Columnist and Sanders supporter Harold Meyerson offers some historic warnings for other Sanders supporters; Also: More bad polls for Clinton; More bad 'track conditions' for Dems; Planet's climate crisis worsens...
Sorry this took a few days to get posted. Have been busy. As noted last week, on Saturday I made my third appearance in as many years at the annual "L.A. Media Reform Summit" sponsored by CA Common Cause. It was again held at Occidental College, and I was honored to serve as their keynote speaker for the first time this year.
Below is the video of my full speech, in which I discussed the serious crisis we now face as our corporate mainstream media hit full fail mode. That point, as I argued, is exemplified by 1) the massive failures of the old "dead tree" media to meet their constitutional responsibilities to help protect the public from bad guys (as illustrated by the NYTime's months of damaging and flagrant misreporting on the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, as we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG for months), and 2) the full, rightwing take-over of nearly every inch of the public's broadcast spectrum by a handful of corporations that do not meet their FCC license obligations to manage those airwaves in the public's interest (as we've been covering at The BRAD BLOG and elsewhere for years).
I also discussed your responsibility in doing something about both of those serious problems!
The video is posted below the fold, since it's about 40 minutes in all, and might otherwise get interupted by the main page's auto-refresh routines. Enjoy. And get to work!...
"The Times was wrong…and I have been wrong in defending the paper's phrasing."
Even as the New York Times once again misreported the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax on its pages in a report on the community organization's possible declaration of bankruptcy in Saturday's paper, their Public Editor (ombudsman) Clark Hoyt finally admits in his column tonight, for tomorrow's paper, that both he and the paper were "wrong" in their reports about rightwing dirty trickster James O'Keefe's "pimp" costume, adding that "editors say they are considering a correction."
Considering?! What exactly would be the hold up?
The paper and Hoyt, as The BRAD BLOG has been detailing for nearly two months now, were out and out wrong in their reports about O'Keefe, and what his highly-edited, heavily-overdubbed, secretly-taped videos misleadingly suggested to show, and in their failure to report exculpatory information, such as the refusal to release the unedited raw videos made by the rightwing propagandists, as well as the results of an investigation by MA's former Attorney General [PDF] finding no "pattern of illegal conduct" by ACORN employees as seen in the videos as published by the rightwing media mogul and fabulist Andrew Breitbart.
More than a month and a half after the paper's Senior Editor for Standards, Greg Brock, first attempted to defend the "paper of record's" reporting by pointing to Fox "News" and the accused felon O'Keefe himself in support of their inaccurate reports, as we exclusively detailed here, and more than a month and a half after Hoyt himself offered similar excuses and was shown that he was absolutely wrong, as we exclusively detailed here, the Public Editor offers his extremely reluctant mea culpa tonight in "The Acorn Sting Revisited" [emphasis added]:
Here is what I found: O'Keefe almost certainly did not go into the Acorn offices in the outlandish costume - fur coat, goggle-like sunglasses, walking stick and broad-brimmed hat - in which he appeared at the beginning and end of most of his videos. It is easy to see why The Times and other news organizations got a different impression. At one point, as the videos were being released, O'Keefe wore the get-up on Fox News, and a host said he was "dressed exactly in the same outfit he wore to these Acorn offices." He did not argue.
The Times was wrong on this point, and I have been wrong in defending the paper's phrasing. Editors say they are considering a correction.
Hoyt also conceded in his long-overdue admission that the paper erred in failing to ever mention (until a story in today's paper finally!) the independent findings of former MA Attorney General Scott Harshbarger which were released on December 7th of last year....
Much more soon on Rightwing propagandist Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keefe's quickly unraveling ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, just how much of a hoax it really was, how the media and Democrats shamefully failed their due diligence in reporting and/or acting on it, and coverage of a lot of new commentary on it all that has been coming in rapidly from the Left, Right, and Other over the last week or so.
Until then --- and as we still wait for Breitbart and O'Keefe to release the unedited versions of the videos which they've charged for six months demonstrate serious crimes they apparently don't want to show us, and while we continue to wait for the embarrassingly discredited hard rightwing L.A. County District Attorney Patrick Frey, who blogs pseudonymously as "Patterico" both at his own site and in comments at The BRAD BLOG and at Breitbart's websites, to explain how it is that as a Deputy D.A. he's authenticated the "unedited audio" that he claims proves some form of criminality by ACORN that neither the Brooklyn D.A. nor the former MA Attorney General [PDF] nor the Congressional Research Service have been able to find --- here is a short, instructive video worth a quick look.
