RIP Big Media: An In Depth Look At How Van Jones, Tea Parties & ACORN Destroyed Big Media Credibility

Students of history, of journalism, of sociology: mark this month in your diaries. Mark this month well, because this is the month that what was formally called “mainstream” media was officially pronounced dead.

It’s been a nice ride for traditional media outlets. We’ve had our fair share of fun along to way. But now it is over. Almost 4 years to the day that “Rathergate” showed ordinary citizens taking on Big Media and winning, the last two weeks have completely, totally, and utterly demonstrated the sheer irrelevancy of traditional media outlets and their biased and outdated methods of news dissemination.

The gatekeepers of information have finally been vanquished. No longer are they able to sit upon their lofty heights, determining what information they deem fit for the public to know about. In their stead, an army of citizen-journalists has arisen. The people have become the fourth estate. We are the media now. You don’t have to trust Hollywood or Manhatten anymore, because the game is over. Sure, they will linger around for a few years longer in their death-throws, and of course current outlets will continue in some form, but as of this week, no-one can say Big Media should be taken seriously. They are beyond redemption.

At this point, if you get your news primarily from Big Media outlets, you may wonder what I am talking about, or whether I’ve gone slightly crazy. After all, nothing really happened the last few weeks, did it? Sure a few right-wing extremists got angry at a few things, but that always happens – right? I mean there was nothing special about the last 3 weeks, right?

Wrong. Because in the last three weeks three massive, huge, enormous, game-changing political things happening. Any one of these by and of itself might not have meant much, but together, the political landscape in the U.S. has been irrevocably altered in the last three weeks. And Big Media missed all three.

Let us review events as they happened, and embark on tales of corruption, embezzlement, undercover operations, child prostitution and the American Left.

The Resignation Of Van Jones

The first bombshell to hit was over Van Jones. Van who you ask? Allow me to explain.

Van Jones was appointed earlier this year by President Obama as the “Green Jobs Czar”, responsible for billions of dollars to programs promoting ‘green jobs’. Universally praised by Establishment Media, and named a “Hero Of the Year” by Time Magazine, he received no media scrutiny or investigation. None. Until some bloggers decided to look into his background.

Using the sophisticated tools of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy – the google search engine – they did painstaking research (it took all of 2 minutes) and uncovered what the mainstream media was unable to find: proof that Van Jones was a self-declared communist who argued that 9/11 was orchestrated by the Bush administration.

No. Really. I mean it. I’m not joking here. This nut-bag truther was put in charge of billions of taxpayer dollars – and the mainstream media completely missed it.

Let us briefly look into his background of a man who in 2005 told the East Bay Express that “by August [1992], I was a communist”. 2 years this conversion to Marxism, Jones was a co-founder of a self-described revolutionary Marxist-Leninist group called “Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement”, or STORM. STORM was dedicated to a “’a revolutionary movement in America” that would “end the murderous reign of U.S. imperialism”. In the early 90’s STORM was responsible for acts of “direct action” (read: violence) to achieve their aims. In the mid 90’s, it was rocked by serious allegations of sexual abuse by one of its leaders, and a view by many within the STORM community when no action nwas taken that “ investigation process was set up to protect the member”. Van Jones remained a member up until 2002.

In 1996, Van Jones founded the “Ella Baker Centre for Human Rights”. To demonstrate what sort of organization this is, I only need give you one example. On September 11, 2001, the Ella Baker Centre issued a statement that “Community-based organizations led by people of color will hold a ‘Solidarity Gathering’ and candlelight vigil on Wednesday night to support the Arab-American community”. Let this sink in for a moment. The day of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and Van Jones’ organization expresses solidarity not with the innocent victims, but with the perpetrators.

It gets worse. Not long after, Van Jones signed a petition calling for ”an immediate inquiry into evidence that suggests high-level government officials may have deliberately allowed the September 11th attacks to occur”. Yes, that’s right, Van Jones was a ‘truther’. He believed that 9/11 was staged by the Bush Administration. Lest anyone think this was an accidental signing, this article at Rense.com from 2002 links Van Jones to the 9-11 Truther movement at its infancy.

All of this you could find on google in a matter of minutes. None of it was covered by Big Media. None. Several days into the Jones controversy, Byron York, political editor of the DC Examiner ran an online search of the New York Times, the Washington Post, NBC Nightly News, ABC World News and the CBS Evening News. Jones and his unusual views weren’t mentioned even once.

