'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...

From FAIR's Peter Hart last night:

Here's how host George Stephanopoulos set up the segment:

James O'Keefe became a media sensation after he and a friend posed as a pimp and prostitute and secretly recoded ACORN workers giving them advice on how to cheat on their taxes.

As FAIR noted in an action alert to the New York Times, O'Keefe didn't "pose" as a pimp--he didn't wear his absurd "pimp" get-up when he went in to ACORN offices, and in almost every case he presented himself as a concerned boyfriend trying to get his girlfriend away from an abusive pimp. And he didn't get any advice on how to "cheat" on his taxes. (Brad Friedman did the most thorough debunkings of these videos, and was on the case after the ABC interview).

What O'Keefe claimed happened during his visits to ACORN was not what actually happened...
...
Stephanopoulos later alluded to "critics" who argue that O'Keefe "revised reality for political gain." The ABC host, on the other hand, said: "I have to give you credit for this, on ACORN, you did expose people doing things they shouldn't do."

Stephanopoulos was interrupted by Breitbart: "Is it legal to help set up a prostitution ring in every single office?"

That is also false.

But instead of challenging these inaccuracies, Stephanopoulos defended his own record: "I was one of the few, if not the only journalist, who actually asked President Obama about the ACORN case, so I hold no brief."

And here's FAIR's key conclusion: "O'Keefe's ACORN hoax lives on only because journalists like Stephanopoulos fail to challenge him."

For the record, ABC has not responded to The BRAD BLOG's request for comment or correction which we sent on Tuesday.

  • FAIR's full item is here...
  • The BRAD BLOG's detailed coverage --- including video --- of Stephanopoulos' Tuesday interview is here...
  • ABC's Good Morning America contact page is here...