It's from 2007 and demonstrates just how simple it is to edit raw video in order to show something other than what actually occurred...
Given her own history of documented voter fraud felonies, you'd think Ann Coulter would want to stay away from the whole ACORN issue (particularly since there is no evidence that, unlike her, they've ever committed any).
So what did Coulter do to shore up the wingnut hoax that is falling apart faster than Andrew Breitbart himself? She quoted some "seemingly crime-encouraging answers" from the video, "out of context so as to appear more sinister," naturally. And, even more naturally, those folks who have been played and conned by "Andrew Breitbart Presents...Big Journalism" and "Andrew Breitbart Presents...Big Government," etc., ate it all up...
Kings County, New York District Attorney Joe Hynes put out a statement just now:
On Sept. 15, 2009, my office began an investigation into possible criminality on the part of three ACORN employees. The three had been secretly videotaped by two people posing as a pimp and prostitute, who came to ACORN’S Brooklyn office, seeking advice about how to purchase a house with money generated by their ‘business.’ The ‘couple’ later made the recording public. That investigation is now concluded and no criminality has been found.
Brooklyn prosecutors on Monday cleared ACORN of criminal wrongdoing after a four-month probe that began when undercover conservative activists filmed workers giving what appeared to be illegal advice on how to hide money.
While the video by James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles seemed to show three ACORN workers advising a prostitute how to hide ill-gotten gains, the unedited version was not as clear, according to a law enforcement source.
"They edited the tape to meet their agenda," said the source.
UPDATE 3:24PM ACORN issues a statement following the announcement from the King County, D.A. noting what The BRAD BLOG has been reporting for years:
O'Keefe and the Fox attack machine targeted ACORN because of our successful work to empower hundreds of thousands of low and moderate families as voters and active citizens.
Observers who looked closely at the filmmakers' own transcripts have already noted that O'Keefe presented low level employees with a bogus scenario in which he presented himself as a boyfriend trying to rescue a prostitute from a violent pimp. Although no employees took any actual action to file papers for loans or taxes, ACORN already conducted its own review in order to move forward serving our communities.
Hopefully today's announcement, and similar results from independent reviews, will make politicians and media examine the facts more carefully the next time a valuable community organization is attacked.
I recently attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in D.C., with video camera in hand, to report on the attendees. I was particularly interested in interviewing James O'Keefe, the miscreant (and accused felon) responsible for the ACORN video media hoax that The BRAD BLOG has been meticulously detailing for several weeks, including the important focus on how the mainstream corporate media (the old-media) have been had by the scam.
O'Keefe's phony "pimp" story has been debunked, but, as Brad Friedman has shown, the old-media remain remarkably reticent to admit their errors, and the publisher of the videos, O'Keefe's employer and promoter Andrew Breitbart, has been unwilling to help them off the hook. Witness the outrageous email responses from the NYTimes' Senior Editor for Standards Greg Brock and then from their Public Editor Clark Hoyt, when it was shown to them that "the paper of record" had been had --- that O'Keefe had never "visited Acorn offices...dressed so outlandishly" in the now-infamous "pimp" costume as the paper had reported, as O'Keefe had represented, and as Breitbart himself had claimed in his own column, to the public.
While I didn't get the chance to speak with O'Keefe, I did catch up with his partner in fraud, Hannah Giles. Alas, she was surrounded by a protective coterie and fled without answering any questions when one of her entourage recognized me.
But then my luck turned. I trekked to the basement to cover the "XPAC" party and found myself standing shoulder to shoulder with Breitbart, O'Keefe's promoter, publisher, and employer, and owner of the website which launched the infamously damaging, misleading, deceptive, and highly doctored video tapes. I had previously questioned Breitbart at a press conference at the National Press Club press last October. He's had a pretty easy ride of it since then, facing questioning only from a largely adulatory press.
Though old-media, as Brad has shown, have been remarkably reluctant to demand answers to hard questions from Breitbart --- or any of the players involved in the ACORN secret video scheme --- I felt it important to do so for a number of reasons. The results were revealing, both in Breitbart's insanely manic demeanor, and in the substantive content of his answers to my questions.
Ultimately, as I believe you'll find in the video, he reveals a lot about his own editorial judgment, professionalism, and reliability --- none of it is good...
* * *
The Breitbart/O'Keefe media fraud has been wildly successful for the pair, helping to launch Breitbart's BigGovernment.com site late last year. But, unfortunately, it's hurt a great number of innocents.
