Right Wing Smear on ACORN Leads to Outrageous McCain Debate Claim

Media Uncritically Recites Right-Wing Talking Points, Turns A Blind Eye To Real Voter Suppression

People for the American Way (PFAW) will take out a full-page ad (PDF link) in The New York Times charging the right wing with misleading the public in the ACORN voter registration controversy. The ad also challenges the press for failing to examine the fabrications made against the voter registration group and turning a blind-eye toward the right wing's ongoing effort to disenfranchise voters.

The media's frenzy surrounding the situation has now reached a fever pitch and enabled John McCain's outrageous and baseless comments in last night's presidential debate accusing ACORN of "maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy."

"What's really threatening to destroy the fabric of our democracy are right-wing efforts to suppress millions of newly registered voters, both Democrats and Republicans around the country," said Kathryn Kolbert, President of People for the American Way.

"ACORN should be commended for registering 1.3 million Democrats and Republicans to vote in this historic upcoming Presidential election," said Kolbert. "Instead, CNN and other typically independent news outlets have focused on sensationalistic stories about a few bad apples instead of investigating the systematic voter disenfranchisement that the right wing has engaged."

The ad also makes clear that the attacks on ACORN are distractions from more serious and widespread voter suppression being perpetrated by the Right in this election. Three specific examples are cited:

  • In Indiana, the right is considering using home foreclosure as a reason to prevent legitimate registration.
  • In Philadelphia, an anonymous flier targeting African-American neighborhoods falsely warns that voters with outstanding traffic tickets may be arrested if they go to the polls.
  • In Colorado, the Republican Secretary of State rejected over 6,000 citizens' registration cards because of minor errors like not marking a checkbox.

View the "Fraud" Ad

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