The GOP war against democracy continues to continue apace...
By Brad Friedman on 3/9/2010, 10:17am PT  

[UPDATED TWICE: Good news! Morrissey quickly corrected his report after we notified him of the incorrect coverage. Bad news! His correction was also incorrect. SECOND UPDATE: Morrissey has copped to his second error as well, and has finally corrected appropriately. Details on all, at bottom of this article. -BF]

Once again, the accurate reporting of facts, truth, and reality doesn't seem to be required when it comes to the Rightwing's continuing, years-long attempt to villainize the community organization ACORN for having the temerity to help legally register millions of low- and middle-income voters (who tend to vote Democratic) to legally vote so that they may legally participate in their own democracy.

Latest example: Yesterday, Ed Morrissey of Hot Air --- a blog created by Rightwinger Michelle Malkin and recently purchased for an undisclosed sum by the far Rightwing Salem Communication outfit --- misreported [emphasis added]:

Today, [Wisconsin’s Attorney General J. B.] Van Hollen announced indictments in five cases — including two felony indictments against ACORN for scheming to have registrants vote multiple times in November 2008.

Unfortunately, Morrissey and Hot Air are patently --- and apparently knowingly --- incorrect.

The "two felony indictments," which Morrissey even links to [PDF] and quotes from in his inaccurate hit piece, are not "against ACORN," but against two workers who defrauded ACORN, even as the pair defrauded the voter registration process...

The indictment linked to by Morrissey even notes that an ACORN supervisor was the first to notice the fraudulent registrations. (The pair allegedly registered each other multiple times, etc., in order to meet what they believed were a minimum number of registrations needed to satisfy a level they claim the group required from workers. The indictment describes no illegal votes that were either cast or counted.)

Charging that the "indictments were against ACORN" is as inaccurate as it would be to claim that Walmart has been charged with two counts of burglary after the company had found that two employees had stolen merchandise off its own shelves.

Look, there are plenty of legitimate concerns about real election fraud in Milwaukee. The BRAD BLOG has investigated and reported on some of those those very serious concerns ourselves over the years, such as apparent forgery and/or ballot box stuffing by poll workers and the inflation of ballot totals by, perhaps, tens of thousands of votes.

Morrissey, on the other hand, is just making stuff up to continue the shameless Republican assault on verifiable truth and American democracy in order to meet his partisan agenda. Just as Rightwing propagandists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles were found by the Brooklyn D.A.'s office to have secretly videotaped ACORN workers there and then "edited the tape to meet their agenda" as part of their now-infamous ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, so has Morrisey 'edited the truth to meet his agenda.'

Morrissey and Hot Air owe their readers, our democracy, their new Salem Communication owners, Michelle Malkin, and the truth, an immediate and transparent correction. Will they show more intellectual honesty than the New York Times, by issuing such a correction? We'll see.

[Hat-tip to BRAD BLOG commenter Ravenhairedmaid who, sadly, misreported the story as well after reading it at Hot Air.]

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UPDATE 1:25pm PT: Morrissey wrote back to me quickly after I notified him via email of his inaccurate coverage. To his credit, he wrote:

Brad, you're right, that was sloppy --- they were indictments against ACORN employees, not the organization. I'll correct that and link back to you. Thanks, and hope you're doing well.


Ed Morrissey
Hot Air

He went on to change his original text, and added the following transparent update at the bottom of the article:

Update IV: Brad from Brad's Blog takes me to task - rightly - for some very sloppy writing in my second paragraph. The indictments were not filed against ACORN, but against two of their employees. That's not the same thing, and I've corrected the paragraph to make it more specific and accurate. I apologize for the confusion that caused anyone.

Unfortunately, the way he corrected his original text is still inaccurate. He now writes [emphasis added]:

Today, Van Hollen announced indictments in five cases - including two felony indictments against two ACORN employees [see update IV below] for scheming to have registrants vote multiple times in November 2008.

As I wrote to Morrissey in reply, I find nothing in the indictment about any scheme to to have registrants "vote multiple times" as he now reports. Unless there is something that I missed, the indictment was about the employees having gotten registrants (mostly each other) to sign multiple registrations. Period. Clearly in an effort to try to keep their jobs (as they believed was necessary).

There is nothing mentioned anywhere in the indictment about registrants voting multiple times, or the accused scheming to see them do so.

Will update further when I next hear back from Morrissey, as I'd hope to soon...

UPDATE 2:15pm PT: Okay, have heard back from Morrissey again. He writes:

Yeah, you're right about that too, will make that reflect registrations, not voting attempts.


Ed Morrissey
Hot Air

After another quick change to the original text, in which he was misleading again (he says he was trying to multitask while on air, and apologized for that version), he finally rewrote the text to adequately reflect the facts of the case, as such:

Today, Van Hollen announced indictments in five cases — including two felony indictments against two ACORN employees [see update IV below] for scheming to have people register multiple times in November 2008.

He also added another update to the the bottom of his story, as follows:

Update V: The crimes related to registrations, not actual voting; I’ve amended that paragraph to show that.

We greatly appreciate Morrissey doing the right thing here, no matter how many hiccups along the way. Wish New York Times, whose most senior editors are still refusing to correct their multiple misreported ACORN "Pimp" Hoax stories, would do the same!

UPDATE 3/10/10 8:10pm PT Ed Brayton of Michigan Messenger is far less charitable, and far more helpful (in describing the details of Morrissey's original distortion) than I, over at ScienceBlogs in "Ed Morrissey Lies About ACORN".

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