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The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


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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Mixing it up with, and calling out the mainstream media...
By Brad Friedman on 3/26/2010 2:10pm PT  

I had the pleasure to appear on San Francisco public radio's "Friday Media Roundtable" on their Your Call program today (heard on KALW in San Francisco and KUSP in Santa Cruz).

Along with the NYT's massive ACORN "Pimp" Hoax fail, we also discussed and critiqued media coverage of healthcare insurance reform, the latest in the U.S./Israel diplomacy theatrics, and even a bit on the guilty verdict for Kentucky election officials yesterday. Joining me on today's panel, along with host Sandip Roy, were Alex Wayne of Congressional Quarterly and Sherine Tadros of Al Jazeera English.

The audio is posted below, and I believe it's well-worth giving a listen to --- particularly in regard the direct disagreement that Wayne and I got into over the media's failure (as I see it, though he didn't), to have covered the substance of healthcare insurance legislation, while devoting an inordinate amount of coverage to the politics of that debate instead.

(Continue reading below for more on that, more on how the NYT's Public Editor Clark Hoyt illustrated the very crux of the media's failure on so many stories of importance to the public, and for the audio of the show itself)...

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

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Delay suggests 'prejudice, bias' by 'paper of record' in favor of Rightwingers...
By Brad Friedman on 3/26/2010 1:29pm PT  

Read the text transcript here...

[Hat-tip BRAD BLOG commenter "BlueHawk"]

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Convicted high-ranking officials include a circuit court judge, county clerk and school superintendent
Each face up to 20 years in broad conspiracy that included manipulation of electronic voting machines...
By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2010 3:24pm PT  

All eight defendants in Clay County, Kentucky's election fraud trial have been found guilty today by a federal jury. Six of those eight were high-ranking election officials, including the county clerk, a circuit judge and the school superintendent. The conspirators were charged with having manipulated federal elections in 2002, 2004 and 2006 by buying and selling votes and manipulating electronic voting machines.

According to AP, each of the now-convicted felons could face up to 20 years in prison for what prosecutors had described as a conspiracy to manipulate elections for decades in the rural, heavily Republican county.

In additional to federal racketeering, several of the defendants were also convicted of charges that included mail fraud, extortion and laundering money used to buy votes.

The BRAD BLOG has been following this story since the conspirators were originally arrested in March of last year, and as details of the election officials' manipulation of ES&S iVotronic touch-screen voting machines has emerged...

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

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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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By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2010 8:08pm PT  

In case you were wondering if ACORN's announcement today that they will soon be closing their doors will have any effect on my campaign to demand accountability from the people and institutions (e.g., the NYTimes, but many others as well) culpable in their demise, rest assured it will not --- other than to serve as yet another reminder of why such accountability remains an imperative here at The BRAD BLOG.

As I have long tried to impart, it's not about ACORN or even the liars, cretins, partisan scam artists, and democracy haters who schemed to take down the group. It's about those whose responsibility it was (and still is) to keep the cretins from being able to do so. About those whose responsibility it is to protect our democracy from all enemies, foreign and domestic. On those particular points, after I cool down a bit, I will have much more to say tomorrow --- and the day after, and the day after, and the day after...

* * *

This seems like a good moment to remind those who haven't seen this, or have forgotten about it, to once again run the short video (just 40 seconds) of Paul Weyrich, the still-revered founding father of the modern day "Conservative" Movement and the godfather of the GOP's modern-day voter-suppression movement. This is from his 1980 speech to 15,000 preachers at a Dallas convention where he shared the podium with both Jerry Falwell and Ronald Reagan.


This is what the GOP's campaign against ACORN --- and democracy --- was always about...

"Now many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome - good government. They want everybody to vote. I don't want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

Weyrich passed away in December of 2008. His dream lives on.

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'Mission Accomplished' for anti-democracy GOP scam artists...
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2010 12:43pm PT  

Just one day after the New York Time's Public Editor Clark Hoyt finally admitted that both he and his paper were "wrong" in the way, for the last six months, they unskeptically and inaccurately covered the Rightwing hoaxsters who released doctored-up, heavily-overdubbed, secretly-taped hit videos targeting the national community organization ACORN, largely for their work in legally registering hundreds of thousands of low-income voters so they could have their voice heard in their own democracy, the group is announcing that it will be "bringing its operations to a close".

We should take the time to note here, since the corporate mainstream media likely will not, that there is no evidence that any vote has ever been cast illegally in any election vis a vis an improper registration by an ACORN worker. Of the very few ACORN workers found to have submitted illegal registrations, almost every one of them was turned in to officials by ACORN themselves. Again: no voter ever registered improperly by an ACORN worker has ever cast a single vote in any election.

The following statement has just been sent to The BRAD BLOG by ACORN spokesperson Kevin Whelan concerning the group's plan to shut down:

In a organizational statement released today, ACORN said:

The ACORN Association Board met on Sunday March 21 and approved a set of steps to responsibly manage the process of bringing its operations to a close over the coming months. These include:

  • Closing ACORN's remaining state affiliates and field offices by April 1st; and
  • Developing a plan to resolve all outstanding debts, obligations and other issues.

