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Erick Erickson's Global Warming Denialist Tantrum
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'Green News Report' 8/28/14
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KPFK 'BradCast'
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Our Story So Far: The WI GOP Photo ID Voting Restrictions
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GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


By Brad Friedman on 4/8/2010 2:40pm PT  

A reader alerted me this morning to these misleading, inaccurate, propaganda anti-ACORN "editorials", duplicates of which have been appearing, unbylined, in a bunch of papers under different headlines. Before I was able to get to them, it looks like Muriel Kane at RAW STORY was able to jump on it. (Thankfully! Since I've been busy with both today's Green News Report today, and putting together tonight's Mike Malloy Show!) . Here's the lede from Kane's coverage today...

When you read an editorial in your local newspaper, your natural assumption is that it expresses the views of that paper's staff and reflects local concerns. This, however, does not appear to be the case with the many small-town papers owned by Ogden Newspapers, Inc.

On March 31, an editorial headed "ACORN can't distract public from the truth" appeared in the Fairmont Sentinel, published in Fairmont, MN. It was bylined by Gary Andersen and Lee Smith, the paper's publisher and editor, and it slammed ACORN as a "front for liberal politicians" that has been involved in "illegal actions."

That original publication seems legitimate enough. But over the next few days, the same editorial started popping up elsewhere, with no byline and under a variety of headings. On April 3, for example, it appeared in the Minot Daily News of Minot, ND under the heading, "Good riddance to ACORN."

On April 5, it was in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette of Williamsport, PA, headed "ACORN victim of its own transgressions."

These papers have one thing in common. They are all owned by Ogden Newspapers of Wheeling, WV.

Like the GOP's years-long hit-campaign against ACORN, the GOP's ACORN "voter fraud" fraud, and their ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, these "editorials" are similarly faked propaganda, meant as a part of that same, blatant, shamefully partisan, anti-Democratic and anti-democracy scheme. See RAW's full story here.

* * *

And in related-ish news, the audio archives from last night's Malloy Show, in which we covered (as I was guest hosting) the anti-ACORN "Pimp" Hoax scam in some detail --- including a pretty tough live interview with ACORN's CEO Bertha Lewis --- are now posted here for download and/or online listening.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 4/7/2010 11:19am PT  
(ED NOTE 4/9/10: ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis was my guest on Wednesday night while I was guest hosting the Mike Malloy Show. My interview with her can now be heard here. - Brad)

Finally, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow covers the actual phony ACORN tapes themselves by airing the newly release unedited versions, since CA AG Jerry Brown forced hoaxsters O'Keefe and Giles to turn them over in exchange for immunity from criminal prosecution, as we noted in our coverage last Friday. (That coverage also includes links to the full, unedited versions of the tapes, clips of which Maddow aired last night, as seen below.)

Maddow slams the entire hoax as pulled off by O'Keefe, Giles and their employer/publisher/con-man Andrew Breitbart, and aptly describes it as "a dishonest political stunt that bears no resemblance to journalism"...


For the record, yes, as Maddow notes, Fox "News" endlessly pimped the phony ACORN tapes and got the story completely --- and likely purposely --- wrong. But it should also be noted that so did New York Times, AP, Baltimore Sun, CNN, New York Post, Washington City Paper, Philadelphia Daily News, NPR, Dallas Morning News and many many more, some of which are listed here. Haven't checked, but I'm guessing somewhere along the line on MSNBC they got it wrong as well. All should correct the record and issue apologies the many folks who were damaged by the utterly irresponsible coverage, or, as O'Keefe and Breitbart might describe it (but only when it adversely affects their partisan political agenda), "journalistic malpractice".

Almost none have issued such corrections and apologies to date. Though the NYTimes pulled a neat trick recently by completely disappearing the "pimp" from their latest coverage.

And, no, since several have brought this up to us via email and in comments, Maddow didn't mention The BRAD BLOG in the report above or in her blog item/text transcript, or her similarly excellent report filed on the show last Friday. Should she have? I'll leave that to others to decide. We don't cover this stuff for either credit or attribution, though it's true that appropriate attribution can make it easier for folks like us to continue the type of independent, progressive, investigative reporting that we suspect Maddow appreciates.

