The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) may have disbanded in November 2010, but Keith Hansen, Vice President of Audience Development at the Brainerd Dispatch, is so afraid it's going to sign people up for Obamacare.
Hansen also appeared to have lifted much of his source material in the column, including some exact passages, without attributing the July 22, 2013 John Fund post at the National Review Online from which they are drawn.
Hansen has written that his job is to keep the public informed in "an ever-shrinking world":
My position at the Dispatch is to raise an awareness of issues that are impacting our area on a city, county, state, national and international level. In an ever-shrinking world, our readers must be aware of news down the street and around the world to be informed citizens.
Here's the lede for Keith Hansen's column July 25, 2013 column, Community orgnizers [sic] will be the tip of the spear for ACA:
ACORN and other community organizing groups will be in charge of signing folks up for the Affordable Care Act. That’s right, community organizing groups.
What’s wrong with that idea?
“Giving community organizers access to the Federal Data Hub is bad policy and potentially a danger to civil liberties,” House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan told me recently. “But it’s one of the most underreported stories I’ve seen. If people only knew about this Data Hub program, it would touch off a huge public outcry.” . . .
Oddly, Paul Ryan doesn't seem to have said that to Keith Hansen, but rather to John Fund at the National Review. In Obamacare’s Branch of the NSA, Fund wrote:
“Giving community organizers access to the Federal Data Hub is bad policy and potentially a danger to civil liberties,” House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan told me recently. “But it’s one of the most underreported stories I’ve seen. If people only knew about this Data Hub program, it would touch off a huge public outcry.”
Hansen--who has in the past owned "11 newspapers and a handful of newspapers" and thus should know better--doesn't attribute the source.
Other passages--quoting sources that Fund used--are copied in the Hansen article. Hansen does attribute one quoted paragraph to the National Review, although he doesn't mention Fund or the title of the particular post and the pararaph before the quote closely resembles Fund's text. Hansen writes:
Navigators, as they will be called, will have access to sensitive data. For example, Social Security numbers, tax returns and other documents will be viewed by these community organizers. The big deal comes into play when one realizes that there will be no criminal background check required of these navigators. That’s correct, no background checks.
“Both U.S. Census Bureau and IRS employees must meet those minimum standards, if only because no one wants someone who has been convicted of identity theft getting near Americans’ personal records. But HHS is unconcerned,” National Review Online stated.
Compare that to Fund's text:
. . .navigators will have access to sensitive data such as Social Security numbers and tax returns, there will be no criminal background checks required for them. Indeed, they won’t even have to have high-school diplomas. Both U.S. Census Bureau and IRS employees must meet those minimum standards, if only because no one wants someone who has been convicted of identity theft getting near Americans’ personal records.
Given how much of Hansen's material is lifted from the Fund post, the Vice President of Audience Development at the Brainerd Dispatch shouldn't be worried about ACORN. He should worry about basic standards of attributing source material in the digital world into which Morris Media hired him.
Bonus: Hansen isn't alone in raising the bugaboo of ACORN. In June, Huffington Post's Zach Carter reported that House Republicans To Defund ACORN Again, Even Though It Still Does Not Exist.
Images: Screen shot of the beginning of Hansen's column (above); Keith Hansen, out standing in his field, via the Brainerd Dispatch.
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