Inside Blogotics

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But conservative uberblogger Instapundit — aka Glenn Reynolds — had another reaction. He printed a letter from reader Kristen Pecoraro: “A key line that leaped out at me from your link to the Times story on prosecutors looking at journalism students’ grades was this: ‘Every time the government starts attacking the messenger as opposed to the message, it can have a chilling effect,’ said Barry C. Scheck, a pioneer of the Innocence Project in New York. Fox News, anyone?”

Mr. Reynolds dryly added: “Hey, it’s the Chicago Way. But the parallel is pretty striking — if you don’t like what they’re reporting, why, then, they’re not really journalists!”

ACORN fail

Conservative blogger Patrick Frey (nom de blog: Patterico, of Patterico’s Pontifications) is a regular and highly critical reader of his hometown Los Angeles Times. But there was something strangely gratifying about a post over the weekend that reproduced a letter Mr. Frey had sent Times editorial-page editor Nicholas Goldberg concerning a guest column on the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

That gratification was in the letter’s … thoroughness. The word count was significantly longer than this entire column and included links to nine videos at YouTube.com, five transcripts and other evidence. “This e-mail will be a little long, because I’m showing my work,” Mr. Frey wrote. It’s worth noting here because Mr. Frey directly attacks two points often made by ACORN apologists.

“A recent op-ed in your paper defending ACORN makes at least two factual misstatements: 1) that ACORN staff offered to help shield an underage prostitution ring at only two offices, and 2) that no voter fraudulently registered to vote by ACORN had ever actually cast a ballot. Furthermore, your paper failed to disclose that the author of the op-ed, Peter Dreier, has been a (presumably paid) consultant for ACORN in the past … something that might help explain how he botched the facts so badly,” Mr. Frey wrote.

The five (not two) videos of ACORN office visits showed employees advising James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, posing as a pimp and prostitute involved in trafficking underage Salvadoran girls. Some of the advice included, “Honesty is not going to get you the house” (Brooklyn); find a name for the business besides “prostitution” (Brooklyn), such as a “group home” (San Bernardino, Calif.); lie low by underdeclaring income, which shouldn’t be hard because prostitution is a cash business (San Bernardino); and smuggle the Salvadoran girls via Tijuana, Mexico, where the ACORN worker had “a lot of contacts” (San Diego).

Mr. Frey also noted Mr. Dreier’s claim that “not a single person who signed a phony name on a registration form ever actually voted. What occurred was voter registration fraud, not voter fraud.”

“You might think that the extraordinarily sweeping nature of that statement would raise a red flag. Can he really know that no person voted after being fraudulently registered by ACORN? And in fact, it is not so,” Mr. Frey wrote, linking to an American Spectator article by Matthew Vadum.

“Darnell Nash of Cleveland, Ohio, was registered to vote by ACORN nine times for last year’s election. Nash cast a fraudulent ballot and was convicted of vote fraud and voter registration fraud. He’s currently serving a six-month prison term,” Mr. Vadum wrote.

Then the capper: “As Dreier’s online bio states … [he] has worked as a consultant for a variety of foundations and government agencies, including … ACORN. … This was not disclosed in the L.A. Times piece, which says only the following about Dreier: ‘Peter Dreier is a professor of politics at Occidental College. His study of media coverage of ACORN can be found here.’ The paper should have disclosed Dreier’s consulting work for ACORN. Don’t you agree?”

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