Ed Driscoll

"Call Fox"

James Taranto asks, “How come Glenn Beck and Andrew Breitbart keep scooping the New York Times?”

It was a busy week for Beck and Breitbart. On Friday they claimed another victory when, as FoxNews.com reported, the National Endowment for the Arts announced that it was “reassigning” Yosi Sergant, its communications director. On his Sept. 1 program, Beck had aired portions of a tape from an August conference call with artists, in which Sergant exhorted them to push the administration’s agenda. The call was first reported on Big Hollywood, another Breitbart site, by a participant, Patrick Courrielche, who provided Beck the tape on which Sergant said this:

I would encourage you to pick something, whether it’s health care, education, the environment. There’s four key areas that the corporation has identified as the areas of service. Then my task would be to apply your artistic, creativity community’s utilities and bring them to the table.

Sergant also told the artists: “We are just now learning how to really bring this community together to speak with the government, what that looks like legally. . . . We are participating in history as it’s being made. So bear with us as we learn the language so that we can speak to each other safely and we can really work together [to] move the needle and to get stuff done.”

Here is a reprint in full of the Times’s coverage of the Sergant story: .

It’s difficult to imagine that a Republican administration could employ an exponent of a crackpot conspiracy theory, “partner” with an apparently corrupt organization, or attempt to politicize an agency like the NEA without the mainstream media treating it as a major scandal. But with Obama in the White House? A quote attributed to the fired Washington Acorn employees sums things up nicely. The AP reported that they had advised Giles and O’Keefe that they “must be low-key about the business, or people could ‘call Fox’ “–not the New York Times, or CBS or NBC, or “the media,” but Fox.

To be sure, Glenn Beck and Andrew Breitbart are advocacy journalists with distinct points of view. But the supposedly impartial mainstream media also claim to have an “adversary” relationship with the government. That they have left this field to a few upstarts suggests that they have a point of view, too–one that is, in the age of Obama, far more compliant than adversarial.

Incidentally, Taranto’s story was written before this news broke:  “Senate votes to cut off federal funding for ACORN” — amendment passes 83 to 7.

Related: Jonah Goldberg adds, I … Love ….It!

I just think it’s beyond hilarious that Acorn gets their dream president, the guy who swears they’ll have a seat at the table, and largely because of the heightened profile the shady group got as a result of Obama’s election, the super-majority Democratic Senate just voted overwhelmingly to deny them governmengt money. Maybe Pelosi will ensure this is just for show by killing the move in the House. But still, what an awful week for Acorn and what a great week for cosmic comeuppance.

Meanwhile, this ties in perfectly with Taranto’s story above:

“We’re disappointed that the Senate took the rare and politically convenient step of supporting eliminating some federal funding for a single organization, one that has been the target of an historical political assault stemming variously from the Bush White House, Fox News, and other conservative quarters,” said Bertha Lewis, CEO of ACORN, in a statement after the Senate vote. “Fortunately, ACORN derives most of its income from its members and other supporters, so the decision will have little impact on overall operations. Tonight’s vote will burden the families who benefited from ACORN’s important work to improve housing conditions in the United States.”

Of course it will.

Update: John Hinderaker of Power Line writes that the bitterness by the Associate Press at having to report this story is palpable:

The AP’s linked account of the Senate vote is grudging:

The action came as the group is suffering from bad publicity after a duo of conservative activists posing as a prostitute and her pimp released hidden-camera videos in which ACORN employees in Baltimore gave advice on house-buying and how to account on tax forms for the woman’s income. Two other videos, aired frequently on media outlets such as the Fox News Channel, depict similar situations in ACORN offices in Brooklyn and Washington, D.C.

Note the distinction the AP implicitly draws between “bad publicity” and news. The AP didn’t cover the ACORN scandal; that was done by “media outlets such as the Fox News Channel.” The AP makes no apology for failing to cover a story that resulted in an 83-7 vote in the Senate.

In contrast, Jimmie Bise of the Sundries Shack reports, “I am experiencing a case of schadenfreude so large tonight that it may well show up on satellite photos.” Don’t worry — AP will keep that under their hats as well.