Quick Fact: Fox News advances anti-ACORN demagoguery to attack health care reform

On Your World, guest host Charles Payne and John McCormack of The Weekly Standard advanced the claim that the Senate health care reform bill “would give cash to ACORN,” with Payne stating that “I would assume it's in the low millions” and calling it “so egregious” that taxpayer money would fund ACORN; on-screen text stated as fact that the “Senate health care bill would give cash to ACORN.” In fact, neither the original bill nor the manager's amendment mentions ACORN; conservatives have repeatedly cited general funding provisions to raise the possibility of ACORN receiving federal funds in order to attack legislation.

Your World advances talking point that Senate health care bill “would give cash to ACORN”

From the December 22 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:


Payne: “I would assume it's in the low millions, but still, it's so egregious.” During Your World, Payne and McCormack discussed provisions in the Senate health care reform bill that would provide grant funding to community groups for the purposes of enhancing minority health care and public education outreach. McCormack stated, “And I spoke to a legislative expert on Capitol Hill, and they said that ACORN would definitely qualify. There was no language in the bill excluding ACORN. And, I mean, the question of whether or not ACORN is awarded, they definitely qualify. The question of whether they are awarded is another matter.” Payne went on to ask, “Why would ACORN, even with this language that we're talking about, after all the things that have been exposed by this -- about this organization still be allowed access to taxpayer money?” Payne later said he “assumed” that ACORN stood to receive “in the low millions” and claimed that “it's so egregious that it would -- that we'd be taking taxpayer money to fund these sort of things or even letting these loopholes go through.”

FACT: Neither Senate bill nor manager's amendment mentions ACORN

Senate bill, manager's amendment contain no language mentioning ACORN. Media Matters for America searched the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Majority Leader Harry Reid's manager's amendment. Neither document contains language specific to ACORN.

Conservatives previously cited ACORN to attack legislation that did not contain language mentioning the group

Media claimed Democrats were attempting to direct millions of dollars in government money to ACORN in the financial bailout bill. During debate over the 2008 financial bailout bill, media figures advanced the claim that Democrats sought to direct millions in funding to ACORN. Neither the draft proposal nor the final version of the bill contained any language mentioning ACORN. Those making the false claim were misrepresenting a provision -- later removed -- that would have directed 20 percent of any profits realized on troubled assets purchased under the plan into two previously established funds: the Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund, funds that would have been distributed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the form of block grants to states, which would then award grants to qualified applicants.

Media figures adopted GOP spin that economic recovery act awarded funds to ACORN. During the legislative debate over the 2009 Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act, numerous media figures adopted the GOP spin that the stimulus bill awarded funds to ACORN, despite the fact that no language in the legislation mentioned the group. At one point, conservative radio host Bill Cunningham claimed the legislation gave “up to $4.2 trillion” to ACORN.