So if ACORN itself is "guilty" for something or other, based on what some of their employees did, what does that make rightwing faux "journalist" and Matt Drudge poodle Andrew Breitbart, who has now admitted that accused felon James O'Keefe worked for him?
In a rather embarrassing "interview" (really a staged dog and pony show, ostensibly meant to try and help Breitbart out of his apparent jam of being found to have been 'palling around with federal felons') conducted by rightwing propagandist Hugh Hewitt yesterday on the public's airwaves following O'Keefe's arrest in an alleged scheme to tamper with the phones of a U.S. Senator, Breitbart admitted that he "paid a fair salary" to the alleged felon.
After Hewitt asked, "so he is an employee?" Breitbart impossibly demurred: "I'm not sure that's technically the thing, but yes, he's paid for his life rights."
Mmmm-kay. Having trouble seeing the distinction there. Nonetheless, what's clear is that Breitbart pays O'Keefe for his work, whatever the hell that "work" is.
But wait, this gets far more ridiculous as these two knuckleheads proceed to blow away years of their very own propaganda. In further comments, overlooked for the most part by others so far, made by Breitbart and Hewitt in that "interview," they succeed in moving this entire affair from the utterly ridiculous to the laughably absurd...
You'll recall The BRAD BLOG's years of reporting on the GOP's fraudulent scam to accuse the community group ACORN --- which has legally registered millions of low and middle-income Americans to vote over the years --- of committing some sort of "voter fraud," for which they've never actually been charged in any state or any court of law that we know of. Moreover, we are unaware of even an an iota of evidence that demonstrates that the group or any of their employees, or anyone who has ever been registered by one of their employees, has committed the crime vis a vis that registration.
Some of their workers, a tiny handful of their more than 13,000 employees, have been charged with committing "voter registration fraud" after being turned in by ACORN officials themselves, after the community group discovered the employees had defrauded them in light of the "fair salary" they were paid to legally help sign up new voters.
For all of that work legally registering voters and turning in those who didn't to law enforcement, ACORN became the target of the GOP and their wingnut operatives, since so many low and middle-income voters tend to vote Democratic instead of Republican for some odd reason.
All of which, in an orgy of partisan political ejaculum, led to Breitbart's release of highly-doctored video tapes made by O'Keefe, alleged to have been illegally procured in at least two states. The tapes themselves reveal ACORN employees breaking no federal laws that we're aware of, at least according to two separate independent reports. Nonetheless, the tapes --- and the publicity they received from the operative Breitbart and his chums on Fox "News" and wingnut talk radio --- helped lead to a cowardly act passed by Congress to defund the group with a bill that is, according to a federal judge, as Ernest Canning reminds us today, "probably unconstitutional".
Even if we stipulate that Breitbart was not paying O'Keefe to break the law, its clear that ACORN was not paying its workers to break the law either --- at least no evidence exists to demonstrate otherwise. And yet, ACORN has long been charged by Breitbart, and Hewitt himself (a long-time leader in the GOP's phony "Democrats are committing massive voter fraud through ACORN!" movement), as being a "criminal organization" for having employed those workers who did break federal law by committing voter registration fraud in order to continue receiving their "fair salary."
So, again, if ACORN is "guilty" for all of that, what does that make Breitbart?
But as if all of that wasn't ironic enough, Hewitt's "interview" with Breitbart concludes this way, with an exchange so full of incredible irony that we are left gasping for air and without words to properly respond to it:
BREITBART: Yes, absolutely. That is absolutely the case.
HEWITT: Andrew Breitbart, thanks for checking in with us. I appreciate that.
Get that? Read it again if necessary. And then, if necessary, read this entire article from the top again if there remains any question of the absurdity of the entire situation, and the utter disingenuousness of Breitbart and Hewitt in that exchange.
So were they full of shit before, when they spent years demonizing ACORN as a "criminal organization" based on scant evidence of petty crimes committed by a handful of workers (none of which was actually revealed in those videos, as we noted), or are they full of shit now?
If Breitbart should not be condemned, since "Lots of people work for lots of corporations, and do dumb and sometimes illegal things that are not within the scope of their employment," even though one of his employees has now been charged with a federal felony related to attempts to bug the office of U.S. Senator, how is it that Breitbart and Hewitt would seem to have no problem standing by their condemnation of ACORN for the "dumb and sometimes illegal things" that some of their employees did?
Yes, it defies logic. But we're dealing with hard rightwing, dyed-in-the-wool, political operatives, con-men and scam artists here. Not actual journalists, or even respectable political commentators.
And just to make matters even more absurd, for those tea baggers and wingnuts whose eyes may be opening to the scam in which they've been played perfect dupes and rubes for so many years, in addition to the federal crimes alleged to have been committed by O'Keefe and his fellow conspirators at this point, there are at least two other notable federal criminals that folks like Breitbart and Hewitt haven't told you about, but about whom you should be aware:
1) Mark Anthony Jacoby, the head of the firm hired by the CA GOP to run their voter registration operation across the state in 2008, was arrested just before the general election that year, and later pled guilty to voter registration fraud himself. His company, Young Political Majors (YPM), was also accused of having fraudulently changed thousands of voter registrations from Democratic to Republican without the knowledge of the voters whose registrations were changed (and who were therefore disenfranchised if they happened to try and vote in the '08 Democratic primary election).
Since Fox "News" had failed to report on Jacoby and YPM, even amidst their orgy of "reportage" on "voter fraud" crimes not committed by ACORN, I was forced to report it myself on Fox.
2) Republican superstar propagandist Ann Coulter committed two third-degree federal felonies and one first-degree misdemeanor related to her own act of actual voter fraud in the state of Florida in 2006. Various political, and possibly illegal, maneuvers by her former-Bush attorney and former FBI-boyfriend resulted in running out the statute of limitations clock before she could be officially charged, but documents long-posted by The BRAD BLOG reveal beyond a shadow of a doubt that she committed those crimes --- and ultimately got away with them.
She also, however, still faces complaints for having committed voter fraud in the state of Connecticut, where there is no statute of limitations for the crimes, prior to moving to Florida. Those complaints are still pending.
UPDATE 1/28/10: Breitbart goes on MSNBC, blows himself up. Again. Details, video now here...
UPDATE 2/15/10: Flip-flop. Breitbart tells Internet radio show, O'Keefe "technically not salaried". Details now here...