With pressure online coming from all sides, despite the lack of Big Media Coverage, Jones was forced to quit late Saturday night on the Labor Day weekend, leaving the US mainstream press to report the resignation of someone over a scandal none of their readers or viewers had previously heard about. The New York Times laughably tried to explain: “our Washington bureau was somewhat short-staffed during the height of the pre-Labor Day vacation period.” As Australian blogger Tim Blair noted: “None of the bloggers or radio hosts who exposed Jones even have Washington bureaus, yet that didn’t stop them chasing the story”. Compare this to the continued coverage of someone even remotely linked to a conservative – like the mother of the boyfriend of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s daughter

Bloggers: 1. Big Media: 0.

The Tea Party Movement

A few days later came the 9/12 rallies. The culmination of thousands of spontaneous ‘tea parties’ around the country, with almost a million people coming out on Tax Freedom Day and July 4.

Estimates varied for the march from the high tens of thousands to a million. You can watch the time lapse footage of the march and decide for yourself how many people attended. Irrespective, however, of whether 100,000 people came, or a million, this event was unprecedented. Never before had so many people come together to protest big-government.

How did the media react? The New York Times buried the protests on page A37 of Sunday’s paper. The 932-word story was only slightly longer than the 724-word story the paper granted back in March to an ACORN protest with only 40 participants.

Newsbusters compared the Washington Post’s coverage of the rally to the April 2006 rally promoting amnesty for illegal aliens. Hit the link for the full list, but some numbers stand out: Number of Post reporters with rally by-lines: three (in 2006, 19), Number of other Post staff writers credited for contributions from across America: four, all in Washington (in 2006, 20), Number of stories: one (in 2006, 13, including a Rally Voices” feature), Number of Post pages devoted to the rally, added together, visual estimate: two (in 2006, 8), Number of photos: five (in 2006, 39, including the “Rally Voices” head shots), Number of usages of ideological terms: five conservative labels. (in 2006, in 13 stories, zero liberal labels), number of full advertising-free Post pages devoted to the rally: zero (in 2006, 4). The list goes on.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs shrugged and told reporters: “I don’t know who the group is”

Yet despite no-media coverage whatsoever, throughout the year millions of people stood up to big government.

Bloggers: 2. Big Media: 0.

ACORN

And then we come to the biggest journalistic scoop of the year. Something so massive that it has already resulted in millions of dollars in funding being dropped by the US Senate. In the US Census Bureau dropping its major partner. A story with the possibility to redefine political organizing as we know it. I am talking about the destruction of the last shred of credibility of ACORN.

But first, some background. To those unaware of what ACORN is due to the Big Media blanket silence on the matter, where ACORN is laughably described as “a poverty rights group…which helps poor people fight foreclosures and fix tax problems” , some history is necessary.

Pyjamasmedia presents a handy introduction, a summary of which shows that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is a community-based organization founded in 1970 by Wade Rathke and Gary Delgado. Rathke, one of the most powerful hard-Left activists in America, is a former member of a radical 1960s group, the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The Weathermen terrorist group split off from the SDS in 1969. ACORN says its priorities include better housing and wages for the poor, more community development investment from banks and governments, and better public schools. ACORN receives millions of taxpayer dollars a year from federal, state, and local governments. Also, ACORN includes a very cozy relationship with Big Labor. In 2008, Big Labor funneled ACORN millions of dollars, and ACORN controls or significantly dominates several Big Labor unions and organizations. SEIU President Andy Stern hand picked ACORN’s Rathke to direct SEIU’s nationwide organizing projects (you can read more on Big Labor and ACORN here)

As PJ Media notes, ACORN is also closely linked to President Barak Obama. Obama trained its local leaders, represented the organization in court, and worked to funnel funds to the organization. The Obama campaign also donated $800,000 this year to an ACORN affiliate. In return, ACORN has done a lot on Obama’s behalf. When he ran for the State Senate, he sought and received their endorsement. Obama not only sought and received the endorsement of ACORN’s political arm in his local campaigns, he accepted ACORN’s endorsement for the presidency. Last year he stated clearly that ACORN will “shape the agenda” of his presidency.

ACORN is best known, however, for its work collecting voter registrations, and its active campaigning for the Democratic Party. In 2008 alone, ACORN has registered 1,315,037 voters.

The problem is that ACORN has had a long history of scandal and voter fraud convictions. It is impossible with space constraints to list them all, suffice to say there have been at least 14 state-wide criminal investigations into systematic voter fraud committed by ACORN and its members in the lead-up to the 2008 election alone, a partial summary of which can be found here.

The criminal prosecutions are continuing however. Earlier this year, Nevada officials charged Acorn, its regional director and its Las Vegas field director with submitting thousands of fraudulent voter registration forms last year, saying that “Acorn’s training manuals “clearly detail, condone and . . . require illegal acts,” such as requiring its workers to meet strict voter-registration targets to keep their jobs”. Just last week The Florida State Attorney’s Office issued arrest warrants for 11 ACORN employees for falsifying hundreds of voter registration cards.

