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?...
The 'rave reviews' just keep pouring in for the massive fails by New York Times Senior Editor for Standards Greg Brock and Public Editor (what they call their ombudsman) Clark Hoyt to recommend corrections for the repeated misreporting of the ACORN video "pimp" hoax.
At least one of them is absolutely devastating in highlighting both the extraordinary hypocrisy and sheer stupidity demonstrated by the "paper of record" in refusing to set the record straight on its incontrovertibly inaccurate coverage of the false "pimp" story peddled by rightwing propagandists last year...
After not hearing from New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt for nearly a week --- during which I'd sent him more and more indisputable evidence that Andrew Breitbart employee James O'Keefe never played his infamous "pimp" character in the offices of ACORN --- he responded with a couple of blistering charges. The email was sent several hours after we'd published our article yesterday, detailing his various untenable justifications for not recommending retractions by the "paper of record" for multiple undeniably fallacious articles on O'Keefe and Breitbart's discredited hoax ACORN "pimp" videos.
Hoyt equated our use of offering independently verifiable and incontrovertible hard evidence, demonstrating the Times, their Senior Editor for Standards Greg Brock, and Hoyt himself were simply wrong, time and again, in falling for the rightwing hoax, and my attempt at seeing accountability for it, with a "political agenda" on par with the Rightwing propagandists who ran the dishonest partisan smear campaign to destroy ACORN.
The fall-out in the blogosphere has been quickly broadening since The BRAD BLOG's exclusive yesterday. Responses from a number of influential blogs and bloggers include a call for Hoyt to step down as the paper's ombudsman, a blistering description of this particular rationalization of his [emphasis Hoyt's]...
The story says O’Keefe dressed up as a pimp and trained his hidden camera on Acorn counselors. It does not say he did those two things at the same time
...as "unforgivable," and the charge that "the paper allowed its desire to seem 'fair' to the right trump its commitment to being fair to the facts." Also, an online petition calling for NYTimes retractions was just launched. (More details and fall-out below.)
Hoyt wrote back in response to the "Last Chance" note I'd sent him on Monday, offering a final opportunity to re-consider his previous assessments, in which he'd found that no correction was in order for the paper, "because that would require conclusive evidence that The Times was wrong, which I haven't seen"...
The New York Times' independent Public Editor, Clark Hoyt, after sending me an email originally standing by the paper's misreporting of the James O'Keefe ACORN 'pimp' story, now describes the rightwing activist's misrepresentation of his highly-edited and heavily-overdubbed hit videos as "journalistically unethical."
O'Keefe's deceptive editing of those infamous tapes implied that he had presented himself in ACORN offices as a 70's-era blaxploitation "pimp." It was the eye-popping, media-friendly, marquee headline that news outlets, including the Times, latched onto and ate up. Except that it never happened. The tapes were purposely manipulated in order to give the appearance that ACORN workers were so dumb they didn't even recognize that skinny little white kid as a phony pimp. And that's exactly how O'Keefe, and his employer Andrew Breitbart who published the misleading tapes on his websites, wanted them to be perceived.
We've spent the last several weeks here reporting and demonstrating how the O'Keefe/Breitbart ACORN video hoax was exactly that --- a political partisan scam that was publicized uncritically by the New York Times, and dozens of otherwise reputable outlets.
Despite the Times' repeatedly misreporting that O'Keefe was dressed or posed as a "pimp" while meeting with ACORN employees in those videos, and even after being shown in no uncertain terms that he did not, the Times' Public Editor has declined to recommend the paper retract its reporting on this story. The coverage at the "paper of record" undoubtedly helped lead to Congressional passage of federal legislation attempting to defund the community organization, and helped to bring on a subsequently crippling decline in other funding sources for the non-profit group which serves to provide support for low- and middle-income American families.
At the end of the remarkable email exchange between Hoyt and myself (published in full at the end of this article), he says he recommended only that "Times editors ...avoid language that says or suggests that O'Keefe was dressed as a pimp when he captured the ACORN employees on camera."
