The activities of the community organizing group ACORN became a high profile newsstory in 2008, particularly toward the end of the presidential election campaign, whenthe Republican candidates and other conservatives attacked ACORN. More than 60%of all stores about ACORN during 2007 and 2008
appeared in the single month of October 2008, creating a well‐orchestrated “October Surprise.”
Although the 2008 presidential election is long over, conservative opinionentrepreneurs and the conservative media echo chamber remain fixated on ACORN,and poised to inject their frame about ACORN as an issue in the 2010 and 2012national elections.
Since Obama took office in January 2009, conservatives have continued to attackACORN and tried to link ACORN to Obama and the Democrats. Criticism of ACORNhas been a consistent story on Fox News and conservative talk shows, and inconservative publications, websites, and columns in mainstream newspapers. Forexample:
In early 2009, GOP allegations that the Democrats in Congress specifically targetedbillions of stimulus funds for ACORN became news stories despite the fact that itwas not true
In July 2009, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, ranking Republican on the House Oversight andGovernment Reform Committee, released a report, “Is ACORN IntentionallyStructured as a Criminal Enterprise?” that repeated many of the allegations madeduring the 2008 campaign and that generated media attention
On August 11, 2009, the House Judiciary Committee released over 5,000 pages of White House and Republican National Committee e‐mails, along with transcriptsof closed‐door testimony by Karl Rove, former Bush senior advisor and deputychief of staff, and Harriet Miers, former White House counsel. The documentsrevealed that Rove played a central role in the firing of David C. Iglesias, the U.S.Attorney in New Mexico, for failing to help Republican election prospects byprosecuting alleged instances of voter fraud by ACORN.
Nearly every major newsorganization reported on the Judiciary Committee’s unveiling of the e‐mails andtranscripts, but none of them—including the
Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times,New York Daily News, New York Times, Washington Post,
Wall Street Journal
—mentioned that Rove was specifically focused on attacking ACORN for itsvoter registration efforts in New Mexico and other states,
even though ACORN ismentioned frequently as a Republican target in the investigative documents.