Patterico's Pontifications

10/24/2009

L.A. Times Fails to Disclose that Author of Fact-Challenged Pro-ACORN Op-Ed Has Been ACORN Consultant

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 7:50 am

Yesterday I posted about an L.A. Times op-ed by Peter Dreier, who wrote that only two ACORN offices engaged in wrongdoing related to a purported child prostitution ring (at least five did), and who also falsely claimed that no ACORN-registered fraudulent voter ever cast a vote (false; one has been convicted for exactly that). How could somebody get the facts so badly wrong to ACORN’s benefit? In comments to my post, Bradley J. Fikes tipped us to one possibility: Dreier has been ACORN’s (presumably paid) consultant. As Dreier’s online bio states:

He has worked closely with a wide range of community organizations, labor unions, and public interest organizations, and has worked as a consultant for a variety of foundations and government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), VISTA, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the MacArthur Foundation, the Boston Foundation, the California AFL-CIO, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, ACORN, the Industrial Areas Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and others.

Was this disclosed in the L.A. Times piece? Uh, no, it wasn’t. The entire bio for Dreier at the end of the L.A. Times piece reads:

Peter Dreier is a professor of politics at Occidental College. His study of media coverage of ACORN can be found here.

I’ll be writing Nick Goldberg about this today, as well as Dreier’s errors of fact.

32 Responses to “L.A. Times Fails to Disclose that Author of Fact-Challenged Pro-ACORN Op-Ed Has Been ACORN Consultant”

  1. They should have just let Bertha Lewis write it.

    JD (304527)

  2. Thanks for the mention, Patterico.

    I found that info with just a few seconds of using Google. Has the LA Times heard of it?

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  3. The Los Angeles Times also has the pernicious habit of quoting college professors frequently in their news articles. This gives the illusion that the professors’ opinions are facts, since the professors are supposedly experts in their fields. But they are also 99% liberals.

    Official Internet Data Office (203a2f)

  4. The Times should print the Patterico reply. Oh, I’m sorry, that would be fair and balanced.

    Alta Bob (e8af2b)

  5. Maybe this is evidence of a new business model -

    charge authors for the privilege of printing their article.

    Amphipolis (8cd9a3)

  6. fake but accurate never died.

    chaos (7c068a)

  7. Yeah, freeper guy, nee Official Internet Data Office, why would news organizations cite experts in a field!

    Further, why would they allow an expert in a field (who just wrote a scholarly study on the subject) to write an opinion piece about what he believes? That’s just crazy! Opinion pieces are supposed to be objective and have no opinions!

    Snark aside, Patterico is right on to ask them about it. The Professor’s past work with ACORN, while not disqualifying his findings or his opinion, should be known to readers attempting to evaluate this issue.

    On a related note, is anyone else reminded of Travel-gate or Filegate or the Rose law firm billing records? The things people care about are baffling. ACORN runs the US government is as pointless and silly as Halliburton supposedly running it.

    timb (449046)

  8. fake but accurate never died.

    Amen, Limbaugh just used this week about Obama’s “thesis” after whining about it the week before with regard to himself!

    timb (449046)

  9. There are certain stories in the news that are far too important to rely on facts. ACORN and the financial meltdown is one. Global warming is another. There is an amusing exchange on a NY Times blog about it. A global warming hysteric blogger accused Nathan Myhrvold of not understanding the physics of solar panels. Unlike professor Dreier, Myhrvold really does know what he is talking about. For those who don’t recall, Myhrvold was the chief technology officer of Microsoft and nobody ever accused Bill Gates of throwing his money away. Myhrvold cashed out his stock options, and there were a lot of them, and started his own technology company.

    I would be really reluctant to get into a smartness contest with Myhrvold, even if I disagree with him about global warming.

    The reason for going OT on this is the constant thread of emotion dictating the facts in so many stories these days. Anyone with a basic command of logic knows that ACORN is a criminal enterprise. The reason I am so skeptical of global warming as a serious threat is the rapidity with which it was adopted as a weapon in the rear guard battle to preserve communism and Marxism as viable economic theories. We are all doomed unless we adopt a command economy model and reverse capitalism to save the planet.

    The home ownership delusion that led to the financial crisis was, at its most basic theory, the concept that poor people are just unlucky. That there is no life behavior model that makes them poor. If we give the homeless apartments, they will keep them up and act just as we would given the same circumstances. If we let the poor buy homes with no money down and no credit check, they will become good suburbanites because we know that everybody is just the same underneath. Rich people were lucky and money fell into their laps. Or they inherited it. Working harder and doing without to get an education is a practical field had nothing to do with it.

    Smoking pot and experimenting with drugs has nothing to do with poverty and failure to succeed in life. Everybody deserves to have the same things and to enjoy the same outcome. I am sure that Professor Dreier believes this. I suspect that blogger, who thinks Myhrvold doesn’t know physics in spite of his PhD at 23, believes this. I even suspect Obama believes it.

    Mike K (addb13)

  10. Tim, no doubt, believes that ACORN should be in charge of lending standards for banks. After all, who knows more that Maxine Waters?

