ACORN By Any Other Name

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ACORN is reorganizing. Edward-Isaac Dovere, editor of the monthly publication focused on New York politics and policy City Hall, and Ben Smith, senior political writer for, discuss the reorganization of the beleaguered anti-poverty group ACORN.


Edward-Isaac Dovere and Ben Smith

Comments [18]

Michael from Chelsea

Please, please, please do a follow up on this story. The Media Matters story is the one that needs to be told. The unedited tapes were never released, all we know is what The Pimp wanted us to see. It is a shame to see any organization tarred and feathered like this without a complete review. If anyone can speak to this you can Brian, Please, please, please, take up this story.

Feb. 24 2010 09:22 PM
Michael from Chelsea

Please, please, please do a follow up on this. The Media Matters story is the one that needs to be told. The unedited tapes were never released, all we know is what The Pimp wanted us to see. It is a shame to see any organization tarred and feathered like this without a complete review. If anyone can speak to this you can Brian, Please, please, please, take up this story.

Feb. 24 2010 09:21 PM
Norman Oder from Brooklyn

Lehrer asked if the change would affect ACORN's deal "with the Atlantic Yards developer" for the Community Benefits Agreement.

Smith speculated that it might be over. Actually, that's unlikely. See:

Regarding the affordable housing, the issue is less ACORN but the Development Agreement that you haven't reported on. Forest City Ratner is still supposed to build 2250 units of affordable housing, but the deadline is 25 years, not ten, the penalties for individual building delays are modest, and an Affordable Housing Subsidy Unavailability can be claimed for up to eight one-year periods. More here:

Nor have you reported on Forest City Ratner's $1.5 million bailout of national ACORN.

Feb. 23 2010 02:41 PM
Norman Oder from Brooklyn, NY

Ben Smith, following up on Brian Lehrer's casual statement about "Atlantic Yards opponents" hating ACORN, commented that "they were among the first to sort of notice yesterday this transformation."

"Sort of notice" is a euphemism for a well-researched journalistic blog post that laid out several of the changes and fundraising plans well before the report in City Hall News by Edward-Isaac Dovere. See:

Compare my coverage yesterday to Ben Smith's coverage yesterday:

Funny--today I'm merely an "Atlantic Yards opponent," but when I was on Brian Lehrer's TV show last June, I was an "investigative journalist."

I don't hate ACORN; however, having watched their role in the Atlantic Yards project (which they are contractually obligated to support), I've grown increasingly skeptical.

Feb. 23 2010 02:33 PM
Big Picture NYC from Upper Westside

Why is President Obama held to a different standard than our last president? What kind of academic achievement or "job" did President Bush ever earn or have that qualified him to be the leader of our nation? Frankly, I don't think he could pass the essay portion of the new SAT's.
We now have a very literate president that represents all the economic classes in our nation. He is a gentleman and a scholar far more capable than most. He is accepted and welcomed by many, many more nations than Bush ever was. It is sad that you just don't see the big picture.

Feb. 23 2010 01:46 PM
jawbone from Parsippany

Well, Bush the Younger was probably SELECTED president and kept in office by Bin Laden's attack on 9/11....

Leadership? Where he lead the nation truly brought us to the precipice. Maybe we're on the way down and just don't know it.

Empires as overextended as ours don't tend to do well.

Feb. 23 2010 11:00 AM
jawbone from Parsippany

Where are the Dems of yesteryear?

The FDRs, Trumans, LBJs, JFKs, RFKs?

I'm tired of glossy politician tyros, replete with fine rhetoric and high powered PR machines, being presented as viable candidates. When they win, they often don't know how to govern or lead.

Bush the Second was one example: Could be coached to use the right phrases, could give speeches, had powerful allies, and, heaven help us, was elected president.

Then, David Axelrod seems to have used the same approach for an obviously more intelligent candidate, just one with no real experience. And what do we have? A DemoCan? Someone channeling Ronald Reagan? Not quite St Ronnie; St. Ronnie could lead...into things very dangerous for the nation, but he could lead.

