Times metro-beat reporter Fernanda Santos seems to truly believe that the left-wing housing activist group ACORN is some bottom-up citizensgroup conducting a new civil rights "resistance movement" against unfair foreclosures. That's judging by her credulous story, "A Bid to Link Arms Against Eviction - Grass-Roots Effort Takes Shape To Support Families Facing Foreclosure."
There's nothing in Santos's story Wednesday about the fact that the leader of this alleged "grass-roots effort," ACORN, receives funding from the federal government through various federal programs and third-party groups, or that it registered thousands and thousands of ineligible voters during the last presidential campaign. Instead, readers were treated to 1,260 words of "power to the people" sloganeering straight from ACORN without a single dissenting voice.
As resistance to foreclosure evictions grows among homeowners, community leaders and some law enforcement officials, a broad civil disobedience campaign is starting in New York and other cities to support families who refuse orders to vacate their homes.
The community organizing group Acorn unveiled the campaign with a spirited rally on Friday at a Brooklyn church and will roll it out in at least 22 other cities in the coming weeks. Through phone trees, Web pages and text-messaging networks, the effort will connect families facing eviction with volunteers who will stand at their side as officers arrive, even if it means risking arrest.
"You want to haul us out to jail? Fine. Let the world see how government has been ineffective," Bertha Lewis, Acorn's chief organizer, said in an interview. "Politicians have helped banks, but they haven't helped families in the way that it's needed, and these families are now saying, enough is enough."
At the onset of the foreclosure crisis, the problem was regarded by some as one of a homeowner's own making, the result of irresponsible decisions made by families who chose to live beyond their means. But as foreclosures spread across the country, devastating even solidly middle-class communities, the blame has slowly shifted to the financial companies that made questionable loans and have received billions of dollars in federal aid to stave off collapse.
In recent months, a budding resistance movement has grown among Americans who believe they have been left to face their predicament on their own - and the Acorn campaign is an organized expression of that frustration, Ms. Lewis said. Instead of quietly packing up and turning their homes over to banks, homeowners are now fighting back.
When not talking transcription from left-wing ACORN leader Bertha Lewis, reporter Santos fleshed out the bit players with heroic details:
Sheriffs in some places have also taken a stand. In Wayne County in Michigan, Sheriff Warren C. Evans, suspended all evictions starting Feb. 2 until the federal government implements a plan to help homeowners facing foreclosures.
Resistance actions are scheduled for Thursday in cities including New York, Oakland and Houston. Organizers will try to recruit enough volunteers to form a human wall on the sidewalk to avoid being arrested for trespassing. But occupying a house or having people attach themselves to a home could also be a tactic.
Only a single brief paragraph penetrated the '60s "power to the people" haze:
The campaign has earned praise and raised concern. Sheriff Dart, in Illinois, said it was a "slippery slope when you have individuals deciding whether they can lawfully remain in their homes."
Sheriff Jones, in Ohio, equated the planned resistance to "chaining yourself to a tree that's about to be cut down" and said that though he may not agree with it, he sympathizes.
In Washington, Acorn has found a staunch supporter in Representative Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, who, during a discussion last month about the $700 billion bailout package for financial companies, took to the floor of the House and instructed people to "stay in your homes - if the American people, anybody out there, is being foreclosed, don't leave."
In an interview, Ms. Kaptur said, "I'm thrilled that the American people are rising up and exercising the power that Wall Street has taken away from them."
You can read a less sunny view of the "civil disobedience" group (never labeled liberal in Santos's story) in Michelle Malkin's latest column:
ACORN's foot soldiers, funded with your tax dollars, will scream, pound their fists, chain themselves to buildings, padlock the doors, and engage in illegal behavior until they get what they want. It's a recipe for anarchy....ACORN offices, funded with your tax dollars, are training teams of these "Home Savers" - described as "people ready and willing to mobilize on short notice to defend the homesteaders against attempts to evict them." Ready, willing, and able to mobilize on short notice because they are either unemployed or employed full-time as ACORN shakedown artists.