Whether or not you agree or disagree with their tactics, most corporate executives know what is happening to them when Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson show up. But a handful of non-descript little old ladies? They never bat an eyebrow — their hubris does them in.
The second factor is new technology. Forty years ago, no one could untangle the complex web of interlocked corporations that Wade Rathke created in ACORN. No one had the time, knowledge, inclination, or resources to travel across 50 states and check all the secretary of state filings in order to figure out if ACORN had affiliates there or not. Today, you can do it all in one afternoon with Google.
Also, we live in an age of 500 channel telephony. Forty years ago there were three broadcast outlets. So even if you thought you had an ACORN story you probably couldn’t get it aired. Today, we have a media environment that has to fill 500 channels with news and entertainment 24 hours a day. Individual activists armed with a video camera or a cell phone can capture images, post them on the web, and have a very good chance that they could cross over into cable or broadcast television, with devastating impact.
Times have changed — ACORN leadership didn’t. Therein lies the rub. Devastated by a loss of funding and damage to its brand, has the long-rumored dissolution of ACORN finally begun?