(On that note, our thanks to John Tomasic of the Colorado Independent who has been particularly generous towards our coverage in his recently related articles, both last night in his story on Maddow's coverage, and several days ago on the CA AG's ACORN findings. We also appreciate the far-too-kind closing thoughts in this post from Jill at "Brilliant at Breakfast".)

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Also: ACORN not dead yet!...
By Brad Friedman on 4/6/2010 6:32pm PT  
(ED NOTE 4/9/10: ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis was my guest on Wednesday night while I was guest hosting the Mike Malloy Show. My interview with her can now be heard here. - Brad)

Yesterday, Peter Hart, of the media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), flagged the New York Times' latest ACORN-related report for us and notes "how far the Times is from where it started on this story."

Yes, after a full six months of out-and-out misleading the public on the now-infamous ACORN "Pimp" Hoax by repeatedly misreporting that disgraced rightwing prankster and activist James O'Keefe had dressed as a 70's-era blaxploitation pimp while scamming low-level workers in ACORN offices --- and even as the Times finally conceded it was wrong on at least that point just two weeks ago --- the paper has still been standing by the misleading assertion that O'Keefe "clearly presented himself as" a pimp in those offices.

But the NYTimes' latest story is decidedly "pimp"-less and seems to tacitly serve as an admission that even that false narrative was previously misreported. Of course, they've yet to issue a public acknowledgment --- much less a correction, retraction, apology, or explanation --- for having gotten that point so wrong, for so long.

Last week's finding by the CA Attorney General, that ACORN committed "no violations of criminal law" in any of the illicitly and likely-illegally taped videos that O'Keefe and his partner Hannah Giles created in CA offices, may finally have convinced the people running the paper they had it wrong. At least if one notices the glaring absence of what wasn't reported this time around by the Times in its most recent story...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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A long-overdue indictment of the unabated, GOP-created, media-enabled, incalculably-damaging 'unmooring of politics from facts'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/5/2010 8:05am PT  

On Friday night, responding to the CA AG's finding that the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax videos --- as created and published by righwing con-artists James O'Keefe, Hannah Giles, and Andrew Breitbart --- were precisely the hoax we'd long described them as, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow hit it out of the park, detailing precisely the reason we've been focused on this point for so long: "The triumph of fake politics...The unmooring of politics from facts," and the unforgivable truth that you've heard far more about the partisan-driven hoax/politics agenda in the media, than about the fact that that these things were all hoaxes.

Maddow takes the opportunity to highlight not only the "triumph" of the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, but of other successful GOP-played/MSM-enabled scams such as "ClimateGate" (also near and dear to our hearts as we've covered that scam in great depth in our Green News Reports for months, most recently on Thursday), faked GOP outrage about recess appointments, health insurance reform, Miranda rights and civilian trials for accused terrorists, the stimulus bill, "death panels," Obama's birth certificate, supposed threats to the Second Amendment, armed IRS agents coming to get you, abuse of the census, Obama's "plans" to ban sport fishing, et al.

These things are, as she declares in no uncertain terms, "all bull." Yet, she adds, "there’s more bang for the political buck to make stuff up like this than to try to debate real problems in the real world. So just go with the bull"...


Our only complaint is that her indictment comes a month or two (at least) too late for victims of the GOP's ACORN scam, and that, other than Fox "News," she fails to call out the still-respected-but-shouldn't-be enablers of the scams in the first place --- in this case, for example, the still-misreporting New York Times.

If you can't watch the video above, or would just like to savor it and/or quote any of the exceedingly-quotable text to your erstwhile inexorably-brainwashed, fully-hoaxed, teabagging wingnut friends and family members, the text transcript is posted here...

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UPDATED: SacBee corrects their story. (That wasn't so hard now, was it, NYT?!)...
By Brad Friedman on 4/2/2010 12:03pm PT  

Is it really this hard for anybody in the corporate media --- the folks who actually get paid to do this job --- to get this story right??

