FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Ben Fishel (202) 756-4145
When in Doubt, Blame Immigrants and ACORN:
Media conservatives choose scapegoats over substance
“Media conservatives have made a sport of vilifying ACORN and immigrants. In lieu of engaging in substantive policy debates, they simply point fingers at the poor and disenfranchised. It is both dishonest and irresponsible,” said Media Matters spokesperson Erikka Knuti.
Media Matters’ study documents numerous examples of media conservatives returning to their favorite scapegoats, including:
EXPANSION OF THE STATE CHILDREN’S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM
In reporting on or discussing the 2009 expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), many in the media asserted or uncritically repeated the claim that the bill would provide health benefits to undocumented immigrants. In fact, the legislation includes a citizenship verification process and explicitly states that “[n]othing in this Act allows Federal payment for individuals who are not lawfully residing in the
2008 FINANCIAL CRISIS
Several conservative media figures have claimed or suggested that excessive lending to undocumented immigrants was responsible for the financial crisis, but have failed to cite any credible evidence to support that claim. They also advanced the idea that ACORN contributed to the housing crisis by “bullying” banks into lending irresponsibly to minorities, and in many instances, asserted that the group used the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to intimidate banks into making risky loans. But as Media Matters has documented, the assertion that the CRA had anything to do with the financial crisis has been widely discredited.
2009 AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT
In their coverage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, many in the media falsely asserted or uncritically reported accusations that the legislation would provide tax credits to undocumented immigrants. In fact, the bill limited the Making Work Pay tax credit to individuals with Social Security numbers, thereby excluding undocumented immigrants. Numerous media figures have also claimed that ACORN would benefit from the legislation -- to the tune of $4.19 billion. In fact, the act does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding; ACORN itself has said that it is ineligible for the funds. The false claim was based on a misrepresentation of a provision in the House version of the bill that would have appropriated $4.19 billion “for neighborhood stabilization activities related to emergency assistance for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes authorized under division B, title III of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.”
Reporting on the 2010 U.S. Census, many in the media have focused on ACORN’s reported role as a national partner with the Census Bureau in its effort to recruit more than 1 million temporary workers to knock on doors and baselessly suggested that the group will fraudulently influence the count in favor of Democrats or that the Obama administration is politicizing the process. In fact, ACORN is reportedly one of “more than 250” groups that are partnering with the Census Bureau to recruit workers.
2008-2009 MINNESOTA SENATE RECOUNT
In covering the Minnesota Senate recount, many in the media seized on a Republican talking point that Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has “ties” to ACORN, in many instances using it to suggest that he would be biased toward Democratic challenger Al Franken over Republican incumbent Norm Coleman.
Full Research Item HERE: http://mediamatters.org/items/200904070005
Media Matters for