And the New York Times is STILL helping them do so...
By Brad Friedman on 3/3/2010, 6:12pm PT  

It's not particularly worth my time, or anybody's time (unless they are involved in suing or pressing charges against the GOP hoaxsters), to get into the detailed weeds on how the ACORN "pimp" hoax videos were doctored to show something other than what they really were, in comparison to what the text transcripts (which may or may not be accurate) actually show, since:

  • the entire scam was a political hit job and a scam from the jump, and;
  • since accused felon James O'Keefe and his employer and publisher Andrew Breitbart have refused to release the unedited video tapes, and;
  • since three investigations (one from the Congressional Research Service, one from MA's former Attorney General, and the latest, just this week from the Brooklyn, NY District Attorney) have all found no criminal wrongdoing by the low-level ACORN employees caught on secret video, and;
  • since nobody but low-level workers and volunteers are even seen on the tapes, and;
  • since ACORN immediately fired those who violated the organization's own written protocols.

As The BRAD BLOG has been detailing over the last several weeks, the highly-edited, heavily-overdubbed, secretly (and likely illegally) taped videos, and those who published them, have already proven to have discredited themselves.

Now that O'Keefe's ACORN "pimp" hoax has been acknowledged, even by Andrew Breitbart, as a deceptive fraud --- where he once called it Pulitzer Prize-worthy "journalism" he now compares it to Borat --- it doesn't seem to matter to the same rightwing bloggers who trumpeted it in the first place that O'Keefe lied about playing his now-infamous 70's-era blaxploitation "pimp" character in ACORN offices. What's important, those foolish enough to keep backing O'Keefe and Breitbart now claim, is not that the purveyor of the information has been shown to be a fraud himself, but what he purports to have caught ACORN workers saying and doing on his highly-edited video productions.

But even those charges don't hold up to even the quickest scrutiny...

One of the few foolish enough to stay on the Breitbart/O'Keefe fraud train, rightwing blogger "Patterico" (who, as Los Angeles Deputy D.A. Patrick Frey, should know better) was initially shown to have been massively and embarrassingly wrong. But after having been played for a chump by Breitbart, he has been busy doubling down ever since, in one silly article after another, in hopes of saving face, apparently.

All of that, even after the Brooklyn D.A. on Monday found "no criminality" in the Brooklyn videos, and a law enforcement source was quoted as confirming what any intellectually honest person already understands by the now: "They edited the tape to meet their agenda."

[Update: Even Rupert Murdoch's NYPost confirms DA source that the video was a "'Highly edited' splice job ... with seemingly crime-encouraging answers...taken out of context so as to appear more sinister"]

Nonetheless, it seems Patterico has determined to make his own private industry out of continuing to misrepresent the now-discredited ACORN tapes and the independently verified and verifiable information that myself and others, like Media Matters' Eric Boehlert, emptywheel's Marcy Wheeler, Digby at Hullabaloo and Dave Johnson at Campaign for America's Future have been presenting over the last several weeks. His strategy, like O'Keefe's, seems simply to be to mislead his gullible wingnut readers with tons of smoke, mirrors, out-of-context quotes, and demonstrably inaccurate claims, on the fairly safe bet that they won't be bothered to look too closely at the actual facts.

You'd only know much of Patty's nonsense was demonstrably inaccurate if you had the time, inclination, or interest to lower yourself far enough down into the dirty weeds to notice.

This won't take long, and I don't plan on spending much time doing it, given the discredited nature of the entire affiar, as I've mentioned above, but allow me to give just one very quick example of just how deceptively and dishonestly the Breitbart/O'Keefe ACORN "pimp" hoax tapes have been presented to the public, and as they are still supported, incredibly enough, by wingnut bloggers like Patrick "Patterico" Frey, Deputy D.A..

'Bury the Money?' --- Bury the Truth...

Hannah Giles, who played the "prostitute" in the tapes to O'Keefe's law school student boyfriend trying to save her from an abusive pimp (as we now know, he never actually posed as his infamous 70's-era "pimp" character in those offices, though the NYTimes has yet to correct its repeated misreporting on that), had this to say on Sean Hannity's show on September 14th last year, the same day Breitbart and O'Keefe published their Brooklyn ACORN tape, deceptively titled as "ACORN NYC Child Prostitution Investigation":

GILES: Yes. Imagine that. Everyone is suffering and looking for a loan and they tell us and you know, we're going through all this financial problems, and they're telling me to bury funds in the back yard so that the government or my pimp can't come steal the money.

