Yesterday The BRAD BLOG covered the invasion of privacy lawsuit filed by former San Diego ACORN worker Juan Carlos Vera against Rightwing activists and dirty tricksters James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles after they'd video-taped him secretly, in violation of California law.
Last night, Rachel Maddow on MSNBC covered it, rather amusingly (and accurately), this way...
Rightwing dirty-trickster and convicted federal criminal James O'Keefe and his accomplice Hannah Giles are being sued for invasion of privacy by a San Diego ACORN worker.
Juan Carlos Vera was fired by the 4-decade old anti-poverty, pro-democracy community organization after deceptively edited and secretly recorded video tapes of a meeting Vera had with O'Keefe and Giles were released by the pair and published on Republican propagandist Andrew Breitbart's websites. The tapes were then widely aired on Fox "News", as well as non-Rightwing media outlets.
Vera is suing for at least $75,000 in accordance with California's Invasion of Privacy Act which, according to the short, four-page complaint [PDF] filed at week's end in U.S. District Court, "prohibits the recording of confidential communications without the consent of all participants where there is an objectively reasonable expectation that the conversation is not being overheard or recorded."
In April of this year, CA Attorney General Jerry Brown completed a five-month probe into O'Keefe/Giles/Breitbart's secretly-taped ACORN videos and found "no criminality" by any of the ACORN workers seen on what he described as "severely edited" tapes.
He did, however, find that O'Keefe and Giles themselves were likely to have violated California law, and could see private litigation brought against them...
Once again, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show demonstrate the best news writing in the business. Hands down. Period. No contest.
Last night, Maddow opened with a shameful side-by-side comparison of the aggressive action taken by Republicans last year to defund ACORN on the basis of secret video tapes which proved to be complete hoaxes, versus their nearly complete silence in regard to the deadly crimes and disasters of BP.
While ACORN received approximately $3.5 million in federal funding over each of the last 15 years, and Republicans were outraged about it, BP receives literally BILLIONS in federal funds each year for what it does, and it has actually killed people in the bargain.
Maddow's report is both stunning and obvious at the same time --- at least to anyone remotely involved in the world of actual fact and reality, which is to say, almost nobody else in the entirety of the corporate media (and, thus, the public.)
This report is what the news media are supposed to be doing --- connecting the dots that matter for the public. This is a MUST-WATCH and a MUST-SHARE (widely)...
As convicted federal criminal and rightwing dirty-trickster James O'Keefe repeated over and again this morning on ABC's Good Morning America, "this isn't about me." (Full video at end of article.)
To that end, neither is The BRAD BLOG's coverage of the scam artists' phony ACORN videos, or his attempted wiretap plot in a U.S. Senator's office, or his latest startling exposé for which he's released video today (also posted at end of article) purporting to show that he was allowed a full hour for his lunch break during one of two training days as a U.S. Census worker in April, and even allowed to leave an hour or two early when that day's training completed ahead of schedule. (Shocking, I know!)
Our coverage isn't about him. Never has been. We expect partisan scam artists like him, and his employer, rightwing con-man Andrew Breitbart, to get away with whatever deceptive, partisan nonsense they can. This has always been about the utter failure of the corporate mainstream media in irresponsibly giving them a platform to publicize their propaganda, without even bothering to check any of the facts for accuracy first.
This morning, George Stephanopoulos did exactly that in the introduction to his "exclusive" interview with O'Keefe and Breitbart (who was on hand to enjoy some of O'Keefe's spotlight as well, for some reason) by repeating an inaccurate report from the New York Times nearly verbatim, despite the "paper of record" having corrected at least part of it over two months ago, and despite their Public Editor (ombudsman) having been broadly ridiculed for an embarrassing attempt to defend it...
Remember the disingenuous snit fits that Rightwing con-man Andrew Breitbart and his Tea Bag Boyz were on about when the original reports broke of "a plot to wiretap Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in the Hale Boggs Federal Building in downtown New Orleans" by Republican dirty trickster James O'Keefe and his band of co-conspirators?
