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"...
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:
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 ...
Taking a page from the successful hit campaign the Republican right ran against former White House Green Jobs Advisor Van Jones, one of rightwing activist Andrew Breitbart's website's "Andrew Breitbart Presents...Big Journalism," is now attempting to use a McCarthy-like guilt-by-association smear against Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.
But my own 2005 interview with their latest target kinda blows the very basis for their entire attempted High-Tech Lynching/Conspiracy Theory....
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.
Among the many delights in this eminently-watchable video response by the indefatigable voice-over actor D.C. Douglas, aka "Lance Baxter," aka "D.C. Douglas L. Baxterstein, Jr.," who was recently fired by Geico in the wake of an Andrew Breitbart-fueled, FreedomWorks complaint campaign after he "drunk dialed a cyncial GOP-funded astroturf organization funded by a man with Dick in his name," is this tag near the video's end...
This public service announcement brought to you by:
The Andrew Breitbart Is To The Internet
What Gonorrhea Is To Your Genitals Fund
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.
Andrew Breitbart's big big big "Big Government" website, which made its name last year by publishing the phony ACORN "Pimp" Hoax videos hasn't found time to even mention last week's criminal indictments of top Blackwater officials, despite the company receiving BILLIONS in federal tax-payer dollars --- versus the millions ($3.5m/year on average) that ACORN received over the last 15 years.
It's as if Breitbart and his Tea Bag Boyz don't actually care about corruption of federal tax-payer dollars. Hell, they don't even seem to care about actual prostitution --- even CHILD prostitution --- rings being run on the Government dime, since Blackwater is also fighting two different court cases in which former employees allege the company did exactly that, in both Iraq and Afghanistan, with their BILLIONS in federal tax dollars. Yet still not a peep about that either on any of Andy's websites. Go figure.
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!
Our old friend, the disgraced and disgraceful ACORN "Pimp" Hoax con-man Andrew Breitbart, is up to the same old tricks, according to AP. But this time they don't seem to be going as well for him.
In a deceptive effort to prove that Tea Baggers did not yell racial epithets at Democratic lawmakers during demonstrations against health insurance reform last month, Breitbart posted "VIDEO PROOF" from a different moment during those protests, the news service has found.
We're shocked he'd try to pull off such a scam. Even more shocked CNN hasn't hired him as a contract player yet.
Could the media finally be catching on to Breitbart's scams now that he's been caught lying time and again?
Glad to see AP holding Breitbart accountable for his bullshit, finally, but it's time for them to knock off their own lazy coverage, and start issuing corrections and apologies for their own months of misreporting on the ACORN "Pimp" Hoax.
AP's email address for corrections is: Info@AP.org. We've already sent such a request ourselves, but haven't heard back. Perhaps it will help, as it did at the New York Times, if they hear from a lot of readers.
(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".)