Where are the Dems of the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party???

Feb. 23 2010 10:56 AM
hjs from 11211

clearly any organization that "advocates for low- and moderate-income families by working on neighborhood safety, voter registration, health care, affordable housing, and other social " must be doing something criminal, but if your job is to lobbying to stop people from getting healthcare you are doing "gods work"

we are living a a mentally-ill-nation unable to see the empire is over.

Feb. 23 2010 10:51 AM
jawbone from Parsippany

Whst also scares me about this whole "scandal," is the fear of the Dems of any criticism. If I were poor, I woud conclude the Dems don't care about me.

Actually, as someone being driven into poverty by the cost of health insurance, I'm coming to the conclusion Obama and lots of Corporate Dems do not care about me...or my health. They're so intent on pleasing the Big Corporate Powers to get the easy big corporate donations (in the myriad forms it can already be done and now the Supremes Gang of Five have really opened the way for a flood of money, which can go for or against any particular pol who doesn't toe the corporate line...).

Where are Dems with Democratic principles??

Feb. 23 2010 10:45 AM
the truth!! from BKNY

One of them is in jail...Exactly my point!

Feb. 23 2010 10:43 AM
the truth!! from BKNY

The videographers are just as shady as the advice givers..the organization as a whole should not be/have been judged by either!

Feb. 23 2010 10:43 AM
Bill from New York

Why think the ACORN employees in that audio were even taking this joker seriously? Do you humor the guy or weigh into him? I guess we should all trot out some demonstrative indignation in patently odd situations like that, just in case you're being taped?

Feb. 23 2010 10:42 AM
jawbone from Parsippany

Brian, this is also very much a MEDIA story:
The faked videos would never have been so damaging if the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Medi) had not been forced into accepting FOX (cable version?) News coverage as established facts.

It seems ACORN personnel had little effect on the MCM reporters when they told them the story was far different from what the videos presented.

Now, it has come out the "pimp" and "'ho'" costumes had been filmed elsewhere and edited into the released attack videos, that the man had come in dressed in, iirc, khakies and very presentable white guy clothins overall, the woman was not in prostitute type dress.

Brian is, alas, mind-wormed by the the MCM and the NYTimes -- which will not report these bald-faced lies!

Brian, the guy told the ACORN people the innocent young woman was being threatened by a pimp and was in danger, etc. They presented various approaches for getting her away from this other "pimp."

Feb. 23 2010 10:41 AM
Carey from Harlem

I would like to point out that O'Keefe's ACORN "exposé" has been proven to be essentially a heavily edited piece of fiction:

Our pathetic Congress, in their haste to pander to the right-wing PR machine, destroyed a hard-working network of community advocates without even questioning the validity of the claims against them.

Feb. 23 2010 10:41 AM
Harvey Bernstein from Yonkers, NY

Did u actually watch the videos instead of listening and then playing a sound-bite. He did not dress as a pimp. That was cut into the videos in post-prodution. Most of the soe-called questions were added as voice-overs.


Don't do the right wing hater work for them!

Feb. 23 2010 10:36 AM
Bob from Manhattan

I think the "pimp" videos were simply the tipping point for the downfall of an organization that was alreadly ethically hollowed out by its founders, board and management. There is certainly room in our society for the mission of helping people with housing, employment, etc. but not by corrupt organizations that claim they're exempt from laws and regulation because they're "progressive."

Feb. 23 2010 10:08 AM

so what's your job lobstreet

Feb. 23 2010 10:01 AM
longstreet from NYC area

Can someone ask our President his views on ACORN, past and present, and what he actually did for them? He's spoke of working side by side with them through the years. To my knowledge, it's one of the only jobs he's ever had.
It's only a thought but I guess like so much else in his past we needn't delve into the details.

Feb. 23 2010 09:55 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.