[UPDATED TWICE: Good news! Morrissey quickly corrected his report after we notified him of the incorrect coverage. Bad news! His correction was also incorrect. SECOND UPDATE: Morrissey has copped to his second error as well, and has finally corrected appropriately. Details on all, at bottom of this article. -BF]
Once again, the accurate reporting of facts, truth, and reality doesn't seem to be required when it comes to the Rightwing's continuing, years-long attempt to villainize the community organization ACORN for having the temerity to help legally register millions of low- and middle-income voters (who tend to vote Democratic) to legally vote so that they may legally participate in their own democracy.
Latest example: Yesterday, Ed Morrissey of Hot Air --- a blog created by Rightwinger Michelle Malkin and recently purchased for an undisclosed sum by the far Rightwing Salem Communication outfit --- misreported [emphasis added]:
Today, [Wisconsin’s Attorney General J. B.] Van Hollen announced indictments in five cases — including two felony indictments against ACORN for scheming to have registrants vote multiple times in November 2008.
Unfortunately, Morrissey and Hot Air are patently --- and apparently knowingly --- incorrect.
The "two felony indictments," which Morrissey even links to [PDF] and quotes from in his inaccurate hit piece, are not "against ACORN," but against two workers who defrauded ACORN, even as the pair defrauded the voter registration process...
The March 3, 2010 segment of Democracy Now is so shocking that it is best seen. In Utah, lawmakers have approved a measure that could potentially expose a pregnant woman to murder charges if she is stuck in an abusive relationship, is beaten and miscarries. When one of two twins is a still birth, the mother is charged with murder because she refused a C-section. In Iowa, a woman is arrested when she miscarries after a fall down the stairs.
All this amongst efforts by the health insurance cartel to treat spousal abuse as a pre-existing condition.
Perhaps we should post signs: Warning: Pregnancy will place you in legal jeopardy.
UPDATE, 3/10/10:Democracy Nowreported that Utah's Republican Governor Gary Herbert signed the anti-choice measure into law. "The...bill would allow women to be charged with murder if they commit 'an intentional or knowing act' that causes a miscarriage. The bill initially included language that would have also punished women for 'reckless' acts. But despite the revision, critics still say the measure could target women for all kinds of actions, including staying with an abusive partner."
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The 01/04/10 Democracy Now! segment, Utah Abortion Bill Could Punish Women for Miscarriages, Domestic Violence follows below...
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...
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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 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".)...
Seems highly unlikely for the national general counsel of Bush/Cheney '04 Inc., who knowingly misled Congress on that point and many others. But perhaps after our years dogging him and detailing his lies and phony agenda working to keep legal (Democratic-leaning) citizens from being able to exercise their legal right to vote, he's gotten tired of being the poster boy for the Republican's anti-democracy campaign.
I can't deny it any longer. These are, after all, the most outrageous examples of ACORN corruption yet! And apparently it wasn't just a few low level employees this time, but system corruption said to go to the very top of the organization, resulting in the defrauding of millions, if not billions of tax-payer dollars! It's now clearer than ever that all of their federal funding must be denied once and for all! Get this...
[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...
The opening night speaker at the Tea Party convention suggested a return to a "literacy test" to protect America from presidents like Obama --- a segregation-era method employed by southern US states to keep blacks from voting.
In his speech Thursday to attendees, former Republican congressman Tom Tancredo invoked the loaded pre-civil rights era buzzword, saying that President Barack Obama was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country."
Southern states used literacy tests as part of an effort to deny suffrage to African American voters prior to Johnson-era civil rights laws.
"Prior to passage of the federal Voting Rights Act in 1965, Southern (and some Western) states maintained elaborate voter registration procedures whose primary purpose was to deny the vote to those who were not white," a website for civil rights veterans explains. "In the South, this process was often called the 'literacy test.' In fact, it was much more than a simple test, it was an entire complex system devoted to denying African-Americans (and in some regions, Latinos) the right to vote."
Gosh, and sure is unfair to paint any of these Tea Baggers as racist, isn't it?
Among the questions on one of those old Alabama literacy tests [PDF], as highlighted in Byrne coverage, are these questions which we wonder if Tancredo himself would be able to answer (not that it would matter, because he's white):
"If a person charged with treason denies his guilt, how many persons must testify against him before he can be convicted?"
"If a president does not wish to sign a bill, how many days is he allowed in which to return it to Congress for consideration?"