Lost in the outrage against the New York Times for having fallen for the scam without bothering to fact-check, as The BRAD BLOG has been detailing for the past several weeks, is the fact that Breitbart and his ward O'Keefe have accomplished a despicable goal: They've all but destroyed an organization committed to helping those Americans most in need. Real people --- thousands of children amongst them --- will suffer hardship as a direct consequence of Breitbart's and O'Keefe's mendacious and malicious hoax, and singularly partisan political agenda. When will the media get around to telling that story?
And what of the damage that disreputable propagandists like Breitbart and O'Keefe bring to the real citizen journalists in the new media --- those of us striving not to sell a political agenda under false pretenses, but, rather, hoping to document facts, truth, and on-the-record positions of those who would corrupt our system through disingenuousness, self-enrichment, and lies?...
Following the recent federal felony arrest of his Rightwing dirty trickster employee, Rightwing propagandist and flim-flam artist Andrew Breitbart has had difficulty keeping his story straight. In two recent radio interviews, Breitbart offered two directly contradictory descriptions of his business relationship with the 25-year-old accused felon who remains on payroll while facing federal charges.
During a recent live appearance on the Internet radio show African-American Conservatives (AACONS), Breitbart was asked about his ongoing relationship with James O'Keefe. O'Keefe was recently arrested in Louisiana, along with three others (one the son of the acting U.S. Attorney), for allegedly heading up a scheme to "maliciously interfere" with the telephone system of Democratic U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu.
He's "technically not salaried," Breitbart told AACONS host Marie Stroughter during the interview last week, in reply to her question about O'Keefe.
Breitbart's answer, however, was in direct contradiction to an an admission he offered on-air on the nationally syndicated radio program of fellow Rightwing propagandist Hugh Hewitt just weeks ago, on January 26th, on the night of O'Keefe's arrest.
In response to Hewitt's query about whether O'Keefe was "in your employ in any way," Breitbart admitted that O'Keefe was "paid a fair salary" for content published on Breitbart's various websites.
So, according to Breitbart, his accused felon employee O'Keefe is both "technically not salaried" and "paid a fair salary" at the same time. A neat trick.
So, was he lying to Hewitt on January 26th? Or to Stroughter on February 9th?
Or, perhaps there's a third way for Breitbart to try and thread his impossible needle in his continuing successful series of hoaxes on both the American public and the mainstream corporate media. He could pull out a tortured, Clintonian reliance on what the meaning of the word "salary" is...
Some folks have been ringing in on my exclusive yesterday on the embarrassing emails from Greg Brock, the NYTimes' Senior Editor of Standards, explaining why the once-great "paper of record" stands behind its gross misreporting on rightwing operative and accused federal felon, James O'Keefe as having "posed" as a pimp inside ACORN offices when he secretly made his highly-edited and apparently illegally-recorded hit videos --- since all public evidence shows that he was never dressed as a pimp in those offices!
I expect to have an official statement from ACORN soon on the Times' disastrous reporting of this key and oft-repeated element of O'Keefe's scam, as well as on Brock's extraordinary excuses for it (quickly summarized below).
For those who didn't get the time to read yesterday's lengthy, detailed story, which includes the amazing, complete email thread with the Times' veteran Senior Editor of Standards(!) who, in 2007, after working for the paper since 1995, identified himself as the "senior editor who oversees corrections," here's my best attempt at the very quickest of summaries of those remarkable emails...
"There is nothing for us to correct ... We stand by our reporting." That was the innocuous enough position from Greg Brock, New York Times "Senior Editor/Standards," in reply to a Letter to the Editor sent to the Times by a reader of The BRAD BLOG requesting a correction to recent reportage from the "paper of record" concerning rightwing activist James O'Keefe, on the heels of his federal felony arrest late last month. O'Keefe was arrested in New Orleans as an alleged ringleader in a conspiracy with three others, attempting to gain access, for reasons still unknown, to the phone system of Louisiana's Democratic U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu.
Incredibly, Brock originally cited claims by Fox News and O'Keefe himself as sources for why the New York Times stood by their apparently unverified and apparently incorrect report. "We believe him," Brock wrote, because he said as much on Fox News, apparently.
But the matter went from the absurd to the ridiculous in fairly short order, as Brock then seemed to contradict himself by claiming their source wasn't actually Fox or O'Keefe, but that the Times stood by their reporting because of a mysterious, unpublished video said to back up the claim, along with testimony from ACORN employees.
