Obama doesn’t play the same manipulative games, Lakoff notes. “Obama believes that if you just tell the truth, it’ll be OK, and every day have a truth squad to find the conservative lies,” Lakoff says. “What he didn’t understand was that by focusing on the conservative lies, he was in fact helping the conservative cause. It’s like Richard Nixon saying, ‘I’m not a crook.’”
That’s why Lakoff says it’s so important for Obama, and for the progressive movement in general, to define the moral imperative behind empowering the people and their government to create a better world, then aggressively push a campaign to do so.
“It’s the ‘this is the right thing to do’ approach,” Lakoff says. “And once it’s been framed that way, then you can say what’s false or true. But you should never go on the defensive first. As soon as you go point by point, you are on the defensive.”
Several progressive outlets have organized around supporting ACORN and reinforcing the White House message that Fox News is not news at all.
DeFox America, a project from Brave New Films, includes an online email campaign to Congress. “Fox ‘News’ personalities are pushing an agenda that is dangerous to ordinary Americans,” the form letter reads. “Using tactics such as placing individuals singled out for censure on a blackboard and linking them to murderous dictators like Josef Stalin, Fox News has deliberately created an atmosphere of hysteria that they have used to attack organizations and individuals fighting for the issues that matter most to working families.”
The form also urges Congress to stand up against cutting off ACORN’s federal funding. An accompanying video uses conservative television attacks against the organization juxtaposed with religious and other community leaders’ explanations of how the group has helped poor and disenfranchised communities throughout its more than 35 years.
While Democratic Party Executive Director Josh Geise says “it’s safe to say I wholeheartedly agree with the president” about Fox News, he believes the right-wing views espoused by Beck, Limbaugh et al do not reflect those of the majority of Republicans. “I feel like there is a very small vocal minority on the far right that is a small percentage of the Republican Party and are being treated as if they are a much larger percentage,” Geise says. “There have been some focus groups done nationally of really right-wing Republicans and moderate Republicans.
The far right wing truly feels that Obama has a secret agenda to socialize the country and ruin America, and they honest to God believe that. There are moderate Republicans that are looking at the issues and they might not agree with [Obama] on every single issue, but they think he is out to do what’s best for the country. So what you see are folks that are moderate Republicans who are looking at the issues and folks like Rush Limbaugh who just hope [Obama] fails.”
Iglesias tells SFR he watches very little of Fox News or Glenn Beck “because his maudlin approach to reporting is not only unpersuasive, but irritating if you want to base your views on the facts and not hyperbolic rhetoric.” Voices like Beck’s, Iglesias writes, “only further marginalize the GOP.”
Certainly, the counter-attack is making it clear the battle is with specific members of the right. A website launched right before Halloween, Stop The Witch Hunt, depicts Limbaugh, Beck et al with fire and pitchforks in front of the White House and reads:
Scary. That’s what this mob of right wing ideologues are to most of us. Scarier still, they have a national platform to use code words and race baiting to spread fear and mistrust. It would be sad, even funny, if so many people weren’t hurt by them. Hate crimes are up. False accusations and outright lies have cost good people their jobs and reputations. And we don’t know who will be next.
Some believe the same rationale taken for barring ACORN from federal funds should now be applied to all federal contractors—with defense corporations at the top of the list. US Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, one of seven senators who voted against the bill defunding ACORN, has introduced a bill calling for an investigation of money spent by any contractor who has been indicted, fined or convicted of fraud.
That could be a long investigation. In the November edition of The Nation, journalist Jeremy Scahill, well-known for his investigation of Blackwater, writes:
“The nonpartisan Project on Government Oversight recently revealed that the top 100 government contractors made nearly $300 billion from federal contracts in 2007 alone. Since 1995 these same contractors have been involved with 676 cases of ‘misconduct’ and [have] paid $26 billion in fines to settle cases stemming from fraud, waste or abuse.”
Democrats who voted to defund ACORN, Scahill writes, “should be required to explain their reasoning to their constituents, particularly when so few of them have taken substantive actions to apply the ACORN standard to corporate criminals with real rap sheets.”
It seems unlikely you’d hear them do so on Fox News. SFR