The Brooklyn videos --- both parts 1 and 2 --- open with the seemingly startling, but out of context, comments , and a graphic suggesting the ACORN Housing workers (ACORN Housing is a separate organization from ACORN itself) were instructing Giles on ACORN's non-existent "Rule #8": bury the prostitution money in a tin in the backyard to "hide the money from government," as Giles lied on Fox "News".

That moment is often alluded to when the Rightwing propagandists and fellow defenders of the videos try to claim (inaccurately) that the workers advised them to evade taxes.

Here's the very damning, if entirely misleading (and misspelled) graphic O'Keefe uses at the beginning of Part II of the "ACORN NYC Child Prostitution Investigation" video:

Trouble is, the entire thing --- including Giles' comments to Hannity --- is a deceptive hoax.

A very quick review of just a few lines of O'Keefe/Breitbart's own unauthenticated text transcript [PDF] on that point, reveal immediately how the tapes "were edited to meet their agenda", as noted after the Brooklyn D.A. concluded his investigation on Monday.

As you'll see in the quick transcript snippet below --- the one from which, presumably, the "BURRY [sic] THE CASH-MONEY IN THE BACKYARD" comments were taken out of context for use in the doctored video --- the low-level ACORN Housing tax/mortgage adviser did not advise hiding money "from the federal government" as both Giles and O'Keefe claimed publicly, and as the gullible wingnuts and their enablers in the irresponsibly uncritical media have portrayed.

Instead, the worker was advising Giles on how she could keep the money from her fictional psychotic pimp --- who O'Keefe represented himself as trying to help rescue her from --- after that pimp had beaten her up, threated to kill her, stalked her, etc.

Here's the actual comments (at least as seen in O'Keefe and Breitbart's own unauthenticated transcripts):

Volda (loan counselor): Not only that but if you gonna do that type of work you got to start thinking quickly or else you are going to be abused

Hannah (Eden): which I have been

Volda (loan counselor): you have to start thinking faster than even the person who put you over there. Quick, quick, quick, you know that

Hannah (Eden): I mean I do think fast but this whole thing

Volda (loan counselor): when you buy, let me tell you something when you buy the house with a back yard. You get a tin if Jo [* see ed note below -BF] is going to come beat you and want money you get a tin and bury it down in there and you put the money right in and you put grass over it and you don't tell a single soul but yourself where it is

Hannah (Eden): so a tin I put the money in a tin

Volda (loan counselor): in a tin and put it in there

Milagros (counselor) and put the grass

Volda (loan counselor): and put the grass over it

Hannah (Eden): I saw a movie one time where he put all the money underneath the dog house

Volda (loan counselor): you don't put it under no dog house

Hannah (Eden): but I don't have a dog

Volda (loan counselor): good so you put it where you can get it and he cant get it from you if he wants to come and rip up the place and all the like

Hannah (Eden): okay

* The reference to "Jo" in the transcript section above is actually heard as "Tom Jones" in the edited video. According to the Urban Dictionary, "Tom Jones" is defined as the "First man to bring prostitution to the US". Elsewhere in the transcripts, Hannah (Eden)'s abusive pimp is referred to as "Sonny". But it's clear that the ACORN worker was not referring to "the government" as Giles had asserted to Sean Hannity.

So after reading the above, read again how Giles lied about it on Fox "News" on the same day the tape was released, and on the same day O'Keefe also appeared on Fox in his "pimp" get up, representing that it was the same one he "wore in these ACORN offices up and down the Eastern Seaboard":

GILES: Yes. Imagine that. Everyone is suffering and looking for a loan and they tell us and you know, we're going through all this financial problems, and they're telling me to bury funds in the back yard so that the government or my pimp can't come steal the money.

Other than that, O'Keefe, Giles and Breitbart --- who all knowingly lied about the ACORN videos --- are completely legitimate, the tapes and transcripts are to be trusted, but Dan Rather had to go.

'He who knowingly enables and facilitates the fraud is as guilty as he who originated it'

Remember when the modern day wingnut blogosphere scored their first great political take-down with Rather? Never mind that there is no evidence that he ever believed he was using fraudulent documents questioning George W. Bush's National Guard service, or that conclusive evidence exists to prove that the documents were actually fraudulent, or that, to this day, nobody from the Dubya White House ever directly challenged the substance of Rather's report itself. Because the wingnuts believed the documents were fraudulent, Rather's entire report was labeled as "a fraud" to be discredited, and Rather and everyone involved in the report needed to be fired immediately.

For example, Texas attorney and rightwing blogger William J. Dyer, who blogs as "Beldar" screamed (in all bold) about Rather and his CBS employers back in 2004: "He who knowingly enables and facilitates the fraud is as guilty as he who originated it."