Though both the video and statements from ACORN employees were cited as evidence their story was right, Brock would refuse to share evidence for either of the claims. That, even after an independent report from the former Attorney General of Massachusetts --- released in early December, but never mentioned in the Times' recent report (or any report at the paper to my knowledge) --- directly contradicts their reportage....
My latest special to the Right-leaning Gouverneur Times of Upstate NY details multiple "urgent" warnings that state and federal officials received over the last year from multiple election advocacy groups concerning the dangers and pitfalls of the state's e-voting pilot program which came crashing down on voters during the recent NY-23 Special Election for the U.S. House.
They were warned, over and over and over again, about the dangers of using uncertified e-voting systems in real live elections, yet, despite the concerns expressed by experts about using real voters "as guinea pigs," it appears officials took no action in response.
I've covered the problems and failures in NY-23's recent Special Election for U.S. House in a number of previous articles here at The BRAD BLOG, detailing some of the early problems with results as they emerged, pointing out that, thanks to Republican precedent in 2006, it now no longer really matters whom the actual voters may have voted for, but arguing that a full manual hand-count of paper ballots would be appropriate nonetheless.
Over the holiday weekend, the good Richard Hayes Phillips --- author of the book Witness to a Crime, in which he painstakingly detailed, ballot by ballot, the scandal which was the Ohio 2004 Presidential Election --- reported on some curious numbers he's now found in that election, over at the right-leaning Gouverneur Times. As luck would have it, Richard is a resident of NY-23 himself, and seems to be finding that both "impossible" and then many more "improbable" tallies were certified, as NY tested its Seqouia/Dominion e-voting systems on live voters, in a real, live election, for the first time earlier this month.
Both of his pieces are worth a quick read over there.
And now, the Gouverneur Times has asked me to put together a bit of a "backgrounder" for them on all of these e-voting nightmares, and how they pertain to NY-23, since it seems that right-wingers, for some odd reason, are somewhat lacking (up until now anyway) in real information on just how dangerously insane our privatized system of e-voting in public elections has become. Too much time spent being fooled by ACORN-conspiracists like Andrew Breitbart and Fox "News," I guess.
John Conklin, the Director of Public Information for New York State's Board of Elections has now issued a statement in response to the Gouverneur Times' article by Nathan Barker last week, alleging a "VIRUS in the VOTING MACHINES" [caps in original headline] which, the paper says, "tainted the results" of the recent Special Election for the U.S. House in NY's 23rd Congressional district.
We responded to Barker's detailed article ourselves over the weekend at some length, noting both the accurate and inaccurate information and assertions included in the online publication's coverage.
Conklin's response has drawn two responses in turn from the Gouverneur Times, as the right-leaning publication appears to have joined in the fight for election integrity, at least on behalf of their favored Conservative Party candidate whose apparent election loss has indeed been "tainted" by the very same concerns about which The BRAD BLOG has been warning for years. We're happy to see their new-found concerns, even as Republican partisans in political alignment with the Times have been ignoring and/or disparaging similar reports for years following elections in which Democrats have been the apparent victims of similarly failed voting systems...
On Thursday, Nathan Barker of upstate New York's Gouverneur Times --- a far-Right online publication (featuring columns by the likes of Michelle Malkin, Oliver North, Chuck Norris, and all the rest of the wingnutters) --- filed a lengthy, and somewhat breathless, report alleging a computer virus had infected several of the new e-voting systems in first-time use during the November 7th Special Election in NY's 23rd Congressional district between Democratic candidate Bill Owens, Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, and Republican Dede Scozzafava (who dropped out of the race just prior to Election Day and threw her support to the Democrat).
Barker charged that a "VIRUS in the VOTING MACHINES" [his caps] resulted in "tainted results," "casting doubt on the accuracy of counts retrieved from any of the machines" used in the election.
Owens was reported to have won the election by a small margin on Election Night --- made smaller as errors were discovered during the post-election canvass --- before being hastily sworn in to the U.S. House just a few days later, in time to provide a crucial Democratic vote in favor of the health care insurance reform bill.
Barker's detailed report clearly offers a hard-right undertone, obviously in support of the Conservative Party candidate Hoffman. The article also advances several unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and features a number of out-and-out inaccuracies as well. A number of the piece's key allegations, though important, are also disputed by election officials, and at least one lead member of New York's election integrity community --- which is, itself, split between supporters of the new optical-scan e-voting systems and those calling for the retention of the Empire State's long-used mechanical lever voting machines.
