Inevitable: Right-Wing Media Freak Out Over Nonexistent “ACORN” Tie To Occupy Wall Street

Led by Fox News, right-wing media have claimed that ACORN is playing a “behind [the] scenes role” in Occupy Wall Street, alleging that the group New York Communities for Change (NYCC) -- which is led by a former ACORN official -- is paying people to join protests and collecting money to fund OWS activities. But NYCC has flatly denied these claims, and ACORN -- which has been a right-wing media bogeyman for years -- disbanded in November 2010.

Led By Fox, Right-Wing Media Claim Nonexistent ACORN Is Paying Protesters To Join Occupy Wall Street Movement

Fox News: “ACORN Playing Behind Scenes Role in 'Occupy' Movement.” An October 26 article cited unnamed sources who claimed that "[w]hat people don't understand is that ACORN is behind" the Occupy Wall Street movement. The article also claimed:

The former New York office for ACORN, the disbanded community activist group, is playing a key role in the self-proclaimed “leaderless” Occupy Wall Street movement, organizing “guerrilla” protest events and hiring door-to-door canvassers to collect money under the banner of various causes while spending it on protest-related activities, sources tell

The former director of New York ACORN, Jon Kest, and his top aides are now busy working at protest events for New York Communities for Change (NYCC). That organization was created in late 2009 when some ACORN offices disbanded and reorganized under new names after undercover video exposes prompted Congress to cut off federal funds.


Sources said NYCC has hired about 100 former ACORN-affiliated staff members from other cities -- paying some of them $100 a day -- to attend and support Occupy Wall Street. Dozens of New York homeless people recruited from shelters are also being paid to support the protests, at the rate of $10 an hour, the sources said.

At least some of those hired are being used as door-to-door canvassers to collect money that's used to support the protests.

Sources said cash donations collected by NYCC on behalf of some unions and various causes are being pooled and spent on Occupy Wall Street. The money is used to buy supplies, pay staff and cover travel expenses for the ex-ACORN members brought to New York for the protests.

Fox News claimed that NYCC ignored “repeated email and telephone requests for comment” but posted NYCC's denial of the story. However, the article went on to claim again that "[s]ources said NYCC was a key player behind a series of recent Occupy Wall Street events." [, 10/26/11]

NY Post: “ACORN'S Back -- And It's Occupying Wall Street.” An October 27 New York Post article cited Fox News and claimed:

ACORN'S back -- and it's occupying Wall Street.


ACORN disbanded in 2010 after the release of embarrassing videos showing the group's workers coaching conservative activists who were posing as clients how to fraudulently obtain benefits and use them to open a brothel.

Fox News reported yesterday that NYCC has been paying “dozens” of homeless people $10 an hour to sit in Zuccotti Park. The report also said NYCC canvassers go door-to-door asking for money for other causes like PCB relief in schools -- with the money funneled back to OWS.

The New York Post article included a statement from “Jonathan Westin, NYCC's organizing director and a former ACORN organizer” who “denied the reports.” [New York Post, 10/27/11]

Carlson: “ACORN Is Now Operating Under A Different Name” And Is “Organizing 'Guerilla Protests.' ” On the October 27 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson cited the article to claim “ACORN is -- is now operating under a different name, New York Communities for Change ... and that they're organizing quote, 'guerilla protests' and hiring door-to-door canvassers to collect money under the banner of various causes... while spending it on the protests.” Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. claimed that “ACORN is in it, according to ... through its successor organization.” Johnson acknowledged that NYCC “den[ies] any paying of the homeless or any other untoward fundraising activities.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/27/11, via Media Matters]

Hoft: “ACORN Working Behind The Scenes To Prop Up Occupy Movement.” In an October 26 post on Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft wrote:

One of Barack Obama's first big “community organizer” jobs involved ACORN in 1992. He worked along side ACORN before he became an elected official. Obama also trained ACORN employees. He represented ACORN in court. Obama worked with and protested with ACORN. His campaign donated $800,000 to ACORN in 2008 for voter registration efforts.


In 2009 Congress voted to defund ACORN and its affiliates. But that didn't stop the Obama Administration from giving $560,000 to ACORN affiliates in 2010.

So it really comes as no surprise that ACORN is working behind the scenes in the Obama-endorsed Occupy movement. [Gateway Pundit, 10/26/11]

The Blaze: “ACORN Is Secretly Helping Organize & Fund The 'Occupy' Movement.” An October 26 post on Glenn Beck's website The Blaze cited the Fox News report and claimed that “the former New York office for ACORN is heavily involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement.” From The Blaze:

Remember ACORN? If not, try and stretch your memory back to the 2008 presidential campaign and the months that followed.

The controversial community organizing group -- which is now defunct -- came under fire for purportedly engaging in voter fraud.

