The ACORN connection that wasn’t

THE ACORN CONNECTION THAT WASN’T…. A variety of conservatives are worked up this morning about a report from the American Spectator, which claims that White House political director Patrick Gaspard used to work for ACORN in New York. Right-wing blogs are aflutter with excitement.

Now, it’s worth noting that if Gaspard had worked for ACORN, that wouldn’t be evidence of anything nefarious or inappropriate. But as it turns out, the report itself is wrong. Ben Smith reports:

The Spectator (accurately) quotes ACORN founder Wade Rathke claiming that Gaspard was political director at the group’s New York chapter at some point before 2003.

I covered New York politics at the time, and that was news to me; the also White House denies it. But just to be sure, I checked checked just now with Gaspard’s former boss, whom he ultimately replaced as the political director of the giant New York SEIU local, 1199, Jennifer Cunningham. Cunningham confirmed to me that he’d worked for her starting in 1999; that he’d worked for a City Council member before that; and before that, for the Dinkins Administration.

The fact that Rathke got this wrong does provide more evidence of how totally decentralized and disorganized — contrary to the claims of both fans and detractors — the group is, but that’s all it says.

The Spectator piece is a model of the sort of guilt-by-association Google work in which partisans of both sides specialize.

Pondering ACORN’s non-existent role in staffing the Obama administration, the Spectator says it “boggles the mind.” So does this right-wing brand of hatchet “journalism.”

Of course, now that the New York Times and Washington Post are anxious to know what’s generating buzz among conservatives online, here’s hoping the nation’s major dailies are paying close attention to the details here.

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