"If the United States wishes to purchase land for an arsenal and have exclusive legislative authority over it, consent is required from [fill in the blank]."
After it was revealed that the sponsor of the "National Tea Party Convention" in Nashville, TN, was a for-profit corporation charging some $500 for admission, previously confirmed Tea Bag speakers Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) dropped out.
None of that was a problem for Tancredo, apparently. Nor for Sarah Palin (R-FOX), who is still scheduled to be the weekend's keynoter for a reported speaking fee of $100,000. Perhaps she'll up Tancredo's racist ante and call for a repeal of that pesky 13th Amendment.
And speaking of literacy, below the fold is a photo of TeaParty.org founder Dale Robertson, taken at a Tea Bagger event in February of 2009. Plenty of literacy, no racism there...
If the Republican Gubernatorial primary candidate Carly Fiorina is willing to put out a web ad like this, against her Republican opponent Tom Campell in the race for the GOP nomination to run against Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer this year, do the Democrats have any idea of the crazy train they're about to be barreling into?...
Seriously, the Republican Party wasn't alwaysthis whacked out, crazy and utterly misinformed, were they? Were they?!
The Daily Kos has enlisted the "non-partisan independent pollster Research 2000" to survey "over 2,000 self-identified Republicans." The results of which, I'll have to agree with Kos here, are "nothing short of startling."
Writes Kos: "Ultimately, these results explain why it is impossible for elected Republicans to work with Democrats to improve our country. Their base are conspiracy mongers who don't believe Obama was born in the United States, that he is the second coming of Lenin, and that he is racist against white people."
Just one case in point likely to be of interest to readers of The BRAD BLOG (and there are many others, far more extreme), one in five (21%) of self-identified Republicans believe ACORN stole the 2008 election. Another 55% are "not sure" if they did or not. Still waiting for any one of them to present even a shred of evidence to suggest that even a single vote was cast fraudulently via ACORN in some way, of course. For the record, Obama reportedly won by about 10 million of them nationally. You think we'd have some kind of evidence by now from the "Fox 'News' Voter Fraud Unit."
Also, according to the poll, a majority of Republicans, 53%, believe "Sarah Palin is more qualified to be President than Barack Obama." Sigh...
How many elected Democrats will have to lose their jobs in 2010 and 2012 before they figure out who/what they're dealing with in this once-Grand, now just utterly insane (actually, just successfully and expensively disinformed) Old Party?
It's up to the wingnuts. If they want to keep lying about Obama, then we'll do our best to set the record straight. If they want to bring up legitimate criticism, and there's plenty of it, then we'd likely join them, and we could all have an Obama bashing party together. But they're not that smart.
So as long as the wingnut media --- and thus, virtually the entire corporate media --- insist on using the people's airwaves to lie to the people (eg., Rush Limbaugh continues to repeat every day what a "complete failure" the economic stimulus package has been), I guess we'll just have to keep countering that phony message by posting the truth in order to try to offer some balance to the unending stream of lies from the GOP and their extremely effective mouthpieces across the near-entirety of the corporate media.
Rachel Maddow did the same last week in her lead-up piece to Obama's first State of the Union address, in which she brutally attacked the Administration's call for a partial spending freeze, even as the economy, thanks in no small part to Government investment, struggles to come out of its tailspin.
Before her critique however (which I hope you'll watch in full --- it's embedded below), she also pointed out the salient, indisputable facts of how responsible actions taken by the Obama Administration, whether you liked them or not --- and as opposed by virtually every single Republican in Congress --- have, in fact, with all of their many failings, helped shore up, and even reverse for now, what had been a near-death spiral by the time Obama finally took office.
Here are two charts from her report which highlight that point quite simply, and help to counter the loud, GOP-spun political/partisan nonsense echoed, naturally, by the gullible tea baggers...
[NOTE: Since Maddow's report last week, the GDP figures for the 4th quarter of last year have now been announced and the up trend continues. As her original chart included data only through the 3rd quarter of last year, we've augmented that original chart below to reflect the recently announced 5.7% growth in GDP for the 4th quarter of '09]:
Love him or hate him, or anything in between, recognition of the overall effect of the broad points of Obama's emergency economic policies --- quickly passed at an historic moment of looming disaster --- is due. At least along with any honest appraisal of those policies.
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Maddow's entire report, both praising and critiquing Obama and those policies --- something known as "fairness and balance" --- can be watched below...