March 11, 2009

LA TV Station Notes ACORN Presence at School Board Meeting; Other Outlets Ignore

Los Angeles’s NBC television affiliate must not have gotten the memo telling them that they should not utter the name of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), lest anyone reach the “wrong” conclusions.

NBC Los Angeles is the only media outlet I have found thus far to identify ACORN’s presence in a story about a “disruptive display of disobedience” by members the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) at a school board meeting Tuesday (the story credit is to “Associated Press/NBC Los Angeles, but as you will see later, I found no AP story containing an ACORN reference).

Here is the story headline that the Google News crawler apparently originally found:

LAschoolBoardmtgHline0309.jpg

Readers can decide after reading the NBC-LA story (HT Michelle Malkin), and looking at the videos at the link, whether the “mob” headline or the one that currently appears at the site is accurate, but it has to make you wonder what caused it to change:

Chanting Teachers Take Over Building

A school board meeting turned into a display of civil disobedience Tuesday as about 50 educators refused to leave, creating a brief standoff with police, who refused to make any arrests in the presence of media.

The members of ACORN and United Teachers Los Angeles — all wearing bright red shirts — entered the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education meeting on Tuesday afternoon, sat down and began chanting.

Police said the protesters were staging an illegal occupation of a public building. The district said no arrests would occur as long as members of media were in building.

UTLA President A.J. Duffy approached the speakers’ lectern and told the board, “You know why we’re here. You know I’m not leaving this rostrum. You know I’m going to keep talking.”

As he spoke several teachers sat on the floor in front of the board and held up signs saying “Students lose when we lose teachers, No layoffs” as the crowd began chanting.

Board President Monica Garcia repeatedly asked Duffy to sit down, but he kept speaking. The microphone was turned off, but Duffy continued to speak and the chanting continued. Garcia then announced that the “disturbance has interrupted our meeting to the point where the orderly conduct of this meeting is not feasible.”

The board took a short recess, then reconvened in a smaller meeting room, with the proceedings broadcast on television sets in the district’s headquarters. Media and the public were allowed into the room on a rotating basis.

In the station’s defense the captions under two of the videos at the link characterize the protesters as a “mob.” I would suggest, first, that there was a lot more than “chanting” going on, and that ACORN’s presence makes it at least a bit likely that it wasn’t only “teachers” doing the chanting.

As for ACORN’s involvement in the protest, these media outlets didn’t note it in these linked stories:

  • AFP — “Los Angeles considers sacking 9,000 teachers”
  • The Associated Press, as carried at SFgate.com and in a pre-meeting story at Google News
  • The Los Angeles Times — “L.A. Unified board OKs layoff notices to about 9,000 employees”
  • LA Daily News — “L.A. teachers protest, but school board votes to send layoff warnings”

A Google News Search on [ACORN "Los Angeles" "school board"] (typed as indicated between brackets) returns only the NBC-LA story.

This document found at Google (search on ACORN once you get to it) would seem to indicate that ACORN’s support of UTLA goes back at least to 2005. Too bad the media in LA hasn’t bothered to try to determine the strength of those connections for its readers.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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