ACORN's members have a great deal to be proud of--from promoting to homeownership to helping rebuild New Orleans, from raising wages to winning safer streets, from training community leaders to promoting voter participation --- ACORN members have worked hard to create stronger communities, a more inclusive democracy, and a more just nation.

Neither Andrew Breitbart nor James O'Keefe, the partisan propagandists who created and published the scam videos which ultimately helped to destroy the valuable community group, could be reached for comment to learn whether or not they planned to target widows' and orphans' groups next.

ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis, however, issued the following statement over the weekend as a reminder of the group's successes, in light of the now-successful years-long Rightwing hit job intended to cripple the organization for having the temerity to be one of those thousand points of light you've heard about, helping the neglected and the poor in our society --- more than 400,000 low-income families in 75 cities --- the folks who need such help the most...

--- 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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Fake 'Big Government' foes Breitbart, O'Keefe apparently in favor of continuing tax-payer rip-offs...
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2010 2:30pm PT  

We missed this one recently (as did the tax-payer "watchdogs" "Andrew Breitbart Presents...Big Government" for some odd reason):

Investigators looking into corruption involving reconstruction in Iraq say they have opened more than 50 new cases in six months by scrutinizing large cash transactions - involving banks, land deals, loan payments, casinos and even plastic surgery - made by some of the Americans involved in the nearly $150 billion program.

Some of the cases involve people who are suspected of having mailed tens of thousands of dollars to themselves from Iraq, or of having stuffed the money into duffel bags and suitcases when leaving the country, the federal investigators said. In other cases, millions of dollars were moved through wire transfers. Suspects then used cash to buy BMWs, Humvees and expensive jewelry, or to pay off enormous casino debts.

Some suspects also tried to conceal foreign bank accounts in Ghana, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Britain, the investigators said, while in other cases, cash was simply found stacked in home safes.

There have already been dozens of indictments and convictions for corruption since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But the new cases seem to confirm what investigators have long speculated: that the chaos, weak oversight and wide use of cash payments in the reconstruction program in Iraq allowed many more Americans who took bribes or stole money to get off scot-free.

But by all means, let's focus instead on ACORN, which helps some 400,000 low-income families in 75 cities with basic needs, because they've received an average of $3.5 million in federal dollars to help with their efforts for each of the last 15 years.

That's "million" (with an m), as opposed to the "billions" as still misreported by James O'Keefe and the other journalistic malpracticers at "Andrew Breitbart Presents...Big Government." Six months ago, in a still-uncorrected item at Breitbart's website --- their first one on the phony ACORN "pimp" hoax videos --- O'Keefe mis-reported that ACORN "receive[s] billions in tax money."

Oh, and in addition to the actual billions (with a b) that we may have been defrauded of via phony contracts in Iraq during the Bush regime, the same story linked above also notes:

A related investigation of rebuilding funds for Afghanistan began in February.

Now let's go do our moral duty and protect the tax-payers against "big government" corruption by taking down those those bastards at ACORN!

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From misreporting to no reporting at all, questions keep mounting for the 'paper of record' about their bizarre record of failure on the ACORN story
UPDATED: AP article on decision appears on NYTimes.com website...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/17/2010 9:05am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

On Wednesday, March 10, 2010 The BRAD BLOG posted breaking coverage about U.S. District Court Judge Nina Gershon’s finding that day, that the Congressional funding ban on ACORN was an unconstitutional bill of attainder. Her finding included an order to resume federal funding to the community group which has been targeted by a years-long GOP smear campaign.

A March 10 AP story covering Judge Gershon's finding appeared in the March 11 edition of the Washington Post.

It's now Wednesday, March 17 --- a full week since the historic ruling was issued by a federal judge (in New York, of all places) yet, not one word about the ruling has appeared in the New York Times, America's so-called "paper of record."

What's wrong with this picture?

[Update 3/19/2010: See "Correction/Clarification" at end of article. The Times appears to have run something on this, at least a version of the AP's coverage, at least on their website, if not in their print editions, after all. See below for more details and one encouraging point to go with it. - BF]

As we now know, the NYTimes has misreported the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax story time and again since last fall, yet both their Senior Editor for Standards, Greg Brock, as seen in emails published by The BRAD BLOG, and their Public Editor (ombudsman) Clark Hoyt, as seen in emails also published by The BRAD BLOG, have both refused to issue or recommend corrections despite being shown the gross, factual inaccuracies in the paper's coverage.

Furthermore, Gershon's decision last week heavily referenced a report [PDF] by the former MA Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, released on December 7 of last year, finding no criminality by ACORN workers as seen in the highly-edited, heavily-overdubbed, secretly-taped videos released last year by James O'Keefe and Andrew Breitbart. The publication of those videos led to the unconstitutional legislation undone last week by Gershon. Yet the New York Times has never so much as mentioned the Harshbarger report in its pages either.

So, again, I ask: what's wrong with this picture?

--- 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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