ACORN And Burger King And Glenn Beck, Oh My

Glenn Beck’s program on Fox News is a daily cavalcade of crazy and yesterday was no exception. Beck’s guest was Scott Levenson, the national spokesman for ACORN. As ACORN is a perennial target of Fox News paranoiacs like Beck, there was bound to be a major train wreck looming. And Beck didn’t disappoint (video).

The occasion for the visit was a recent report that ACORN employees in Nevada had been charged with violations related to voter registration. This is where panicky right wingers rush to mischaracterize such charges as voter fraud, when in fact, none occurred. So Beck was true to form as he asserted the same old tired lies in his signature juvenile style – substituting funny faces and noises for rational debate.

The real comedy came when Beck attempted to offer an analogy that was ludicrous on its face. Levenson defended ACORN as a victim of employees who failed to comply with the organization’s standards. Beck sought to argue that ACORN was responsible for the misbehavior of their employees and ran a tape of the infamous Burger King bather (who had his buddies shoot a video of him bathing in the restaurant’s sink) to make a point that must have made sense somewhere in his cartoon brain.

Actually, Beck’s point had something to do with ACORN’s management being deficient because fourteen or so ACORN employees, out of some 13,000, were alleged to have submitted fake registration forms. Beck contended that this proves it was not a case of a rogue employee, but an unacceptable pattern of malfeasance. And after telling Levenson to “pipe down” and cutting off his mic, Beck said:

“If you had that many employees at Burger King bathing in the sink, would you ever eat a burger there? Ever? No. This is unreasonable to believe he had that many bad employees.”

Well, I did a quick Google search looking for criminally wayward Burger King employees and found this:

  • Burger King employee arrested in homicide
  • Burger King employee arrested for giving away free meals, stealing
  • Burger King Employee Arrested After Jumping Through Drive-Up Window to Attack a Customer
  • Burger King employee arrested for serving pot
  • Burger King employee arrested for alleged identity theft
  • Ex-Employee, Pal Arrested in Burger King Kidnap Case
  • Burger King employees arrested for faking robbery
  • Coke Being Sold At Burger King
  • Burger King Franchise Pays $400,000 for Alleged Sexual Harassment of teens
  • 27 illegal aliens working at seven Delaware Burger Kings

Granted murder, drugs, robbery, etc., are not exactly in the same league as unlawful bathing, but some people might consider those to be serious offenses too. It should also be noted that the Burger King violators represent only those with the sort of criminal profile likely to be written up in the news. There are surely corporate personnel who have engaged in more mundane activities ranging from pilfering office supplies to extortion or other financial improprieties.

Returning from a commercial, Beck announced that Levenson said that Beck was afraid of black people. So Beck, says he, threw Levenson out of the studio. That’s a bit difficult to believe and, conveniently, there was no video (in a television studio?). But considering the facts enumerated above, Beck may want to reassess the situation. Compared to Burger King, ACORN actually looks pretty good. So I presume that Beck will either apologize to Mr. Levenson or do a show about the BK gang for balance.

There is, however, a much bigger picture within which to view this affair. While Beck and his ilk get so worked up about an organization working to help low income communities – even though the things they allege produce no harm except to ACORN itself – these same guardians of virtue don’t seem to care much about the criminal behavior of defense contractors who have been responsible for outfitting our soldiers with faulty gear, electrocuting them in their showers, and bilking American taxpayers for billions of dollars. In a congressional hearing in 2007 it was reported that…

“…a panel of senior defense acquisition and investigative officials attributed the rampant errors and abuse in contracting — which have resulted in 10 convictions, 78 criminal indictments and audits into $88 billion in questionable contracts — on lack of controls, poor leadership and an undermanned and untrained work force operating in a combat zone.”

That far exceeds anything ACORN has been accused of. And yet, I have not heard Beck take Halliburton to task for a record of gross mismanagement. I haven’t heard him declare that we should never buy anything from KBR again. And we aren’t talking about about a few forms filled out in the name of Mickey Mouse (who has yet to turn up at the polls to vote). These legal breaches cost lives and drain our nation of scarce resources. The perpetrators are generally punished with a severe slap on the wrist and a spanking new contract for more inferior products and services.

While it is unlikely that Beck will turn his attention to these serious matters with such dire consequences, we can at least count on him to spend another few hours railing against ACORN and guys who bathe at Burger King – two stories that have about the same impact on the problems of ordinary Americans.

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1 comment

  1. …Beck is doing more on ACORN today.

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