Editor and Publisher published an excellent (albeit very long) analysis of the media's news coverage of ACORN and how 26 percent of Americans, including 52 percent of Republicans, came to believe the absurd claim that the community-organizing group somehow stole the 2008 presidential election. The piece by two college professors who've been studying the media coverage for a while presents some unsurprising evidence on how coverage from conservative Web sites bled over to more conventional media with little or no fact-checking. But their most important finding was that the only real sensible coverage came from metro beat reporters who worked the streets and, um, actually knew what they were talking about.
Because there had been some irregularities in Minneapolis-St. Paul in past elections, and because he “thought this would be a tight race,” Diaz decided to look into the allegations. After his investigation, Diaz reported on his findings published in a front-page Oct. 24, 2008 story.
“Yes, there had been a track record of voter registration fraud, but that’s different from voter fraud,” Diaz said. Diaz also had a different explanation for the source of the voter registration fraud. “The irregularities were perpetrated against ACORN, not by ACORN,” Diaz said, noting that ACORN employees at the street level tried to scam ACORN by not doing the work and turning in phony registrations. When their supervisors discovered the scam, the employees were fired and their phony forms reported to local officials. As Diaz wrote in his 2008 story, “Of 43,162 voter registrations, ACORN has flagged 135 potentially ‘fake cards’ and fired 20 people who were involved in turning them in.”