That same blogger has yet to call for the firing of James O'Keefe by his employer Andrew Breitbart, despite Breitbart's own latest claims that even he was duped by O'Keefe's pimp hoax. In fact, none of the rightwing bloggers have called for O'Keefe to be fired by Breitbart as far as I know, even after all that we now know, and even as he's facing federal felony charges for his alleged scheme to tamper with the phone system of a Democratic U.S. Senator.

We'll have more on the deceptive nature of the entire ACORN "pimp" hoax in the coming days. But it's necessary to remind that the real point of all of this is not how the partisan liars and operatives lied --- we expect them to do that --- but, rather, how the non-wingnut, purportedly-legitimate mainstream media fell for the entire scam, hook, line and uncorrected sinker, and how they still refuse to cop to their serious and damaging failure, even now that the hoax has been demonstrated to them in no uncertain terms.

"He who knowingly enables and facilitates the fraud is as guilty as he who originated it."

If the mainstream corporate media won't acknowledge they were hoodwinked now --- and it wasn't just the NYTimes, it was also Baltimore Sun, CNN, New York Post, Washington City Paper, Philadelphia Daily News, NPR, Dallas Morning News and many more --- then they are enabling the fraud, and will fall for the same scams again in the future. In fact, they already have.

Despite the NYTimes' Public Editor Clark Hoyt telling me, via email just two weeks ago, that he was "recommending to Times editors that they avoid language that says or suggests that O'Keefe was dressed as a pimp when he captured the ACORN employees on camera," the paper has already done so again.

Reporting Monday night, on the wrap-up of the Brooklyn D.A.'s five-month probe finding "no criminality" in the O'Keefe/Giles/Breitbart Brooklyn ACORN tapes, the Times' Andy Newman wrote:

The Acorn employees in Brooklyn who were captured on a hidden camera seeming to offer conservative activists posing as a pimp and a prostitute creative advice on how to get a mortgage have been cleared of wrongdoing by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.

District Attorney Charles J. Hynes said in a statement on Monday that “no criminality has been found” in his investigation of the three employees, who had appeared to advise the woman, who was scantily dressed and identified herself as an “outcall” specialist, not to tell prospective lenders that she was a prostitute and to funnel her earnings to her “pimp” through a third party so that he would not be tied to her.

Newman also used the exact same misleading rhetoric earlier in the day, in a shorter article for the Times' "City Room Blog".

No context or clarity was given for accuracy to the reader, or to adhere to Hoyt's recommendation. Never mind that the only references to a "pimp" in O'Keefe's own Brooklyn transcript is to the one that O'Keefe represented to workers that he was trying to save Giles from:

James: well the reason why we are rushing is because she was working for this pimp and he was very abusive
...
James: and that is why we were in a rush you know why I am excited and I know nothing about her business I am just trying to be here to be professional because ya know she walks in and but now we have this pimp discriminating against us
...
James: I know I have to worry about the pimp but he is illegal anyway he is not going to do anything to me who what do I have to be careful of?
...
James: Sonny is the pimp

The BRAD BLOG is doing its best to hold the media accountable for their seeming inability to report credibly and critically on the Rightwing propaganda that they so eagerly pass on to the public. Unless they can be held accountable, as the 2010 general election nears, you can look forward to more spoon-fed phony wingnut stories about non-existent "ACORN voter fraud", and much much more such horseshit, from all of these previously-legitimate media outlets.

The New York Times Public Editor (ombudsman) Clark Hoyt can be reach at Public@NYTimes.com
• The New York Times Senior Editor for Standards Greg Brock, can be reached at SeniorEditor@NYTimes.com

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UPDATE 3/4/10: Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs emails to take exception to my side-point assertion that no "conclusive evidence exists to prove that the documents [used by Dan Rather in his Bush/National Guard report] were actually fraudulent".

Johnson was a key player on the Right, in highlighting concerns about those documents just after Rather's report originally aired in 2004 and writes to say that he believes the documents were "proven to be fakes" in no uncertain terms. He points to these articles of his (here and here) to help make the case.

"I don't like to use absolute words, but it's as close to impossible for a typewriter to produce these documents as anything ever could be. They are blatant fakes," he writes via email. Though he also notes, "CBS's own investigation didn't come to a firm conclusion, because it's not to their advantage to admit they were taken in by such obvious frauds."

While I stand by the reference made in the article, that the evidence is not "conclusive", that issue certainly wasn't the point of the article itself. So, given Johnson's passion on this point, and his indisputable demonstration over the last year that he is willing to put truth far ahead of party politics (unlike other embarrassingly wingnut bloggers I might mention, right Patty?) I'm more than happy to note his point here.

* * *

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