They were outraged --- outraged --- that the "liberal media" had included the word "wiretap" in their reports about the felony arrests of the operatives, since the FBI's arrest affidavit didn't specifically mention an attempt to wiretap or bug the phones in her office. In a desperate attempt to distract from the actual story and find some way to support their friends' charged with serious federal felonies, the Tea Bag Boyz demanded that a number of media outlets issue immediate retractions for the claim, and, of course, the "liberal media" outlets complied --- as instructed --- as usual.
As Republican dirty trickster, and now convicted federal criminal, James O'Keefe is neither Middle-Eastern nor a member of the Democratic Party, he was allowed to plead guilty to just a misdemeanor today for leading a conspiracy of criminals --- one of whom happened to be the son of the acting U.S. Attorney in Louisiana --- in an attempt to tamper with the telephone system of a sitting U.S. Senator in her federal office in New Orleans, before being sentenced accordingly this morning by a federal magistrate:
Conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe and three compatriots today pleaded guilty to entering real property belonging to the United States under false pretenses for the January incident in which they entered Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office and claimed to be from the telephone company, the Times-Picayunereports.
O'Keefe was sentenced to three years of probation, a fine of $1,500 and 100 hours of community service. The others --- Stan Dai, Joseph Basel, and Robert Flanagan --- got the same fine, two years of probation, and 75 hours of community service.
Previous coverage by The BRAD BLOG of this hopefully-now-completed story included:
A federal judge gave a stern talking to this morning to the Rightwing dirty trickster James O'Keefe III and his three fellow conspirators --- one of whom is the son of the Acting U.S. Attorney in Louisiana --- for their attempt to access the telephone system of Democratic U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu in her New Orleans office, by impersonating phone company employees.
While describing the Republican activists' actions as "unconscionable" and "extremely serious," Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. stopped short of ordering a trial, according to AP today:
A federal judge had strong words for four conservative activists who initially were accused of trying to tamper with the phones in Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office, but ruled the misdemeanor charges against them can be resolved before a magistrate instead of a judge.
U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. said Wednesday he isn't exercising his right to hear the case even though the four defendants are charged with an "extremely serious" crime involving a security breach at a federal building.
"Deception is alleged to have been used by the defendants to achieve their purposes which in and of itself is unconscionable," Duval wrote.
I'm still largely off the grid for the rest of the week, though I'll be re-appearing briefly to guest host the Mike Malloy Show again this Thursday night from 6p-9p PT (9p-Mid ET). This time we'll be BradCasting from San Francisco's Green960, so I hope you'll join us for that. (We'll have a LIVE chat room here during the show, as always.)
Until then --- and until I'm finally back on the grid full time again --- here's a little musical "tribute" to that loser James O'Keefe III. You remember him, right? The guy who pulled off a scam, and then dressed up in a pimp outfit to lie about it in order to help take down an organization (ACORN) which helped hundreds of thousands of his fellow citizens who could most use the very helping hand that O'Keefe has now helped to ensure may no longer be available to anybody. So much for Bush Sr.'s "thousands points of light," eh?
In short, while James O'Keefe won life's lottery by being born an affluent white kid, he remains a loser who apparently never learned the difference between right and wrong, and what it means to stand by your fellow citizens and countrymen.
Any remaining doubts about just how deeply detatched wingnuts are from Reality should pretty much be obliterated by this piece by Christian Toto at the far Rightwing website "Human Events."
I'm on the road today, so no time to offer details and/or direct rebuttal, but I suspect that, by now, BRAD BLOG readers should be able to both debunk and create your own punchline for just about each and every graf!
I'm also pretty sure that Toto wrote that article with a straight face (it's not April 1 still, right?), as incredible as that might sound. I don't believe I've read any story of late, in regard to the utterly debunked and disgraceful ACORN "Pimp" Hoax --- even from the pseudonymous rightwing blogger, O'Keefe/Breitbart dead-ender and (shockingly) L.A. County Dep. DA Patrick "Patterico" Frey --- which is so singularly disconnected from Reality.
A "Pulitzer Prize" for the fully disgraced and accused federal criminal James O'Keefe for fake reporting? That'd be roughly the equivalent of awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Timothy McVeigh or a Grammy Award to Richard Nixon for "Best Spoken Word" for his superb work on the Watergate Tapes!
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.
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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.
(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".
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".)
(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...
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...
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.
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UPDATE 2:40pm: Well, that was much easier. SacBee has now issued a correction which gets the story much closer to the actual facts...