Now, Fox News is reporting that the former New York office for ACORN is heavily involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement -- so much so, that former members are apparently organizing door-to-door canvassing, events, and other related activities. Considering that this is supposedly a “leaderless” movement, these allegations are curious. [The Blaze, 10/26/11]

But NYCC Has Denied The Accusation That It Is Paying Protesters ...

NYCC: “We Don't Pay Protesters ... Period.” In a statement released on October 26, NYCC board member Linnette Ebanks responded to the Fox News report, noting that they “don't pay protesters.” From the statement:

Fox News is trying to discredit Occupy Wall Street. New York Communities for Change is a new organization that fights for low- and moderate-income families. We don't pay protesters and any monies raised by NYCC's canvass are used in support of our ongoing issue campaigns. Period.

The reality is that Occupy Wall Street is an organic movement of the 99% outraged at the ability of the 1% to corrupt America's political and financial systems for personal gain while middle class families lose their jobs, their homes, and see their economic future devastated. We call on Fox News to stop its unseemly attacks and to respect the views of the overwhelming majority of Americans who believe that our nation needs a more equitable distribution of wealth. [NYCC, 10/26/11, emphasis added]

... And, As Fox News Admits, It's Hardly A Secret That NYCC Supports The Goals Of Occupy Wall Street

NYCC Executive Director On Sept. 30: “I'm Excited To Announce That New York Communities For Change ... Will Be Showing Our Support For #Occupywallstreet.” As Fox News noted in its report, NYCC executive director Jon Kest “publicly threw his organization's support behind the movement in a Sept. 30 opinion piece on” Indeed, in his Huffington Post piece, Kest wrote, “I'm excited to announce that New York Communities for Change ... will be showing our support for #OccupyWallStreet.” [, 10/26/11; The Huffington Post, 9/30/11]

Moreover, Despite Claims That “ACORN” Is “Secretly Helping” Occupy Wall Street, ACORN No Longer Exists

CNN: “Chapter 7 Means Liquidating And Selling Off All Remaining Assets And Closing Up Shop.” From a November 2, 2010, post on the CNN blog Political Ticker:

ACORN, the community group from which a mighty oak of political controversy grew, announced it is filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy by the close of business Tuesday. In March, it began bringing its national operations to a close.

“For over 40 years ACORN has fought the good fight,” said CEO Bertha Lewis, today, in a statement on the group's website. “The ongoing political onslaught caused irreparable harm.”


Filing for Chapter 7 means liquidating and selling off all remaining assets and closing up shop. [Political Ticker,, 11/2/10]

ACORN Has Long Been A Right-Wing Bogeyman

Right-Wing Media Claimed Defunct ACORN Was Funded Through AHCOA. In July, right-wing media claimed that, after filing for bankruptcy, ACORN was being funded through the Affordable Housing Centers of America. [Media Matters, 7/7/11]

For the truth about AHCOA, SEE HERE.

Right-Wing Media Claimed O'Keefe Undercover Videos Showed “Illegal Activity.” Following a series of undercover videos by conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe, the right-wing media repeatedly claimed ACORN and its employees had engaged in “illegal activity.” [Media Matters, 12/18/09]

For the truth about the actions of ACORN and its employees in O'Keefe's videos, SEE HERE.

Right-Wing Media Claimed ACORN Received Federal Funding In Financial Bailout Bill. Following the passage of the financial bailout legislation in 2008, the right-wing media repeatedly claimed the bill gave ACORN a “slush fund.” [Media Matters, 10/10/08]

For the truth about ACORN and the financial bailout legislation, SEE HERE.

Right-Wing Media Claimed ACORN Received Funding From The Economic Recovery Bill. The right-wing media further claimed that provisions of the 2009 stimulus bill meant “there could be money in there for such organizations as ACORN.” [Media Matters, 2/13/09]

For the truth about ACORN and the stimulus bill, SEE HERE.

Right-Wing Media Claimed “ACORN Qualifies For Funding In Senate Health Care Bill.” The right-wing media also claimed that the Senate version of the 2010 health care reform bill would provide funding to ACORN. [Media Matters, 12/22/09]

For the truth about ACORN and the Senate health care bill, SEE HERE.

Fox News Claimed ACORN “May Stand To Benefit” From Obama's 2011 Budget. Fox News claimed ACORN could receive federal funding under President Obama's 2011 budget. [Media Matters, 2/3/10]

For the truth about ACORN and Obama's 2011 Budget, SEE HERE.

And This Is Just The Latest Attack In The Right-Wing's Smear Campaign Against Occupy Wall Street

Right-Wing Media Have Waged A Relentless Smear Campaign Against Occupy Wall Street Movement. Right-wing media have engaged in a relentless smear campaign against the Occupy Wall Street movement, including calling the protesters socialists and Marxists, saying they represent the “fringe of the fringe of the fringe,” and claiming they “sound like the Unabomber,” among other attacks. [Media Matters, 10/18/11]

For a guide to the right-wing media's smear campaign against OWS, SEE HERE.