    Mike K (addb13)

  11. Timb listens to Limbaugh??

    PatAZ (9d1bb3)

  12. These limited, soft science college professors that always get cited by the media are too often not real experts, by any standard. Their programs usually amount to citing and writing about others that have done the real work and taken the real risks.
    The consultant thing too often consists of a series of phone calls and emails, not much more.
    Then they get to pitch their gas to a bunch of indifferent college kids who can’t or won’t challenge them due to same expert/professor having the power of the grade over them.
    Makes these profs think they are experts, but they are usually not. Small ponds.
    But it was an opinion piece, and it was also a good job by B. Fikes finding this info.

    Andrew2 (92ffbe)

  13. How much you think they paid the Los Angeles Times for the OpEd platform?

    happyfeet (f62c43)

  14. timb, you are piling up a huge Karma debt. Do you have any friends? Or are you locked in your parents basement because they are so ashamed of what a mental midget you have become?

    PCD (ba8fe0)

  15. #9. Great Post.

    Andrew2 (92ffbe)

  16. Above, I said that the professors were “supposedly experts in their field.” It’s assumed by the Los Angeles Times’ general readership (what’s left of it) that professors who are quoted are reliable since they’re professors, and often they’ve had some genuine academic papers published, but that doesn’t mean that the political opinion they deliver alongside the occasional fact are valid, or even appropriate for a news article.

    By the way, my handle below is the only one I’ve ever used on this site.

    Official Internet Data Office (203a2f)

  17. I wrote Jamie Gold about this same issue yesterday and received the rote reply telling me that she had forwarded it on to “the editors.”

    JVW (fdd465)

  18. Dreier’s errors of fact… lies of omission, dishonesty, lacking integrity, manipulative: it’s all a way of life for some.

    Peter Dreier, who wrote that only two ACORN offices engaged in wrongdoing related to a purported child prostitution ring (at least five did)

    Because seriously, if only two engaged in this, it would make ACORN reputable…but five, shame on them!

    Any writer or newspaper that would permit any attempt to legitimize ACORN or convince readers that it is anything but a criminal organization is just as sleazy and disreputable. But then, we already knew that.

    Dana (863a65)

  19. Dreier’s errors of fact… lies of omission, dishonesty, lacking integrity, manipulative: it’s all a way of life for some.

    Peter Dreier, who wrote that only two ACORN offices engaged in wrongdoing related to a purported child prostitution ring (at least five did)

    Because seriously, if only two engaged in this, it would make ACORN reputable…but five, shame on them!

    IMO, any newspaper that would permit attempts to legitimize ACORN or convince readers that it is anything but a criminal organization is just as sleazy and disreputable. But then, we already knew that.

    Dana (863a65)

  20. Oh, good grief, Pat. The LAT defies reason.

    Well said, Mike K. And if the poor are not simply unlucky, they are victims of racism or some other -ism, and we must do penance and tithe to make up for that.

    Patricia (c95a48)

  21. I should add that this delusion has its advocates on the right. Margaret Thatcher made a great effort to sell council housing in Britain to the tenants. To some degree this has validity. Home ownership will make some people more responsible. It’s been said that no one ever washed a rented car. The problem comes when the advocates lose a sense of balance and it gets to be conventional wisdom that home ownership creates middle class values. A lot of those foreclosures are of homes owned by people who owned more than one. It became a bazaar and a casino. Somebody should have called a stop but the left is far more likely to get an ideological fix on something like this.

    There was political calculation and economic ignorance. That’s a bad combination.

    [note: fished from spam filter. --Stashiu]

    Mike K (addb13)

  22. My last comment vanished.

    Mike K (addb13)

  23. What folks might want to do is ask a couple of questions:

    1. What is the background of Professor Dreier, in terms of education and experience? Since he is an “expert,” you might ask: in what? You will quickly learn why, in terms of background, he will defend ACORN and this particular POTUS.

    2. Further, you might spend some time with the many, many essays that Professor Dreier has written. Why, you might find more than one or two where this “expert” attacks a person for defending an organization…when the defender has taken money or is associated with that organization. Because being associated with the organization or taking money for it means, according to Professor Dreier, that such a defender’s motives cannot be trusted.

    Which is why Dreier’s defense of ACORN is so funny. And typical. Because it is so different when he does it, right?

    Just another progressivist, alphabetist, hypocrite.

    Don’t take my word for it. Read about the man’s body of work.

    The LA TIMES should be ashamed, except they lack that capacity.

    Eric Blair (dd11cc)

  24. The other thing that made me laugh was the conceit I heard that there are only a few ACORN “bad apples” and that ACORN had removed them and “was fixing” the system.

    Yet those people seem to feel quite differently about, say, waterboarding (given the number of people who were waterboarded, I mean).

    And I think that defending importation of underaged sex slaves is equivalent to “torture.” Unless that is different, too.

    What I am getting at is what a hypocritical flexible yardstick is being applied by the ACORN defenders. They should be screaming at ACORN that their behavior is destroying the “good works” of that organization. And given how Lewis has flat out lied several times, defenders of ACORN should be calling for her removal.

    But they don’t. More alphabetism.

    Eric Blair (dd11cc)

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  26. [...] pounced. First, he debunked the obvious misstatements to be detailed shortly. He then documented Dreier’s undisclosed ACORN relationship (I suspect that a further look would reveal that other organizations on Dreier’s list have [...]

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