August 19, 2009

Gut Feeling Confirmed: ACORN Disavows Langevin Event E-Mail

Monique Chartier

Following up on Justin's unease, I conveyed the e-mail in question to the Rhode Island office of ACORN. They responded quickly with the following statement.

An e-mail from Rhode Island Young Republicans that supposedly included an e-mail message from ACORN to our members is entirely a hoax and a fabrication. We have seen this pattern across the country, where right wing and Republican elements are attempting to stoke up their base using these entirely fabricated lies about ACORN. Around the country ACORN is engaged in the fight for quality, affordable health care, and believe it is every American's right and privilege to voice their opinion and attend town hall meetings. But for the record:

a) ACORN has never had a plan to attend Congressman Langevin's Town Hall meeting; and

b) The e-mail that was supposedly from ACORN to our members is a total fabrication.

Let us pause here to note the inherently non-solid, often non-verifiable nature of electronic mail. The Young Republicans may well have received and then passed along the e-mail in good faith. (I've e-mailed them to ask the source of the e-mail, though, upon reflection, that might have been a silly question.) ACORN has denied sending the e-mail. Still a mystery, however, is its author and originator, who may be

- a friend of ACORN,

- a friend of the Young Republicans or

- an uninvolved third party trying to create mischief.

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I don't have any reason to believe that the RIYR's got the ball rolling on this, although it certainly got passed along by them. I actually received an earlier copy of it from another source, but without the header information.

At least of the version I received, it has a little detail, in addition to the body of the e-mail:

Subject: Langevin Town Hall Meeting
Date: 8/7/2009 10:42:56 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Reply To: Your
To: All members

If you'll note the date of "8/7", as well as the old street address of 99 Veterans Memorial Drive in the body of the e-mail (it's since been moved to city hall on Post Road), if it is a hoax, it's a very dated one! It is very possible that someone sent it out to people inclined to pass information along, and simply faked the "from" information. It's actually very easy to do. Of course, this all could be some right wing conspiracy to drive more of our people to show up. I'd really like to think we're that capable!

As I've said elsewhere, whether or not it's "real" is probably not the most important thing. The fact is that it is completely plausible. From what I understand, ACORN isn't very big in RI. It would be more likely to be DARE, SEIU, NEARI, or other unions.

PS It's ACORN ... Not Ed Achorn! ;)

Posted by: Will at August 19, 2009 1:51 AM

This pattern of disinformation has certainly become the norm on the internet. Whispers from PR firms calculated to incite are repeated and presented as fact. The disinformation practices promulgated by both the 'left' and 'right' are a tragic disservice.

The 'health care debate' comments from this list can be traced back to PR firm talking points. None of the commentators are actual 'experts' in health care or medicine - I have not seen any remarks attributed to Donald Hawthorne who works in the industry.

As a professional librarian, I evaluate resources based on:

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I have started a new website to help evaluate the source of the political noise and strip away spin from the truth. I hope you will join me at: Just Crow

Posted by: Robert Balliot at August 19, 2009 7:49 AM

or, the email was a fabrication created by ACORN with the intent that it would be passed along by some 'right wing' group?

Posted by: Roland at August 19, 2009 8:34 AM

In the last week or so there were videos showing 2-3 buses hired by ACORN bringing people to a town hall meeting - in PA for a Specter town hall if I recall correctly.

So while this "man the ramparts comrades" email may or may not be legitimate, there is no question that it's plausible.

If it is legit, I suspect that this time the comrades will be instructed not to wear their ACORN shirts, for in the prior video their doing so left no question as to the puppetmaster.

Posted by: Tom W at August 19, 2009 9:13 AM

In addition to the PA event, ACORN also bussed lemmings from Massachusetts to Obama's rally in Portsmouth, NH. The letter may not be authentic (or it may be and its source is dubious), but it is most certainly plausible considering ACORN's well established and renowned tactics.

Posted by: George at August 19, 2009 1:58 PM
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