Nonetheless, Barker raises a number of significant points and important concerns, about which The BRAD BLOG has been warning for years, often in the face of derision, notably from the same Rightwing circles crying foul now, who had previously dismissed such concerns as those of 'tin-foil hat wearing, sore losers and conspiracy theorists' despite actual hard evidence and scientifically-sound details proffered about such concerns.
It's somewhat amusing to see some on the Right, now that they have concerns about a close election, suddenly find religion on the very issues they'd derided as nonsense so stridently in the past. It's very tempting to either disregard them now entirely, or torture them mercilessly on that point. But we'll try to take the high road here since their central concerns, now that they've finally arrived and no matter how long overdue, have been ones that we've shared for years, whether or not they might have stood to adversely affect Democrats, Republicans or independents.
The bottom line is that whether a computer virus, malicious or otherwise, affected the results of the NY-23 Special Election or not --- we've seen no actual evidence that it did, and state officials offer a differing explanation for the e-voting system failures that did occur --- it certainly could have. The direct threat to democracy inherent in the concerns expressed by Barker (whether substantiated or not), underscore the foolishness of using such secret vote-counting systems at all. In New York --- where voters, in real elections, are essentially being forced to serve as beta testers of these new, federally-uncertified systems, made by a company with a long track-record of failure, lies, obfuscation, near-bankruptcy, secretive foreign ownership, election disaster after disaster, and dissembling to the media, as well as federal, state and local officials --- the foolishness is all the more apparent, unnecessary, unfortunate and a clear and present threat to democracy itself...
NY-23's failed Conservative Party Congressional candidate, Doug Hoffman, now says he was "forced to concede" (though it's not clear who forced him, and the concession, as BRAD BLOG readers know, has no legal standing in any case, and, as we noted last week, neither do the voters of New York for the most part, at this point).
PPP's newest national survey finds that a 52% majority of GOP voters nationally think that ACORN stole the Presidential election for Barack Obama last year, with only 27% granting that he won it legitimately...
But NY-23 and the 2008 Presidential election is not all that ACORN did! You can learn more about their stunning crimes (e.g., "ACORN is behind the Eggo Waffle shortage!!!") via #AcornFacts, the new topic that's taking Twitter by storm today...
A potentially interesting situation is underway in New York's 23rd Congressional district where post-election canvassing of the recent Special Election for the U.S. House is still underway.
According to Syracuse's Post-Standard, the post-election canvass shows the race between Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, who conceded on Election Night, and Democratic candidate Bill Owens, who was sworn in as the district's new U.S. Congressman last Friday, to be tightening as results are double-checked, errors are being found, and a few thousand absentee ballots are still uncounted.
The race, regarded by many as a a bellwether contest before next year's full Congressional elections, appeared to have swung in the Democrat's favor on Election Night, following the suspension of the campaign of Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava who threw her support to Owens after she'd dropped out just days prior to the election.
On Election Night, Owens was reported to be the "winner" by just over 5,000 votes, with 93 percent of the votes tallied, leading to Hoffman's concession. Since then, various errors have been discovered in at least two different counties, resulting in a gain of some 2,000 votes for the Conservative Party's Hoffman, bringing the latest tally to 66,698 to 63,672. Closer, now a 3,000 vote margin, but still favoring Rep. Owens.
There were, however, some 10,200 absentee ballots requested and distributed. And, as we understand New York's state election laws, none of them have yet been counted. Many of those ballots were purportedly cast when Scozzafava was still in the race. At that time, according to Hoffman's campaign at least, they might have had an edge in the then-three-way contest. So it's possible, though believed to be a long shot, that Hoffman could gain enough votes in absentees to eclipse Owens.
This scenario --- a Congressional candidate quickly sworn in, based on unofficial results shortly after a bellwether Special Election before all votes have been properly counted --- should be a familiar one to long-time readers of The BRAD BLOG. A very similar situation occurred in the 2006 race to replace the jailed Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in California's 50th Congressional district.
While Republicans who stood in support of the Conservative Party's Hoffman this year --- he was endorsed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin and the Republican Party itself (only after Scozzafava was pressured to drop out) --- are finding some cause for optimism in the still-narrowing margin. Limbaugh certainly has, at least according to his breathless reporting of the goings-on in NY-23 on his show this morning.
But the legal maneuvering and judicial precedent that the then-Republican-led House pulled in the Summer of 2006, in order to keep votes from being counted in the CA-50 Special Election and, indeed, to keep the voters of California from even being able to contest their own election, should ensure that Hoffman can no longer, legally, take possession of the House seat via any challenge in New York --- even if he's eventually found to have received more votes than Owens!...