From McClatchy/Sacramento Bee's much-linked coverage on yesterday's finding by the CA AG that ACORN workers in California, as seen in James O'Keefe and Andrew Breitbart's "severely edited" pimp hoax videos, "committed no violation of criminal law":

But while McClatchy/SacBee misreports "O'Keefe...claimed he was a pimp," the report [PDF] released by CA AG Jerry Brown yesterday afternoon --- the very one that is being reported on in the article(!) --- notes quite specifically: "He never claimed he was a pimp."

Yeesh. Yet I'm the one who doesn't get paid to do this, so has to beg for donations every month! (Hint.)

The McClatchy/SacBee misreport was filed on their website last night. I notified the paper's editors, along with the article's reporter Jack Chang, about the error via email last night. As well last night, I called the paper, left a polite voice mail for their corrections editor, and then spoke personally to their City Desk editor who kindly thanked me for letting him know about the error. Today, via email, Chang kindly sent a thanks as well. As of 11:51am, however --- and dozens of dozens of misinformed readers having left comments on the article --- no correction has been made to the article on the SacBee's website.

Is it really this hard? Only took two-months for the New York Times to post its partial correction. Let's hope McClatchy/SacBee do the right thing a bit sooner.

* * *

UPDATE 2:40pm: Well, that was much easier. SacBee has now issued a correction which gets the story much closer to the actual facts...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Unreleased raw footage reviewed by AG Jerry Brown's investigation was obtained from Rightwing activists O'Keefe and Giles in exchange for immunity from prosecution
Contradicting MSM coverage, O'Keefe 'never claimed he was a pimp,' 'did not act as a journalist'...
By Brad Friedman on 4/1/2010 10:36pm PT  

Echoing the recent report of the Kings County, NY, District Attorney who completed a five-month probe finding "no criminality" seen in video tapes secretly taken of low-level ACORN and ACORN Housing workers last year in New York, California's Attorney General has now reached a similar conclusion regarding videos recorded in three different cities in the Golden State last Summer, according to a report released today which finds the workers "committed no violation of criminal law."

While describing "highly inappropriate behavior" by some of the workers caught on secret video tapes made by Rightwing activists, CA AG Jerry Brown's report finds that "the evidence does not show that the ACORN employees in California violated state criminal laws in connection with their conversations" with activists posing as a prostitute and her boyfriend.

In a press release announcing his 28-page report [PDF] (and accompanying 55 pages of attachments and exhibits [PDF] with it), the AG's office says the publicly released videos taken in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino were "severely edited."

Brown's statement in the announcement is highly critical of Rightwing activists James O'Keefe III and Hannah Giles, who posed as a prostitute and her law school boyfriend in the videos posted on Rightwing media mogul Andrew Breitbart's "Big Government" website last year and played extensively on Fox News, as well as other non-partisan media outlets.

"The evidence illustrates that things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality," says Brown in the statement. "Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting room floor."

His report notes that the office's "investigation has involved attorneys from all three legal divisions – Criminal Law, Public Rights, and Civil Law – as well as Special Agents from the Department’s Bureau of Investigation and Intelligence" and included a review of "the unedited recordings made by O’Keefe and Giles."

In exchange for "immunity from prosecution," O'Keefe and Giles provided "the full, unedited videotapes" to Brown's office who, therefore, "did not determine if they violated California's Invasion of Privacy Act" when secretly recording the ACORN workers. Those workers, he notes in his report, may still "be able to bring a private suit against O'Keefe and Giles for recording a confidential conversation without consent."

O'Keefe, Giles, and Breitbart have previously refused to release the unedited footage of their videos publicly. Brown's report details why they likely did not wish to, as important, often exculpatory details from each encounter were not included in the edited versions, released to much partisan fanfare last year.

The unedited California videos have now been posted on the CA Attorney General's website. (They are also linked at the end of this article.) The press release also notes that the AG has unedited tapes from other cities outside of California as well. The BRAD BLOG has made a request for those videos from the office of the Attorney General.

'Severely Edited'

The description of the videos as "severely edited" also echoes the Brooklyn D.A.'s office, which was quoted as describing them as a "heavily edited splice job" when his report was released several weeks ago.