In July, an 88-page incriminating report published in July by the minority staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was entitled “Is ACORN Intentionally Structured as a Criminal Enterprise?” It found that ACORN has “has evaded taxes, obstructed justice, engaged in racketeering and created a conspiracy to defraud the United State”. It has also obstructed justice, and aided and abetted a cover-up of embezzlement by Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke.

Up to this point, nearly 70 ACORN employees have been convicted in 12 states for voter registration fraud. Pennsylvania judge Richard Zoller–after holding a low-level ACORN employee liable for election law violations noted that “somebody has to go after ACORN.”

But all this pales into insignificance to what transpired last week. In the greatest investigative journalist scoop of the year, two twenty year old journalism students went to the ACORN Baltimore office with undercover cameras. They claimed to be a prostitute and a pimp (in states prostitution is illegal). The pimp said he was seeking political office, and wanted to use the proceeds of the crime to fund his political campaign. So. What did ACORN do. Did they throw him out? Did they call the police? Did they at least act surprised at getting such a request? No. Instead they sat down with him, gave him tax advice, and told him how to evade getting caught. I kid you not. So the journalists upped the ante. They said they were planning to bring in underage girls from Latin America. Surely this would be enough for ACORN to show them the door? But no. ACORN workers talked them through how they could list them as child-dependents to get federal tax credits for them, and discussed how they could classify their activities as education.

An isolated incident? A one off? You might think so. But then they repeated it in Washington DC. And in New York. And in California. The same result. Every time. And there are MORE VIDEOS ON THE WAY! You can view all the undercover footage at Biggovernment.com .

As this was uncovered, the U.S. Senate finally voted to defund ACORN of $8 million of tax dollars.

So how did Big Media respond? With deafening silence. ABC News anchor Charlie Gibson told WLS-AM Chicago talk radio the reason he hasn’t covered the ACORN scandal is that he didn’t know about it. Gibson also admitted to Don and Roma that he didn’t know about the Senate vote to de-fund ACORN. So days after the scandal broke nationally, after the Senate stripped ACORN of millions of funding, the face of network news was blissfully unaware. You can read the almost excruciating transcript here.

Even the liberal Jon Stewart has blasted the media for their non-reporting: “Where were the real reporters on this story…Where the hell were you?” Stewart screamed into the camera “You’re telling me that two kids from the cast of High School Musical 3 can break this story with a video camera and their grandmother’s chinchilla coat, and you’ve got nothin’? I’m a fake journalist, and I’m embarrassed these guys scooped me!”. Watch the clip. It’s hilarious.

The biggest political scoop of the year – which has effectively destroyed ACORN as a political entity – was done not by the media, but by two students.

Bloggers 3: Big media 0.

Conclusion

Three stories. Three weeks. First a key player in the Obama Administration fell. Then hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans staged an unprecedented march on the White House. Finally, a national, multi-million political advocacy group was destroyed.

And Big Media was blissfully unaware.

It doing so, they have signed their own death warrant and passed the baton of scrutiny over to citizen journalists around the country.

The fourth estate is dead. Long live the fourth estate.

(Originally posted at my personal blog)

25 thoughts on “RIP Big Media: An In Depth Look At How Van Jones, Tea Parties & ACORN Destroyed Big Media Credibility

  1. Wow, thats a hell of an article, in a good way. Its really interesting seeing it all there, point by point, how the media simply dropped the ball. Lucky bloggers are willing to take their place. So much for rupert murdochs claims that quality investigative journalism costs money! 2 minutes on google, what a laugh.

  2. Those wedded to the religion of socialist democracy over liberty can’t compute that the religious backbone of their wonderful ideal, the ‘professional’ media, is not, was not & can never be ‘unbiased’,’objective’ or ‘truthfull’.

    It’s an absolutely stupid concept that people with only limited mental capacity, stuck perpetually within a network of fantasies & fallacies playing within their own addled little minds would subscribe too.

    The only redeeming attribute of Van Jones was questioning the 911 commission and the Alchaeda narrative intelligence agencies fed the MSM geopolitical agenda whore media.

    The events & circumstances stink of deception. The public are unfortunately pacified unquestioning creatures who are very impressionable, manipulatable TV brain washable peer pressure driven idiots.

    The terrorist hype has a larger power elite state craft oriented purpose. Mysterious boogie man Bin Laden tapes are still peddled out at opportune times.

