After they destroyed ACORN, conservative activists are continuing their ‘dirty tricks’ operations against progressive organizations.
The New York Times reports on a failed attempt at a political sting on unions in New York. Conservative activist John M. Howting visited the offices of Manhattan Together, saying he wanted to know how to organize a union:
And, oh yes, he had another question: If he formed a union, could his fellow workers join with the employer to shake down politicians for more money?
The organizer he met with, Rhea Byer-Ettinger, suspects that he secretly recorded their conversation.
“It plays with your mind. It really does,” Byer-Ettinger said. “You wonder: Did he tape me? Is he cutting and pasting a tape right now?”
ACORN, NPR and Planned Parenthood have all been targeted previously by people like so-called ‘citizen journalist’ James O’Keefe. Tricksters posed as pimps, sex traffickers and Muslim activists and record conversations surreptitiously. Then they release heavily edited videos.
The successful destruction of ACORN has led to, according to a 2009 poll by Public Policy Polling, “52% majority of GOP voters nationally think that ACORN stole the Presidential election for Barack Obama … with only 27% granting that he won it legitimately.”
An Occidental College study of the media coverage of ACORN during the 2008 election suggests why:
· 82.8% of the stories failed to mention that actual voter fraud is very rare
· 80.3% of the stories failed to mention that ACORN was reporting registration irregularities to authorities, as required by law
· 85.1% of the stories about ACORN failed to note that ACORN was acting to stop incidents of registration problems by its (mostly temporary) employees when it became aware of these problems
The Times reports that Howting is an associate of O’Keefe. He was accused by fellow students at Miami University of Ohio of once slathering tanning oil on his face and trying to pass as a Latino liberal activist on campus.
Since the Times story came out, it has been discovered that John M. Howting is apparently a staffer for Republican Congressman Thad McCotter of Michigan. Which begs the question: is this an extra-curricular activity, or part of his duties for the Congressman? As Rep. McCotter was a fan of right-wing dirty trickster Andrew Breitbart, eulogizing him on the House floor for “fighting the good fight with every fiber of his soul,” this seems a fair question.
Image by Rex Harrisons Hat