Brown's report also echoes an independent investigation [PDF] released by former MA Attorney General Scott Harshbarger early last December, but unreported in the New York Times and many others. That report was commissioned by ACORN as an external review. In it, Harshbarger found serious organizational concerns with the four-decade old community organizing group, but "no pattern of criminality" as seen in any of the highly-edited, heavily-overdubbed video tape releases.

Despite repeated official investigations finding a complete lack of criminality in any of the O'Keefe/Giles/Breitbart tapes --- other than by the filmmakers themselves, who may have broken the law in at least two different states by secretly taping workers --- ACORN recently announced that the publicity from the hoax videos had succeeded in drying up their private funding, and forced them to shutter their doors as of today.

Of the four ACORN employees O'Keefe and Giles met with in three different California cities, none "committed, solicited or conspired to commit any criminal acts," says Brown in his report. "There is no evidence that any of the ACORN employees had the intent to aid and abet such criminal conduct or agreed to join in [O'Keefe and Giles purported] illegal conduct."

The Attorney General also confirms that O'Keefe never appeared in any of the offices "dressed as a 1970s Superfly pimp," as he had been edited to appear at the beginning and end of each of the videos. Neither did O' Keefe ever claim to be a pimp to any of the workers whose good natures, AG Brown says, O'Keefe and Giles preyed upon...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2010 1:42pm PT  

Via Sahil Kapur at RAW STORY:

The ends justify the means, say The Yes Men, but only as long as you're going after the right people.
...
"For O'Keefe and Breitbart to be targeting ACORN is incredibly sad and pathetic," [Yes Men co-founder Mike] Bonanno told Raw Story. "Most of its members are lower-income home owners, so these are model Americans --- pull themselves up by their bootstraps type of people --- people who are often very poor."

In a videotaped conversation with blogger Mike Stark at last month's CPAC convention, Breitbart, probed about the morality of O'Keefe's actions, pointed to The Yes Men as an example of progressive activists using similarly questionable means to attain their goals.

But it's not his and O'Keefe's tactics that The Yes Men take issue with; it's whom they're taking aim at, and the now-extinct community group didn't deserve the treatment, Bonanno alleged.

"It's why you're lying and who's gaining and who's losing as a result," he said. "There are liars and there are assholes. What James O'Keefe is doing is making a lot of lower-income people lose, unfortunately. And it's supported by a bunch of very nasty, mean-spirited people."

Here again is the video referred to above, which The BRAD BLOG originally published on March 1, where Andrew Breitbart invokes The Yes Men near the very end after he's already been forced, by journalist Mike Stark, to toss his own employee, James O'Keefe under the bus for having duped him --- or so Breitbart, an accomplished and acknowledged liar, is now claiming...


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IOKIYAR...
By Brad Friedman on 3/29/2010 4:38pm PT  

If you've not heard, over the weekend it was announced that the felony charges against James O'Keefe --- who famously, never actually posed as a pimp in ACORN offices --- and his three co-conspirators in the matter of attempting to illegally access the phone system of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) in New Orleans, have been reduced to misdemeanor charges.

It's believed likely that the agreement was part of a plea deal. The reduced charges would carry a maximum prison sentence of 6 months and a fine of $5,000, versus the maximum sentence of 20 years for the felony charges.

MORAL 1: If you're going to attempt to feloniously enter federal property under false pretenses in order to manipulate the phone system of a sitting U.S. Senator, make sure a) you're an operative for the Republican, not Democratic, Party (remember: IOKIYAR!), b) you do not have an Arabic sounding name and, most importantly, c) you have as one of your co-conspirators the son of the acting U.S. Attorney in the same state where you are attempting to commit your crime.

MORAL 2: If you get caught and arrested while doing any of the above, even if, as your attorney says, you're just "kid," be sure to be a "kid" who has the ample funding and high-powered connections to employ, for your defense, a superstar GOP attorney such as one who was powerful enough to have represented the U.S. Senate Republicans during the Watergate Hearings nearly 40 years ago and during the witch-hunt investigation of the Clinton administration in the 90's.

Here endeth the lesson.

