Say it ain’t so, Jake!
Jake Tapper, ABC News White House Correspondent, has consistently posed harder questions to President Obama than virtually anyone else in the largely fawning gaggle of groupies also known as the White House Press Corps and because of that higher level of intellectual honesty many of us follow Jake on Facebook or on Twitter. When he noted yesterday that ABC’s World News Tonight was [finally] going to report on the recent ACORN sting and their on-tape support of numerous illegalities I made sure that I did not miss it. I like Jake Tapper. I was more than a little disappointed by the story, and frankly he and Gibson need to be called out on it.
Please go watch the short segment, which can be viewed here, to decide for yourself.
The segment seemed slanted from the very beginning and I had a flashback to the late 90s when Dan Rather was reporting on the Lewinsky scandal during President Clinton’s second term. Like Charlie Gibson’s graphic, which read “ACORN Under Fire,” Rather was doing his best to run interference for Mr. Clinton and similarly the graphic over his shoulder sympathetically read “White House Under Fire”. Many more properly descriptive alternatives come to mind, such as “ACORN Accused of Criminality” or even “Big Media Scooped by Amateurs”, but would clearly fail to portray the group sympathetically enough.
UPDATE 9/18: To be completely honest, O’Reilly’s graphic last night said “ACORN Under Fire” as well! But I do think that the points that I make in the rest of this post stand alone.
Gibson’s lead-in statements before handing the story off to Tapper attempted to frame the story immediately as some sort of GOP grudge match.
“For years, republicans in that city have been taking aim at an umbrella group of community organizers called ACORN. Opposition to the group intensified when ACORN helped President Obama in his election campaign. And now a video tape has surfaced which has prompted calls for investigations of ACORN’s activities.”
Gibson immediately struck a sympathetic tone with ACORN, once again painting a picture of a group in the crosshairs of the “republicans” who are “taking aim” at ACORN and he tried to present it as a simple partisan grudge against a group who supported their opponent. Furthermore, while being interviewed on a Chicago radio show on Tuesday (Sept. 15th), Gibson actually claimed that he was unfamiliar with the story! Given that the story, complete with video from ACORN offices of their people happily assisting in plans for illegal activities, had broken five days earlier one would expect Mr. Gibson to be familiar with it. The Senate had voted the night before to cut ties to ACORN and the Census Bureau had terminated their association with the radical group four days earlier on Friday, September 11th. Mr. Gibson’s claim of ignorance truly requires an unacceptable level of credulity.