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By Brad Friedman on 7/21/2010 2:41pm PT  

Vilsack and the White House have issued apologies to Shirley Sherrod and asked her to take a new "unique" job at the USDA.

I must hit the road (heading towards Vegas, where, yes, I plan to stop into Netroots Nation for the first time), so can't offer more details on all of this for now.

But just one point: The WH seems to have done the right thing in apologizing to Sherrod, and seem to be making good on the one job they cost in inappropriately firing her based on a deceptively edited hoax video tape posted by pathological liar and con-artist Andrew Breitbart. Now how about those thousands of jobs lost at ACORN, the four-decade old anti-poverty, pro-democracy organization, after the President signed a bill defunding them based on an almost identical, deceptively-edited video tape hoax as perpetrated by the same Andrew Breitbart? Do they plan to make that one right as well now? If not, why not?

See ya from Vegas...

* * *

UPDATE: Looks like Joe Conason at Salon has the same thought: "Now reopen Breitbart's ACORN fraud --- and get the story right"

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 7/21/2010 1:08pm PT  

It's a neat trick. Andrew Breitbart, the pathological liar, race-baiter, propagandist, and rabidly partisan dirty-trickster, posts a deceptively edited video (again), to which media and Democratic officials cowardly knee-jerk in reaction (again), before the video is ultimately discovered to have been a deceptively edited hoax. Then, rather than copping to having been a pathological liar, race-baiter, propagandist, and rabidly partisan dirty-trickster, Breitbart criticizes the media and those others who bought into the hoax that he himself perpetrated.

You see, it was all the media's fault for being irresponsible enough to buy into his own bullshit. Well played, Mr. Breitbart - you pathological liar, race-baiter, propagandist, and rabidly partisan ratfucker.

Breitbart, as usual, is partially correct, which is why his ratfucking continues to have any effect at all. The media did, at first, buy into his Shirley Sherrod scam. And not just Fox "News," who more than simply "bought into it," actually played their usual vital role in the rightwing disinfo food chain by offering a news-like presentation to the false story, as if it's a real one which deserves coverage by others. But others in the non-wingnut, theoretically-legitimate media also treated this story, initially, as legitimate. For that matter, even after the hoax was revealed for what it was, Washington Post, late last night, granted the phony story more legitimacy by "privileging the lie" and burying the by-then known truth in the 15th paragraph of its coverage.

Today, however, as the dust settles, Breitbart's lie has been uncharacteristically exposed in a record 24-hours or so, and he finds himself backed into a corner threatening whatever legitimacy he had foolishly been granted by adults who ought to have known better long ago. So now, the very professional snake-oil salesman and con-artist is attempting to riggle out of that corner with an all new lie that moves the goal posts from his original, now-discredited smear, to an entirely new, made-up-out-of-whole cloth claim. To wit: Since he was discovered to have lied in the first place, Breitbart is now claiming, to anyone stupid enough to listen, that his original blog post where he published the deceptively-edited video, was "not about Shirley Sherrod. It's not about Shirley Sherrod. I can say it 20 times. It's about the NAACP."

Oh, and also, he now adds in desperation upon having taken on a foe who was willing to fight back: "I feel bad that they made this about her, and I feel sorry that they made this about her...Watching how they've misconstrued, how the media has misconstrued the intention behind this, I do feel a sympathy for her plight."

They made this about her? The media misconstrued the intention behind this?

Of course, those claims are complete lies as well. As usual. And they're betrayed by his very own words. As usual...

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

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 7/20/2010 7:43pm PT  

For those who have asked, no, I'm not particularly interested in Andrew Breitbart's latest, deceptively-edited video scam campaign which, shamefully, the Obama Administration and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack fell for before bothering to view the whole video.

We did what we did earlier this year --- exposing Breitbart's ACORN scam in extraordinary detail and for months on end --- in hopes that the rest of the media would not fall for such scams again in the future.

Clearly, the entirety of the corporate MSM has yet to fully learn the lesson. (e.g., see this piece on Washington Post's ombudsman falling for Fox/Breitbart's ridiculous "New Black Panther Party" non-scandal, non-story over the weekend and WaPo's embarrassing coverage of the Sherrod incident tonight --- even after the hoax has been exposed --- where they waited until the 15th graf(!) to note the video was deceptively edited!) Obviously, the Obama Administration hasn't learned its lesson at all, as witnessed by the firing of Shirley Sherrod without any due diligence.