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By Brad Friedman on 3/24/2010 3:28pm PT  

I appeared earlier this afternoon on RT (formerly "Russia Today"), an English-language Russian news service seen in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Despite yesterday's six-months-late admission from the New York Times that they were repeatedly bamboozled by the Rightwing con-artists who produced deceptively edited hit videos in order to take down ACORN (which they successfully did), U.S. television --- including those so-called "liberal" bastions like CNN and MSNBC --- don't seem to much care that the entire thing was a hoax from the jump. At least they've yet to cover it, while RT has done so with at least three live hits over the past 24 hours.

Once again, RT seems to have more interest in issues that actually effect Americans than American broadcast news outlets do. Here's my choppy web-cam appearance earlier today.


Yesterday, my colleague and friend David Swanson was also a guest on RT to discuss the ACORN issue, as was nationally syndicated radio host Thom Hartmann. Both of those short segments are posted below and well worth watching...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Yet more evidence that O'Keefe did not 'represent himself' as the NYTimes and its Public Editor continue to claim...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2010 8:41pm PT  

Last night, the New York Times issued a pathetic "correction" in which the paper finally admitted it had gotten one very important element of the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax story wrong by reporting on at least four occasions that Rightwing activist James O'Keefe had dressed in his ridiculous 70s-era blaxploitation "pimp" get-up while secretly video-taping low-level ACORN and ACORN Housing workers last Summer. He didn't. That was a lie by O'Keefe and his publisher Andrew Breitbart, and it was forwarded uncritically by the New York Times over and over again.

After two months of my badgering the paper's Senior Editor for Standards Greg Brock and its Public Editor (ombudsman) Clark Hoyt about it --- and after each offered all sorts of extraordinary excuses (see here and here for just a start) as to why they stood by the paper's demonstrably inaccurate reporting --- the "paper of record" was finally, and begrudgingly, forced to admit it was wrong on that one element, and has issued a correction to it.

The "correction" came six months after the Times first damagingly misreported the story, and was followed by repeated similar misreports. It also came on the same day that the four-decade-old community organization announced it had been forced to close shop in the wake of the phony scandal, which was helped along by the gross misreporting by the Times and many others that followed suit.

But the Times' correction still made it a point to include the false notion that, while O'Keefe didn't dress as a pimp in ACORN offices, he still "represented himself" as one, by "posing" as a pimp.

Well, no, as we've shown time and again, he didn't do that either. He posed as the law school student (or sometimes a banker or politician) boyfriend to Hannah Giles who was dressed similarly to a prostitute. During the secretly-taped interviews, they both told the low-level ACORN and ACORN Housing workers they were trying to save her from an abusive pimp who had attempted to stalk and kill her.

Yet, the Times is still standing by its inaccurate reporting.

So, to help them out, here are just a few more examples of O'Keefe "posing as a pimp," as the New York Times, the "paper of record," would have you believe, as taken from O'Keefe's own unauthenticated text transcripts...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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In addition to being wrong, no apology nor explanation offered
Errors already repeated in separate story for tomorrow's paper...
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2010 10:31pm PT  

The once-great New York Times has now become the new shame of this nation. Tonight they have run a "correction" concerning their repeated misreporting of the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax for tomorrow's papers. And, as you'll see below, it's pathetic --- simply pathetic --- and still inaccurate.

It has been...

  • ...six months after the New York Times ran their first incorrect story on the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax;

  • ...five months since their ombudsman and reader's representative Public Editor Clark Hoyt (Public@NYTimes.com) chided the paper for waiting "nearly a week" before reporting on the phony videos, and announcing the assignment of a new editor to specifically follow "the issues that are dominating Fox News and talk radio";
  • ...almost four months since the former MA Attorney General correctly reported [PDF] what had really gone on in those ACORN offices (though his report was entirely ignored by the NYT until last weekend);
  • ...two months after their Senior Editor for Standards Greg Brock (SeniorEditor@NYTimes.com) wrote via email that James O'Keefe "appeared on a live Fox show wearing what HE said was the same exact costume he wore to ACORN's offices...We believe him. Therefore there is nothing for us to correct";
  • ...two months after Hoyt (Public@NYTimes.com) wrote via email to back up the editors and the paper's reporting to say that "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";
  • ...two days after Hoyt finally admitted in his column that "The Times was wrong…and I have been wrong in defending the paper's phrasing" and that "Editors say they are considering a correction";
  • ...and on the very same day that ACORN announced they were shutting their doors on April 1 following a lack of funding, in light of the damage done by the highly-doctored, falsely promoted and inaccurately reported hit videos released by known Rightwing partisan propagandists and liars...

