Did the Times Spike a Story Showing ACORN-Obama Ties?

A Republican lawyer made that claim at a House hearing, claiming information from an ACORN whistleblower.

Did the Times spike a story linking the left-wing activist group ACORN to the Obama campaign? A Republican lawyer made that claim at a House hearing two weeks ago, claiming information from ACORN whistleblower Anita Moncrief. The Philadelphia Bulletin newspaper reported on Monday:

A lawyer involved with legal action against Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) told a House Judiciary subcommittee on March 19 The New York Times had killed a story in October that would have shown a close link between ACORN, Project Vote and the Obama campaign because it would have been a "a game changer."

Heather Heidelbaugh, who represented the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee in the lawsuit against the group, recounted for the committee what she had been told by a former ACORN worker who had worked in the group's Washington, D.C. office. The former worker, Anita Moncrief, told Ms. Heidelbaugh last October, during the state committee's litigation against ACORN, she had been a "confidential informant for several months to The New York Times reporter, Stephanie Strom."

Ms. Moncrief had been providing Ms. Strom with information about ACORN's election activities. Ms. Strom had written several stories based on information Ms. Moncrief had given her.

During her testimony, Ms. Heidelbaugh said Ms. Moncrief had told her The New York Times articles stopped when she revealed that the Obama presidential campaign had sent its maxed-out donor list to ACORN's Washington, D.C. office.

Heidelbaugh told the panel:

"Upon learning this information and receiving the list of donors from the Obama campaign, Ms. Strom reported to Ms. Moncrief that her editors at The New York Times wanted her to kill the story because, and I quote, "it was a game changer."'

ACORN denied the allegation, while the Times issued to the Bulletin what Hot Air's Ed Morrissey called a "non-response response."

Stephanie Strom was contacted for a comment, and The New York Times' Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications Catherine Mathis replied with an e-mail in her place.

Ms. Mathis wrote, "In response to your questions to our reporter, Stephanie Strom, we do not discuss our newsgathering and won't comment except to say that political considerations played no role in our decisions about how to cover this story or any other story about President Obama."

Blogging at Hot Air, Morrissey saw a clear double standard:

The Times may claim that they didn't have enough corroboration to run the story.That didn't stop them from running a despicable hit piece on John McCain alleging a sexual affair between the Senator and a lobbyist, one which they eventually had to retract after getting sued by Vicki Iseman.They sent reporters to Wasilla to dig up dirt on Sarah Palin, but somehow neglected to cover her exoneration on ethics charges, as The Bulletin notes.

Unlike with the Iseman non-story, in which the Times used two disgruntled and unnamed former aides, The Bulletin has a public witness testifying under oath about the Paper of Record's political machinations.The Times has given a non-response response. I'd call this a clear loss for the Times, and further proof of its descent into political hackery - this time covering up corruption in high political circle

Blogger Ace of Spades is more cautious about the allegations, arguing "liberals never admit stuff like this. They claim 'the story is still being developed,; etc., etc., in perpetuity, or at least until after an election is safely behind them."

What's undeniable is that during the 2008 campaign, the Times in general (not Strom herself) did its best to minimize the potential for vote fraud caused by ACORN's shoddy get-out-the-vote-efforts, and minimized Obama's sleazy fundraising.