Last week, two independent reporters released an undercover interview in which they posed as a pimp and prostitute, and asked members of the ACORN office in Baltimore for advice on evading the law. Since then, the filmmakers, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, have released three more tapes of the same scenario carried out at ACORN sites in Brooklyn, D.C., and San Bernardino.
Fox News, the first network to air the footage after its initial release on Andrew Breitbart‘s site, biggovernment.com, covered it with the same fervor that characterized Glenn Beck‘s segments on Van Jones and Yosi Sargent, the two Obama aides who lost their jobs last week.
Many conservative pundits, especially Fox News’ Beck, assert that mainstream media is ignoring the story. Blogger Michelle Malkin singled out Charles Gibson of ABC’s “World News,” who said that he hadn’t heard of the ACORN tapes in a radio interview on Tuesday.
Even Jon Stewart was distressed. “Where were the real reporters on this story?” he asked his audience on Tuesday. His advice to investigative journalists: “Let’s get to work, people.”
The major networks seem to be coming around this week. Jon Banner, the executive producer of ABC’s “World News” told viewers they could expect to hear about ACORN on Wednesday night’s show.
“The interest in such controversial stories has exposed blind spots in both the Obama administration and the press, with the president’s aides at first trying to ignore critics they considered shrill or ignorant, and networks and newspapers finding themselves flat-footed when issues they had ignored caught fire online and on cable,” write Michael Calderone and Mike Allen for Politico.
Media critic for the Washington Post, Howard Kurtz, commented on the puzzling lag-time with a tweet late Wednesday: “Networks playing catch-up on ACORN tonight. Usually television loves stories with hidden-camera video, especially when prostitutes mentioned.”