...the "paper of record" has issued a correction for tomorrow's papers, in which they repeat the falsehood that James O'Keefe "posed as a pimp" in ACORN offices. He didn't. He posed as the fake prostitute's law school boyfriend trying to help save her from a pimp who had stalked and threatened to kill her, as a review of even O'Keefe's own unauthenticated text-transcripts show.

Here is the absolutely shameful squib published tonight on the web, and running in tomorrow's paper, along with just the shortest explanation of how they are still getting it completely wrong, but don't seem to care...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Clark Hoyt says in Sunday column 'editors considering correction'
Also concedes paper 'should have' covered former MA AG's early-December report finding no criminality in 'heavily edited' sting videos
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2010 11:20pm PT  

"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....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 3/15/2010 11:44am PT  

From Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation last Monday on "The Rightwing Witch Hunt Against ACORN":

After 18 months of screaming headlines and attacks vilifying the anti-poverty group ACORN --- attacks reminiscent of a New McCarthyism that threatened the group's very existence --- it's clear now that this was a right-wing witch-hunt which, sadly, too many Democrats and the mainstream media failed to fact-check.
...
Fox and tabloids like the New York Post did a hatchet-job on ACORN that too many in the mainstream media were eager to run with. It seems to me those outlets have a special obligation to now step up and tell the full story. Also, contact New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt, Washington Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander, and other major newspapers. Tell them their publications should run front-page retrospectives on the ACORN story--how and why the media and politicians got it wrong and what the consequences have been to ACORN.

From Detroit's Metro Times last Wednesday in "Pimps, weasels and ACORN: The truth is slowly catching up with the smears":

[T]his deception wore the winged sandals of Mercury while the truth got bogged down in cement overshoes.
...
But getting that truth out isn't easy when the lie is so much juicier. Just ask Brad Friedman, who has been all over the issue at his website, bradblog.com. Friedman has been mounting a campaign aimed at getting the nation's paper of record, The New York Times, to publish a correction and admit it was wrong when reporting that O'Keefe actually went into ACORN offices dressed as a pimp. On his site, Friedman posts an e-mail exchange he's been having with Clark Hoyt, the public editor of the Times.

Both of those two articles merit reading in full, along with a number of others published elsewhere of late, which follow up on The BRAD BLOG's weeks-long focus on exposing the Rightwing cult's ACORN "Pimp" Hoax and the corporate media outlets and public officials who shamefully fell for it. We've been too busy working on the exposé itself to keep you apprised of much of the coverage of it elsewhere, but there's been quite a bit, so let's try to put that right and get caught up on some of the more noteworthy pieces...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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President of National Housing Institute decries: 'Act of defunding ACORN by Congress is a national disgrace'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/12/2010 4:06pm PT  

"This reporting was done by not just the right-wing press, but every one of the mainstream press, and I’m talking about...the New York Times," said John Atlas, author of the new book Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America’s Most Controversial Anti-Poverty Community Group on this morning's Democracy Now!.

"And there’s a whole movement out there now trying to get the public editor to go on record saying the Times botched the story," Atlas, the president of the National Housing Institute, continued.

He was on the show to discuss this week's finding by a federal judge that Congressional legislation crafted specifically to defund ACORN was unconstitutional.

"The first thing I want to say, that needs to be said over and over again, is that the act of defunding ACORN by Congress is a national disgrace. We should all be outraged about that. Basically what happened is Congress bowed to Fox News, Glenn Beck, the rest of the right-wing echo chamber --- we’re talking about the United States Congress --- and then scapegoated the most effective anti-poverty organization in the country. That’s a scandal of enormous proportions," Atlas chided.

In the bargain, he set the record straight about what ACORN does, how important their work is to those in our country who most count on them, and how the story of the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax was so unforgivably misreported over and again by the New York Times (and others) who still continue their journalistic malpractice by flat-out refusing to responsibly correct the record, as The BRAD BLOG has detailed in great length over the past several weeks.