    Bin Laden is most likely dead & the intelligence agencies are most likely pushing homemade propaganda because that is unfortunately, besides killing, what they do

  3. Wow. I’d stopped paying attention to all the ACORN stuff, but that’s pretty jaw dropping.

    Also, that girl pretending to be a hooker is really, really hot.

  4. Nice article Tim.
    Big media continually engage in lazy and arrogant reporting – and with bias too. So this had to eventually hurt these outlets.

    I get pissed when I read articles by big media trying to scare monger about internet reporting and mocking bloggers. The Australian is guilty of this – it’s as if you can feel their fear of the information age.

    I don’t think there will be a death to big media, I think they have just been far too slow and lazy in adapting to higher standards and new ideas. But I wouldn’t shed any tears if many mainstream journalists disappeared.

  5. The Age is a case in point – their far Left bias is blatant. The ‘you lie’ comment got major coverage, but they were virtually silent on the actual 9/12 protests. Except today where they devote pride of place to Jimmy Carter stating authoritavely that’s all purely due to racism.

    I tried to find an Age article mentioning ACORN – Zip. Nada. Using their keyword search there was nothing but it did pick up a travel article about a daytrip North Korea, the thrust of which was that they’re really not so bad after all.

    Speaking of the death of big media – does anyone else agree that this proposed charing for online content will be the final nail in their coffin?

  6. “end the murderous reign of U.S. imperialism”.

    I kind of support that TBH.

    The Acorn prostitution thing is a total scam. It’s a complete set up, watch the videos man.

    Secondly, who honestly cares? Tim, get out of the echo chamber of the US, ASAP!

  7. @papachango – they’re trying to get Google and search engines to pay for linking in… it seems insane, but I suspect they idea is to use create new IP related legislation.

    @Damian – you wrote: “The only redeeming attribute of Van Jones was questioning the 911 commission and the Alchaeda narrative intelligence agencies fed the MSM geopolitical agenda whore media.”

    Please tell me you’re not a truther?

  8. Dan – who cares?
    Considering ACORN gets 40% of its funding from tax dollars, as a taxpayer I CARE!!! Until last week, they were going to be partially running the US Census FFS!

    As for your other points, I have watched the videos. Can’t see how it’s a scam at all. Admittedly it’s the same kind of ‘gotcha’ journalism 60 minutes does, and is hardly high-brow, but in no way is it a scam.

    And yes, as for US imperialism, I can understand that point if it was on foreign affairs alone to some degree, but reading the documents a lot more about it is the evils of capitalism etc. I just found that quote rather pithy, and didn’t want to make this any longer than it was with more references!

  9. @Fleeced – I thought Murdoch was proposing to make his news sites subscription based, so end users paid. Google could link in, but to follow the link you’d need to be registered.

    Murdoch is pretty savvy normally, but I reckon this will be one of the dumbest decisions he’s ever made. Way to drive people to alternative media and bloggers.

    Also, Tim, surely Fox News, being commonly considered both a mainstream media outlet and rabidly right-wing, is going nuts on reporting the three issues above? Could you argue that their right-leaning bias counteracts the leftism of the NYT, WashPost etc?

  10. “Please tell me you’re not a truther?”

    Yes I will confess to you father Fleeced, I am completely freaking insane. My entire world hinges on 911. Just escaped from a mental hospital. If you could direct me to where I could get some help regarding my crazy 911 truther conspiracy delusion beliefs it would be much appreciated.

  11. Yea, Tim, It’s jaw dropping isn’t it?

    I have a different view. The left leaning MSM knew about these things but didn’t report on them because of its left wing slant and trying to protect this administration.

    Which is okay I might add seeing they’re private institutions. However when most go bust as they nearly all are, they’ll know why. Carlos Slim may not have another 250 million for the NYTimes to burn though next time around.

  12. I thought Google was the mainstream media. 😉

    Seriously I think the death of TV (and other broadcast media) is good for critical thinking. And I think critical thinking is good for the libertarian cause.

    These stories are probably good for the GOP. But other online initiatives such as “Campaign for Liberty” are working hard to gut and rebuild the GOP. I think Australias dominant right wing party also needs a good gutting.

  13. Tim – John Quiggin on his blog is running an article called “macro”. Your article here gets some discussion in the comments if you care to look.

  14. @Tim, I retract my downplaying of the ACORN issue. I had based my opinion on an analysis of the videos from someone I considered reliable.

    I have since watched them and read the commentary and it was pretty messed up. If they were a donation funded organisation it would be fine, but it’s like going to Centrelink for child prostitutes, time-saving but at the end of the day, a bit mucky.

  15. I’m not too comfortable with your one example to demonstrate what sort of organisation the Ella Baker Centre for Human Rights is, Tim.

