Inside ACORN

, Allie Winegar Duzett, Leave a comment

Often we hear about the corruption of ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. While many of ACORN’s members are corrupt, a few have the courage to speak for truth and virtue.  Anita MonCrief is one of those people.

MonCreif told her story at Accuracy in Media’s 40th Anniversary Conference, held on October 23, 2009.  “In spring of 2007, after noticing a pattern with ACORN and how they were treating employees regarding voter registration fraud especially, I contacted the Employment Policies Institute,” she said. “They run a site called  I talked to someone there and I explained my situation and what I knew, and instead of trying to use me or to milk me for information as many liberal media elites will say conservatives are trying to do, they advised me that because I had a newborn and because I was still working at ACORN, that I should maybe try to find other employment and call them back.”

MonCrief said that she “took that to heart” and tried to “reform ACORN from the inside,” but all too soon she “realized it was a losing battle.”

So, she turned to the media for help.  She began corresponding with Stephanie Strom, a reporter with The New York Times.  The two of them corresponded from July to October of 2008, working on stories and discussing the issues that would later come up for scrutiny from other sources.  “When the stories were printed I noticed that some of the information seemed to be whitewashed,” MonCrief noted regarded Strom’s stories.  According to MonCrief, Strom blamed the “whitewashing” on the election.  At one point, MonCrief had been asked to contact all of Barack Obama’s maxed-out donors and see if they would contribute to ACORN’s “non-partisan” voter registration drive.  MonCrief was dismayed that the Times would not run the story.  MonCrief explained that Strom’s editors “had told her to stand down.”  In her explanation, Strom had said that “it was the policy of The New York Times not to print a story so close to the election that could be considered a game changer.”

“I knew that this was not true,” MonCrief said, noting that the Times had been neglecting major stories all summer.  MonCrief mentioned that one of those stories involved a $1.5 million grant to ACORN from one of the owners of The New York Times’ building.  Perhaps it is not such a surprise, then, that the Times was keeping tales of ACORN’s corruption on the down low.

“The media was not covering ACORN like they should have been,” MonCrief said, telling of how she turned to blogging, Facebook, and Twitter to spread the truth about ACORN.

“ACORN is a thoroughly corrupt organization that cannot be reformed,” MonCreif argued.  “ACORN needs to be stopped and there needs to be more than a congressional investigation.”

MonCrief is currently being sued by ACORN.  She has a legal defense fund here.  You can also help AIM expose ACORN here, and commit to boycotting The New York Times here.

Allie Winegar Duzett is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.