But it's nice to see that, this time, it took many in the media just 24 hours or so before catching on to Breitbart's hoax...

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

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 7/19/2010 12:23pm PT  

If you didn't already know that the latest Fox "News" fake "outrage" about the jackass from the New Black Panther Party who was caught on video standing outside a Philadelphia polling place with a nightstick in 2008 was another predictably trumped-up Rightwing scam story, Jamison Foser will help you understand why that is.

But as with the phony ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, the most unsettling part of this latest scam is not just that Fox is promoting a phony story, round-the-clock, to rile up and scare their gullible viewers. That's what they do. We all know that by now. Or should. What's disturbing is that so-called Ombudsmen at major, theoretically non-wingnut "liberal media" outlets have yet to figure any of that out.

This time around, it's Washington Post's Ombudsman Andrew Alexander who takes the bait --- hook, line, nightstick, and phony whistleblower --- in support of his paper's coverage of what they shamefully headlined as a "political bombshell." Hoax Accomplished. Again.

Media Matters' Simon Maloy predicted this story would play out in exactly this way back on July 2nd [emphasis ours]:

1. Right-wingers shout loudly about bogus story.
2. Fox News picks up bogus story, reports on it incessantly.
3. Right-wingers and Fox News start complaining that "liberal media" are ignoring bogus story.
4. Other outlets are shamed into covering bogus story, mini-frenzy ensues.
5. Pundits credit Fox News for "being ahead of the curve."
6. Responsible media outlets determine bogus story is bogus long after damage is done.
7. Repeat.

See Foser for details, so we can go back to (hopefully) ignoring this ridiculous non-story.

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 7/13/2010 5:02pm PT  

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...


ReddIt this story!



Complaint leaves room for their employer/pimp, Andrew Breitbart to be added as defendant in the future...
By Brad Friedman on 7/12/2010 12:42am PT  

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...

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

ReddIt this story!



New York Times Public Editor, 'weasel,' files farewell column...
By Brad Friedman on 6/13/2010 1:16pm PT  

New York Times' woeful Public Editor/apologist Clark Hoyt ends his three-year term at the "paper of record" today with a column in which he tries to shape his own legacy as their (supposed) "readers' representative." There are, however, some 400,000 low and middle-income families across this nation, struggling to fight off, or emerge from, poverty who would might prefer to remember Hoyt by Tom Tomorrow's recent immortalization instead:

Marcy Wheeler at emptywheel today notes that Hoyt's farewell column reads as a dubious list of how the NYTimes, during his tenure, continued to show its propensity for serving as a mouthpiece for GOP oppo-research teams and dirty tricksters.

She also observes, as we did, that Hoyt succeeded in ignoring altogether --- "to his significant discredit" --- one of the most insidious and weasel-like failings of both the paper and Hoyt himself during his tenure: their dubious role as dupes and/or useful mouthpieces for the phony, yet terribly destructive, rightwing ACORN 'Pimp' Hoax scam"...

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

ReddIt this story!



A MUST-WATCH, MUST-SHARE video report from the best news writing team in the business...
By Brad Friedman on 6/11/2010 11:27am PT  

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)...


ReddIt this story!



'O'Keefe's ACORN hoax lives on because journalists like Stephanopoulos fail to challenge him'...
By Brad Friedman on 6/3/2010 4:08pm PT  

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), the decades-old media watchdog group whose condemnation of the NYTimes mis-reporting on the ACORN Pimp Hoax picked up on our detailed exposé here, and ultimately helped force the "paper of record" into a begrudging partial correction, has now picked up on our coverage earlier this week of ABC News' Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos' and his near-verbatim use of the Times discredited reporting in his introduction to an interview with Rightwing hoaxsters James O'Keefe and Andrew Breitbart on Tuesday...

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

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 5/27/2010 4:05pm PT  

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.

The notion of calling the federal criminals "TeaBuggers" just drove Andy's boys --- particularly the shamelessly pseudonymous wingnut blogger & L.A. County Dep. District Attorney, Patrick "Patterico" Frey --- to embarrassingly self-righteous (and inaccurate) distraction!