Hannah Giles played the "prostitute" in the highly-edited, heavily-overdubbed, secretly-taped ACORN sting videos, while James O'Keefe played her college student, aspiring politician boyfriend trying to save her from abuse at the hands of a dangerous pimp. She seems very nice
Unfortunately, she's also the same person who joined --- likely horribly disinformed --- in to the GOP's anti-ACORN junta (attacking, for purely partisan political reasons, those who help the least fortunate in our society), and then explained afterwards that "one day I was jogging after work and I saw an ACORN, um, I was like, hmm, you know, I’ve never seen them before, I don’t like them."
So when, in this Max Blumenthal video compilation of his weekend with the loons at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), she seems to confuse "minstrel show" with "menstrual cycle," I guess it shouldn't be much of a surprise. As she did with Washington Independent's David Weigel last week, she also, again, confirms that O'Keefe never wore his "pimp" costume into ACORN offices, despite the lies from propagandist Andrew Breitbart (employer of both Giles and O'Keefe, and publisher of the videos) about that point and others when he sold his original blockbuster, but fake, story to the public and one media outlet after another who bought it all hook, line and uncritical sinker...
Just a quick reminder that none of The BRAD BLOG's recent series of detailed reporting on the MSM's failure to properly report on the ACORN "pimp" video hoaxes is actually about Andrew Breitbart, in truth. He'd love it to be. But it's not. He's just one overly-influential cancer cell in the quickly metastasizing illness over-taking the mainstream media. That illness is best illustrated, of late, by the willingness of the once-credible New York Times (and many others) to treat Andy --- as well as his band of GOP propaganda mongers and dirty tricksters --- as a respectable source, rather than the confirmed liar, desperate flip-flopper, self-defining hypocrite, and Republican con-man that he is.
Yeah, we get that. Which must be why, during his series of insane, paranoid, meltdown rants (see videos below) at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in D.C. all weekend long, where he fingered an imaginary Vast Leftwing Conspiracy at the heart of his epic fail, he forgot to mention The BRAD BLOG for some reason!
It's as if he were entirely "ignoring" our "line of questioning" for some reason.
That, even as he was forced to admit at the very top of his Saturday morning speech at CPAC --- undoubtedly due to having finally been sold out by his own fake "prostitute," Hannah Giles, the day before --- that he did, "apparently," lie about his phony ACORN "pimp" story...
Speaking to Washington Independent reporter David Weigel today at CPAC, Hannah Giles, who posed as a prostitute in James O'Keefe and Andrew Breitbart's infamous, highly-doctored, heavily-overdubbed, secretly-taped, ACORN hit videos, confirms what we've been reporting for several weeks here: O'Keefe never dressed as a pimp in the offices of ACORN.
I asked Giles about a criticism that’s often been leveled against them — that they hyped up the video by wearing outrageous clothes in promotional materials and the videos’ introductions that they didn’t wear in the actual stings.
“We never claimed that he went in with a pimp costume,” said Giles. “That was b-roll. It was purely b-roll. He was a pimp, I was a prostitute, and we were walking in front of government buildings to show how the government was whoring out the American people.”
"B-roll" refers to footage shot separately and later inserted during editing, as frequently seen in movies and television. E.g., an overhead helicopter shot of Las Vegas, used to establish where the scene takes place, before cutting to the interior of a casino where the main character is seen playing cards at a table.
Breitbart's out-and-out lies in his own 9/21/09 column to help promote the videos by claiming they show O'Keefe and Giles "going to the Baltimore offices of ACORN ... dressed as a pimp and a prostitute and asking for - and getting - help for various illegal activities";
Greg Brock, the New York Times Senior Editor for Standards, as we documented exclusively some weeks ago, is even on email record as citing that Fox "News" appearance by O'Keefe (embedded again at right) as his only evidence to "stand by our reporting" in which the "paper of record" has, time and again, misreprested O'Keefe as having "visited Acorn offices ... dressed so outlandishly that he might have been playing in a risque high school play."
Just two days after the Times described the "outlandish" dress of O'Keefe, the Congress of the United States passed legislation to remove federal funding for ACORN. (A federal judge later found the legislation to be "unconstitutional".)...
But, as it turns out, evidence from Breitbart's own Sept. 21, 2009 Washington Times column reveals that Breitbart did, in fact, not tell the "truth every step of way." In fact, he out and out lied while selling O'Keefe's all together phony misrepresentation (some might call it a lie) that he "dressed as a pimp" while "asking for - and getting - help for various illegal activities," as Breitbart inaccurately reported in his column.
