There’s a journalistic problem for the AJC here, of course. At a sensitive time when demagogues are stirring up ridiculous fears about the Census, the AJC is printing evidence-free rantings from a demagogue stirring up more ridiculous fears about the Census. That matters. It’s giving the mainstream, responsible press’s imprimatur to the paranoia of the Internets, which is perfectly captured by a comment on Barr’s post:

If they have the balls & spine to enter my house where my 120-lb police-trained German Shepherd lives – then enter at your own risk. We are locked and loaded for these ACORN thugs! There are over a dozen reports around the US of the Census hiring pedophiles, convicted rapists, and illegals who are forcing their way into homes and raping women in the home. The 2nd Amendment applies before the 4th — if you enter my home, without my permission – good luck! I would especially love it if you do work for ACORN, SEIU, the black panthers, or the other thug groups OPovertyPimpDaddy pays!

You’re entitled to your opinions. You’re not entitled to your own facts. And it’s not okay to willfully misread a law, back it up with no evidence, and scare the living daylights out of your readers.

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.