Beck nuts about linking groups to ACORN

Illustrating the conservative penchant for using ACORN as a bogeyman, Glenn Beck has in recent weeks devoted segments to tenuous or tangential “connections” between ACORN and the following people and groups: AmeriCorps, AARP, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, PRLDEF, and SEIU. Beck has also fearmongered about ACORN while attacking President Obama and his policies.

Beck warns of the people and groups that are part of the “same tree” as ACORN

Beck: Woman who “community organizers like ACORN revere” teaches at university that received money from AmeriCorps. Beck asserted that "Frances Fox Piven, who community organizers like ACORN revere for the Cloward-Piven strategy ... is currently a distinguished professor of sociology and political science at the CUNY graduate center in New York." He then added, “Wait a minute -- CUNY. CUNY was being investigated for taking $80 million from AmeriCorps. Wait a minute. AmeriCorps. Isn't that where Inspector General Gerald Walpin was fired? AmeriCorps. ACORN. Branches of the same tree. That's ACORN in a nutshell.” Beck concluded, “It's unbelievable, and nobody's even looking for these connections.” [Fox News' Glenn Beck; 6/29/09]

Beck reading aloud -- and approvingly -- from website user comment: “Is AARP becoming a branch of ACORN?” Saying that he was reading member comments from the AARP website, Beck read aloud, “Is AARP becoming a branch of ACORN?” [Fox News' Glenn Beck; 8/4/09]

Beck: “ACORN has 270 other names.” Beck recently stated on his radio program: “Forget about ACORN. Think about community organizers. ACORN could change its name and then everybody would be like, 'Oh, problem solved.' No, its not. ACORN has 270 other names. So now the government has ACORN and its 270 other names inside the government with AmeriCorps. They're inside the White House with ACORN and the census and its 270 organizations.” He added, "[R]emember, ACORN and SEIU, the union -- same thing. Same thing. Same people, same street address, same everything." [The Glenn Beck Program; 7/23/09]

Beck: SEIU has “powerful connection” to ACORN because they “share goals and office space.” On his Fox News program, Beck similarly said of ACORN and SEIU: "[T]here is one more powerful connection for SEIU. Members of its local chapters share goals and office space with none other than ACORN. SEIU, ACORN, and Obama: branches of the same tree. And that's SEIU in a nutshell." [Fox News' Glenn Beck; 7/6/09]

Beck: Sotomayor had “leadership position” at PRLDEF, which, at one point, had ACORN “among [its] clients.” Beck said, “Judge Sonia Sotomayor in a nutshell. What do we know about this self-described wise Latina woman? Well, let's start with the PRLDEF, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.” After stating that Sotomayor “held a number of positions” at PRLDEF and mentioning the group's stance on some issues, Beck added, “Among the fund's clients: the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, aka, ACORN. The group accused of voter registration fraud in over a dozen states. So, given Sotomayor's leadership role at the PRLDEF, and its work with ACORN, are you really surprised that ACORN endorsed the nominee on its website?” [Fox News' Glenn Beck; 7/13/09]

  • Associated Press: PRLDEF executive director “said his group and ACORN were associated in one lawsuit that dealt with ... an area of interest for both organizations.” The AP reported: "[Sen. Jeff] Sessions' [R-AL] Senate aides also raised concerns about the legal defense fund's ties with the community activist group ACORN, an organization embroiled on voter registration disputes with Republicans. [PRLDEF executive director Cesar] Perales said his group and ACORN were associated in one lawsuit that dealt with low-income tenants, an area of interest for both organizations. 'We're not ashamed of that. If we're going to be involved in helping poor people, we're obviously going to have contact' with other groups that work in that area, he said." [Associated Press; 7/11/09]

Beck also fearmongers about ACORN to bash Obama

Beck: Obama is “fundamentally transforming” the country to make it “look more like ACORN.” Beck recently declared: “Our president is not just bankrupting our country. He is fundamentally transforming it as he promised, and he is doing it to the core. In the next few years, I promise you, America will look more like ACORN in structure and less than anything that our Founders had in mind.” [Fox News' Glenn Beck; 7/27/09]

Beck: Obama purposefully “tanking” the economy to force young people to work for ACORN. Beck claimed, “So why would Obama support a policy that directly hurts young people, especially nearly half of African-American teenagers who are already unemployed? Well, it makes sense if you're trying to transform America.” He added, “What happens when kids can't get a job? They become discouraged, disenfranchised. They look for somewhere to land, and guess who's now there to swoop in? ... President Obama and his new government program -- programs and community service organizations. Not just AmeriCorps -- not just ACORN -- but now AmeriCorps.” [Fox News' Glenn Beck; 7/24/09]

Scapegoating ACORN a common conservative tactic

Conservative media figures have frequently used ACORN as a bogeyman. In coverage of major news stories, many conservative media figures have frequently blamed ACORN for national crises and accused ACORN of receiving undeserved benefits from the government. Topics conservatives have used to scapegoat ACORN include: the 2008 financial crisis, voter fraud, the stimulus bill, the Minnesota Senate recount, Obama's Appeals Court nomination of Judge David Hamilton, the 2010 Census, and Obama's work on behalf of ACORN in 1995. [Media Matters for America report; 4/7/09]