Breitbart's promotion of those videos, as published on his own BigGovernment.com website, with the spectacular, media-friendly marquee selling point of low-level ACORN workers so stupid that they couldn't even spot a skinny white kid as a phony "pimp," kick-started the sting video campaign that was built and sold on an utter lie.
More evidence has been published today at Media Matters highlighting the effectiveness of that lie, and how media outlets from one side of the country to the other --- not just the New York Timesas we've shown --- were utterly bamboozled and played for chumps by Breitbart and O'Keefe's phony scheme.
Furthermore, when confronted with the lies --- yes, lies --- in his column, while on the air live last night, Breitbart chose to do what he always does...lie about them...
Watchdog Group Demands Retraction and Explanation From New York Times for Multiple Inaccurate O'Keefe/ACORN/'Pimp' Reports
NYT's Senior Editor for Standards "stands by" repeated misreporting, cites Fox News appearance by rightwing propaganda "journalist" as "evidence," despite contrary eye-witness testimony, independent reports and video
WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --- National nonpartisan watchdog group Velvet Revolution calls on the New York Times to immediately issue a retraction and correction of its repeated, inaccurate reporting that James O'Keefe entered offices of The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) dressed as a "pimp." This information is false.
"Not since the Times' flagrant and inexcusable front-page 'reporting' by Judith Miller on Saddam Hussein's non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction has the paper so irresponsibly, and repeatedly, in saturation coverage, helped to mislead the American people in a way that has caused so much harm," says Brad Friedman, Velvet Revolution co-founder and publisher of The BRAD BLOG, which first reported on the Times' errors.
In several stories over the past six months, the Times falsely reported that O'Keefe:
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...
[NOW UPDATED: Patty strikes back! Swings and misses again.]
Oh, noes! Rightwing blogger "Patterico", one of the only ones silly enough to throw in with GOP propagandist Andrew Breitbart to defend his employee, accused federal felon James O'Keefe, sez I'm "Liberal"! And a "stooge"!
Ouch! Thems good bloggery, Patty! U shure skooled me! 'Cept for the part where you hit publish before bothering to check your facts 'n' stuff...
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....
AP's investigative unit produces an appropriatecriminal investigative report today on the background of the Republican Party operatives --- and there appear to be more than just four --- behind James O'Keefe and Andrew Breitbart's "TeaBugger" operation at U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) office in Louisiana last week.
2) When will snake-oil salesman Andy release O'Keefe's complete, unedited, illegally-obtained ACORN video tapes publicly?
3) Why hasn't he done so already?
4) Could it be because two independent investigations found they were heavily-edited, likely illegally-obtained, heavily over-dubbed, and showed [PDF] "no evidence that action, illegal or otherwise, was taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographers"?
5) When will "Orly Taitz" Andy share the existence of Marcy "emptywheel" Wheeler's evisceration of his employee O'Keefe's failure of a cover story for the alleged Louisiana "TeaBugger" felonies with his own readers? He claims to be a "journalist" (ironically enough) decrying the "biased" "Liberal Media," who selectively report things, right?
6) Why does GOP operative Andy think his employee O'Keefe should be presumed "innocent until proven guilty" as he's tweetedtimeandagain, when he's shown no such benefit of the doubt for ACORN, ACORN employees, or even Gitmo detainees who may face punishment of death?
7) Why is ACORN itself "guilty," according to Angry Andy, of something or other, based on what he believes their employees did, but faux "journalist" Andrew Breitbart, who admits accused felon O'Keefe is on his payroll, is somehow not "guilty" of anything?
There are, of course, many more such question that the cowardly and professionally-deceptive Mr. Breitbart won't be answering. But I thought it'd be nice to give Andy --- and perhaps the "Liberal MSM" --- a chance to start ignoring the above right away.
P.S. We have sent the above questions to Andy, with a promise to post his answers in full here, if he cares to offer them. Unlike his political hit-man "Big" sites, we have no interest in being unfair to anybody here, and have no fear of sharing all sides of any story.