New Orleans While I was being interviewed by Peter Collins, the former Air America host (www.peterbcollins.com ) for a radio podcast a little after 6 PM, I began getting instant messages that somehow Glenn Beck was airing an “exclusive interview” with me. No way! I had to focus so wasn’t able to click on the links until 630 when the interview on Citizen Wealth ended. It was hard to concentrate!
The first flurry of emails assumed that we had been punked by Fox News documentary folks with whom we had interviewed and that despite their pledge they had shared footage with Beck and his crew. Quickly it became clear that this was shaky, barely focused handheld footage, and the guys on the Fox contract at the Octavia Books signing for Citizen Wealth were total professionals, so there was no way they had sloppy stuff in the can.
Marie Hurt, Louisiana ACORN’s state organizer, quickly nailed the issue. This was bound to be film from the two young white guys who claimed to be visiting New Orleans from Michigan, but were bloggers about healthcare, had seen the Times-Picayune picture of me and the notice of the book signing, so came on by. I forget who brought them up to the signing table, but they asked if they could get some film for their blog and ask me about the need for national healthcare.
The film piece on YouTube of the “interview” ran a couple of minutes, I must be really jaded, because there didn’t seem to be anything there? It shows me signing books while answering a question about whether SEIU is determined to win healthcare reform, and I replied, you bet – DUH!?! The asked whether or not ACORN was committed to healthcare reform, and I said that before I left we were part of HCAN, an important coalition pushing Senator Mary Landrieu and others to do the right thing on health care. I think they then asked a question of Marie Hurt, off camera about whether ACORN is still part of HCAN. You can hear her answer, “yes.” I think say that ACORN is up to its eyeballs or words to that effect in committing to work for healthcare reform. I can’t believe that there is a single one of Beck’s Fox-fanatics who didn’t already know that? So, what, you might wonder?
John Anderson from ACORN Canada was also helpful in tracking down this teapot tempest. He put a link on his “tweet” (http://bit.ly/gWWbM) that took me right to Beck’s REAL interview with a young man named Kyle Olson, who sorta looked like the guy in short pants at Octavia. Olson is a director of this right front website called “acorn cracked.” He had a nice copy of Citizen Wealth on the table in front of him. He mentioned the book several times by name and pointed to it – on behalf of Berrett-Koehler (www.bkconnections.com), I thank you!
I had problem following the trail here, but it seemed to be that on one hand they were trying to link me to Organizing for America, but Olson said he didn’t think ACORN was involved in that. Somehow they pulled the strings together to say if Organizing for America, which is connected to Obama somehow, was also involved with HCAN, and ACORN and SEIU were involved in HCAN, then it was all hell to pay. Like I said I couldn’t follow this part, but it seemed to be a slog to a blind alley going nowhere.
The more frightening thing Olson and Beck seemed to find came from a question Olson or his confederate had asked during the remarks before the book signing, where I talked about my advocacy in the book of a campaign to achieve maximum eligible participation, meaning that everyone eligible for benefits, had a right to those benefits, and should be automatically enrolled, and until that solution was achieved, then there was a role for all of us as citizens, including churches, unions, businesses, and so forth to make sure we made the ways and means for access and enrollment universally available.
Beck was horrified it seemed that I would advocate for Americans to get their rights. Pleeeeassseeee! Get a life! This is America, we have rights and the ability to fight to make sure they we achieve them. My call for a citizens’ “army” to enlist in a new “war” on poverty he tried to claim was horrifying to imagine.
Sorry, Glen, I’ll stand for rights and their enforcement, and you can rant, bully, and intimidate.
And, as for the sneak attack, well that was a bought lesson for me, but I guess that’s the price of admission into the “flesh eating machine” these days. It was a public event. It was an open question period. Stuff happens, so that was a fair play. The lying tale of being bloggers from Michigan was deceitful and these boys certainly embarrassed that great state, but I gather on the conservative right these days, lying comes more naturally to the tongue than the truth, so I’m sure it was second nature to them at this point.