Topic: Media Research Center
In an Oct. 3 appearance on Fox News' Fox & Friends -- which followed the template by not appearing solo and not identifying him as a conservative -- MRC director of communications Seton Motley made numerous claims about Barack Obama's relationship to the group ACORN:
MOTLEY: Barack Obama has three stages of connection with [ACORN], and this probably why the media doesn't want to talk about it. He was a lawyer for the organization. He then served his years as a trainer of activists for the organization. And when he was named chairman of the board by terrorist William Ayers to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, they funneled money to, amongst many other places, ACORN. So there's three stages of relationship with them.
As the Huffington Post's Seth Colter Walls details, the Republican National Committee later emailed out the segment to its list of reporters. But as Walls also points out, Motley got his facts wrong. According to the Obama campaign, Obama was never a lawyer for ACORN, though he did represent a coalition of groups that included ACORN in one case, nor did he ever serve as an ACORN organizer or trainer.
Seton Motley, reached at his Media Research Center office Friday afternoon, abruptly refused to engage in depth with the Obama camp's response to his Fox & Friends segment (after first saying "I'm all ears").
Asked whether he would similarly condemn the Justice Department for joining ACORN in the suit against Illinois, he said, "well, yes I would, but that's not the issue." Before the Obama spokesman's other charges could be detailed, Motley put the brakes on the conversation. "The name of our group is Media Research Center," he said, noting that the only purpose of his effort on Fox was to draw attention to a lack of stories on the matter. "I'm not going to be able to respond to challenges from the Obama campaign."
Instead, Motley recommended that any interested person check out Stanley Kurtz's long article from May in the National Review -- headlined "Inside Obama's Acorn."
But while Kurtz's piece is stuffed with innuendo and plausible-sounding arguments that ACORN and Obama share some broad political objectives, it notably does not prove that Obama ever worked for the group, helped them organize, knew about any instances of voter fraud, or condoned their controversial demonstration tactics.
In fact, the article sometimes suggests the opposite. "Does that mean Obama himself schooled Acorn volunteers in disruptive 'direct action?' Not necessarily," Kurtz judges. Pretty spicy stuff. Elsewhere, when trying to compare Obama's community organizing work to that of ACORN, Kurtz can only manage a weak equivalence: "Part of Obama's work, it would appear, was to organize demonstrations, much in the mold of radical groups like Acorn."
Huh? Why does Motley refuse to accept responsibility for his own words? How does being the Media Research Center preclude Motley from offering evidence to back up his claims or apologizing for getting them wrong, simply because the Obama campaign is trying to correct him? Is he taking refuge in some arcane regulation purportedly governing what nonprofit entitites like the MRC do? (The MRC is a 501(c)3 "non profit research and education foundation.")
If Motley would like to instruct us on the finer points of nonprofit regulations, be our guest. Until he can plausibly explain himself, we will consider him to be a gutless coward. Doesn't being the MRC's director of communications require that one, you know, communicate?