The full transcript is posted here, the full video of the Democracy Now! segment (appx 11 mins) with Atlas, Amy Goodman, and Juan Gonzalez is below, along with excerpts from Atlas' opening comments on the important role of ACORN, and the dreadful failure of the New York Times...

JOHN ATLAS: [T]he first thing I want to say, that needs to be said over and over again, is that the act of defunding ACORN by Congress is a national disgrace. We should all be outraged about that. Basically what happened is Congress bowed to Fox News, Glenn Beck, the rest of the right-wing echo chamber—we’re talking about the United States Congress—and then scapegoated the most effective anti-poverty organization in the country. That’s a scandal of enormous proportions.

ACORN has a record of helping poor people in these hard times. They help them get homes. They help them stop foreclosures. They help them fight predatory lending. They help them register voters. I’m talking about minority voters, people who ordinarily don’t vote. Very hard to get that kind of voter registration work done. And in short, all other studies, including mine, have documented how effective ACORN has been and how important it’s been to low-income people, especially the working poor.
...
AMY GOODMAN: And remind us why they were defunded. I mean, what was the incident that precipitated this?

JOHN ATLAS: Well, as your opening said, which we can emphasize again, the immediate trigger—I’m talking about the immediate trigger—was the release of videos that appeared to show that ACORN staffers were giving advice to right-wing activists who looked like a pimp and a prostitute. And they were giving advice to them which was outrageous, which we should go into, after we talk about this case, because it turned out that that was completely misleading, that in fact he never—the guy who was posing as a pimp never showed up in this outlandish pimp outfit that we all associate with those videotapes. You know, the guy in the top hat, the cape around his shoulders, with his cane, the dark glasses, you know, he looked like a 1970s African American—you know, stereotype African American pimp. He went on TV. He said, “This is what I looked like when I was in the office.” Turned out, not true. And we should go into that, because—

AMY GOODMAN: Explain. How, then?

JOHN ATLAS: Well, it’s not true, because he edited—they took those pictures of him dressed that way, and they edited him into the tapes.

Now, before we get back into the decision, let me say this, that this reporting was done by not just the right-wing press, but every one of the mainstream press, and I’m talking about the Washington Post, the New York Times. Before I came here, I actually put together a list—I can—of times that the New York Times reported that fact, that this man was dressed like that when he was sitting in the office. And the New York Times has refused to retract this. And there’s a whole movement out there now trying to get the public editor to go on record saying the Times botched the story...

[Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenters "Jeannie Dean" and "Big Dan"]

* * *

The BRAD BLOG covers your electoral system fiercely and independently, like no other media outlet in the nation. Please support our work with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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Says 'videos were a hoax,' 'hard to believe' Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt 'actually believes what he's saying' in defense of repeated misreporting
Group issues action alert calling for retractions, apologies from 'paper of record'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/11/2010 1:08pm PT  

The New York Times "was duped" and "refuses to own up to mistakes in the paper's coverage" of the now-infamous ACORN "pimp" hoax video tapes published by partisan Rightwing activists James O'Keefe, Hannah Giles, and Andrew Breitbart.

That coverage, according to a devastating, no-holds barred, well-documented action alert issued today by the decades-old media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), was "wildly misleading" as a result of the paper having "decide[d] to skip the standard rules of journalism."

FAIR has been covering bias in the media since 1986 and today's detailed action alert calls on the "paper of record" to issue retractions, apologies, and explanations for their repeatedly incorrect and uncritical coverage of the Rightwing ACORN "pimp" hoax videos.

The group also excoriates New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt's often-absurd emailed justifications to The BRAD BLOG for refusing to recommend the paper issue retractions and apologies, as they decry: "It is hard to believe that Hoyt actually believes what he's saying here."

Finally, FAIR's analysis of the reportage, videos, and transcripts comes to the damning conclusion: "The videos were in fact a hoax, and the Times was duped. Its readers deserve to know as much--and ACORN, which suffered serious political damage as a result of the false stories, deserves an apology."

They ask readers, as we have for many weeks, to contact the Times' Public Editor Hoyt to "recommend that the paper investigate the ACORN videos and produce a report that clarifies the record"...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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