The fact was, of course, that, at the time, we had no idea what O'Keefe and friends were actually trying to do in that office, and O'Keefe --- who already had a well-established, if entirely unreported, record of lying to the media and the public about his phony, highly-doctored and illegally-recorded ACORN videos --- then went on to offer a preposterous public statement to explain his New Orleans scheme.

But now that O'Keefe's superstar GOP attorney was successful in pleading his client's felony charges down to a misdemeanor --- to which he and his conspirators pled guilty yesterday before a federal magistrate --- lo and behold, the FBI has released its own account of the arrest and plea deal.

And whaddaya know? According to the FBI, O'Keefe did plan to secretly wiretap the proceedings by secretly recording the conversations of employees in a U.S. Senator's office...

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

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 5/26/2010 11:46am PT  

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-Picayune reports.

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:

Of course, as a corollary to O'Keefe's arrest in New Orleans in late January, The BRAD BLOG was compelled to run a long series of investigative reports on how the media (perhaps mostly notably, the New York Times) had irresponsibly misreported on the hoax that had made O'Keefe famous in the first place --- his phony ACORN 'pimp' videos.

* * *

UPDATE: Matt Osborne of OsbornInk.com reminds us today of a video that he put together in response to the early weeks of our exposé of the O'Keefe/Breitbart ACORN Pimp Hoax...

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

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 5/24/2010 7:03pm PT  

Those who follow me on Twitter may already know that I've been referring there to the New York Times' shameful coverage of the Richard Blumenthal situation as the paper's "ACORN Pimp Hoax REDUX."

Their front page exposé last week suggested that Connecticut's Attorney General --- the leading Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate --- was, perhaps, a serial liar because, the "paper of record" informed readers, he'd exaggerated his service in the military. But then we learned that the Times had failed to share the complete video taped comments from a recent speech. Instead, they chose to quote and share just one selective portion out of context to help make their case.

Not only did the complete video --- which Times Executive Editor Bill Keller now admits the paper had seen prior to publication of their story --- offer additional comments from Blumenthal in the same speech, which may have mitigated the comments the Times selectively shared with readers, the paper also failed to share with readers that the story had been fed to them originally by the campaign team of one Blumenthal's Republican rivals for the U.S. Senate seat.

Now that the NYTimes' Public Editor, Clark Hoyt --- supposedly the paper's "readers' representative" or ombudsman --- has rung in with his "verdict" on the whole mess over the weekend, we can officially announce that the comparison to the Times' shameful response to the ACORN Pimp Hoax scandal, which we spent the better part of three months detailing earlier this year, is complete...

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

ReddIt this story!



By Brad Friedman on 5/21/2010 2:03pm PT  

Last night, the far Righties over at FreeRepublic linked to my story yesterday on ACORN 'Pimp' Hoaxster James O'Keefe being dressed down by a federal judge, before being given a free ride to avoid trial and personal accountability for attempting to tamper with the phones of Louisiana's Democratic U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu.

As usual, all of the comments there, in reply, are fun to read --- if you have enough antibodies to ward off the toxins --- but here are just a few of my personal faves :-) ...

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

ReddIt this story!



Republican dirty trickster to escape personal accountability...
By Brad Friedman on 5/20/2010 2:54pm PT  

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.

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

ReddIt this story!



Paper admits knowing of conflict of interest, offers all-too-familiar excuses in explaining away lack of disclosure...
By Brad Friedman on 5/4/2010 2:59pm PT  

John M. Broder and Tom Zeller Jr. of The New York Times are kind enough today to offer a front page "News Analysis" which works very hard to offer "balance" on the Gulf oil rig gusher by downplaying concerns of an unprecedented ecological disaster noting "the Deepwater Horizon blowout is not unprecedented, nor is it yet among the worst oil accidents in history."

They even offer a scientific "expert" to help support that thesis:

“The sky is not falling,” said Quenton R. Dokken, a marine biologist and the executive director of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, a conservation group in Corpus Christi, Tex. “We’ve certainly stepped in a hole and we’re going to have to work ourselves out of it, but it isn’t the end of the Gulf of Mexico.”

What they don't do, however, is let readers know that Dokken's "conservation group," the Gulf of Mexico Foundation, is actually sponsored in large part by the offshore oil drilling industry!

Moreover, when asked for comment about the failure to disclose that rather important piece of information, the Times' Zeller is offering what has now become an all-too-familiar-for-the-"Paper-of-Record" rationalization to explain it all away...

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

ReddIt this story!



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