," he added, noting the White House's decision to dispatch counter-terrorism chief John Brennan to Fox News Sunday after the Flight 253 attack was one example of that exception.
Still, Pfeiffer on Monday said Dunn's approach remains in place, noting the White House would "interact with [the network] when it makes sense." But the communications director also signaled the administration's approach to Fox was part of a larger strategy to "engage the discussion" between reporters, lawmakers and voters.
"We will correct the record, whether it's an analyst on Fox, whether its a member of Congress, whether its a reporter or expert...," Pfeiffer said.