    The press release says:

    “Community-based organizations led by people of color will hold a “Solidarity Gathering” and candle light vigil on Wednesday night to support the Arab American community, which is suffering from a tidal wave of bigotry in the wake of Tuesday’s bombings in New York City and Washington, D.C.”

    and:

    “The purpose of the gathering will be to give leaders from communities of color an opportunity to speak out in support of the Arab community, while condemning the attacks and mourning the dead.”

    And later on:

    “No matter who ultimately is to blame for these bombings, we cannot tolerate stereotypes and blanket attacks against any ethnic group,” said Raquel of STORM. “And we especially don’t want Asian-American, African-American, Latino or Native American communities getting pulled into a frenzy of hatred toward our sisters and brothers. We must stand together.”

    While I’m not keen on organisations that define themselves by race or colour, the sentiments do not seem unreasonable to me and are certainly preferable to a statement that condemns as perpetrators an entire race based on the actions of a minority:

    “Let this sink in for a moment. The day of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and Van Jones’ organization expresses solidarity not with the innocent victims, but with the perpetrators.”

  16. These stories are probably good for the GOP. But other online initiatives such as “Campaign for Liberty” are working hard to gut and rebuild the GOP. I think Australias dominant right wing party also needs a good gutting.

    I think that if a government becomes so bad so quickly that the opposition is reelected after one term, they are inclined to think that the public learned its lesson and voted them back because they now know that they were bloody good. They therefore go on with what got them out in the first place.

    The Whitlam government was so bad, they made Fraser look good after only three years. The dismissal was like a breath of fresh air and the Fraser landslide is history, but in reality we had simply swapped one pompous old centralist bastard for another.

    In the US Republicans are well up in the polls (Rasmussen), and are in front for the past few weeks and currently Pelosi, Reid, and Dodt are trailing Republican challengers by 10% + despite the fact that the GOP has not really done anything as far as getting organized. At this stage it would be difficult to really point to a real leader.

    While the current spate of tea parties seems to be bringing out the fiscal conservatives, and I would expect them to be in the ascendency in any Republican gains, the GOP would probably benefit from some more time in the back paddock to get back to basics.

    The most interesting one I found was this:

    f they could vote to keep or replace the entire Congress, just 25% of voters nationwide would keep the current batch of legislators.
    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% would vote to replace the entire Congress and start all over again. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure how they would vote.

  17. Jim – I agree that time in the back paddock can be a good thing. Unfortunately you can’t fit all the political parties in the back paddock at the same time.

    Tim – I’ve been watching the ACORN videos on youtube. That they could ask for loans again and again at different ACORN outlets and explain that they wanted the loans so they could import under aged sex workers is both amazing and appalling. Clearly leadership and character were totally absent in this organisation. That they could be on the receiving end of million of dollars in government grants in spite of such dire shortcomings is extremely sad.

  18. Terje, I doubt that Congress etc were unaware of the character of these people, or at least over the last couple of years, the dogs have been barking it for ages on the blogs. They are basically an extreme leftist corrupt organization that will do anything to get what they see as the “right people in.”

    From what I have seen, I was not expecting this, but I am not really surprised.

    Mate, just have a really big back paddock, we could probably do without extra regulation for a while, while they are in it. We have had so much of it, we can probably “live off the fat” for a while.

  19. @DocBud – You’re absolutely right, that was badly written by me (to say the least). Of course the substance of their point against racism is quite correct, and I shouldn’t have phrased that like I did. I simply rushed through writing this post and tried to keep it short and didn’t think this part through all that well.

    The point I was trying to make though that if after 9/11 your first and most immediate reaction is to hold a candle-lit vigil solidarity with the arab community again st a non-existent “tidal wave of bigotry “, then it is rather telling about the mindset you hold. I think automatic instincts are quite telling about the character of an organisation/person etc. And I mean the centre is know for being rather commie.
    But yes, perhaps I shouldn’t have included that point, or at least worded it a lot better.

  20. Oh FFS immediately after 911 they’re making overtures to perpetrators racial group is mind boggling.

    How about just shutting the F… up.

    Doc Bud… that’s about as nonsensical and creepy as the family of a murdered rape victim sending out ” I feel your pain” letters to the rapist family.

    It’s jawdropping.

    Clearly leadership and character were totally absent in this organisation.

    It’s actually a criminal organization and should be charged under RICOO for racketeering charges.

  21. Tim

    this a really great post – one of the best we have had on this site.
    i wish more people could read articles such as these.
    i wish i shared your view that Big Media is dead though. uninformative, yes – but it still dominates the water cooler conversations and will for some time.

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