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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...
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...
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...
...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...
"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]:
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....
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?
From Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation last Monday on "The Rightwing Witch Hunt Against ACORN":
From Detroit's Metro Times last Wednesday in "Pimps, weasels and ACORN: The truth is slowly catching up with the smears":
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...
"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...
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...
From BRAD BLOG commenter "Billy" as posted in response to our breaking coverage Wednesday night of the Congressional legislation to defund ACORN in the wake of the "pimp" hoax videos, having been declared in federal court to have been an unconstitutional bill of attainder...
Boy, if this keeps up, people will start thinking ACORN was targeted because Republicans simply hate black people.
But we know that's not true. They also hate women with jobs, happy gay people, miserable poor people, all people in need of medical attention, intelligent people who happen to speak one of them foreign languages, intelligent people in general, all people who live near high-yield oilfields, all people who oppose wars of aggression, people with unfavorable views of torturing non-Caucasians, people who wonder who's been listening in on our phone conversations and browsing our library lists, people who still believe in habeas corpus, people who don't use the U.S. flag as bling, and people who don't even exist --- like Murphy Brown.
But let us not jump to conclusions. There's always a good explanation.
The New York Times "was duped" and "refuses to own up to mistakes in the paper's coverage" of the now-infamous ACORN "pimp" hoax video tapes published by partisan Rightwing activists James O'Keefe, Hannah Giles, and Andrew Breitbart.
That coverage, according to a devastating, no-holds barred, well-documented action alert issued today by the decades-old media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), was "wildly misleading" as a result of the paper having "decide[d] to skip the standard rules of journalism."
FAIR has been covering bias in the media since 1986 and today's detailed action alert calls on the "paper of record" to issue retractions, apologies, and explanations for their repeatedly incorrect and uncritical coverage of the Rightwing ACORN "pimp" hoax videos.
The group also excoriates New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt's often-absurd emailed justifications to The BRAD BLOG for refusing to recommend the paper issue retractions and apologies, as they decry: "It is hard to believe that Hoyt actually believes what he's saying here."
Finally, FAIR's analysis of the reportage, videos, and transcripts comes to the damning conclusion: "The videos were in fact a hoax, and the Times was duped. Its readers deserve to know as much--and ACORN, which suffered serious political damage as a result of the false stories, deserves an apology."
They ask readers, as we have for many weeks, to contact the Times' Public Editor Hoyt to "recommend that the paper investigate the ACORN videos and produce a report that clarifies the record"...
Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” - Mark Twain
"All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men to do nothing." -Edmund Burke
In a society increasingly dominated by dictatorial and corrupt corporate wealth and power, a collection of community organizations, The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), steps forward to become the voice of the most vulnerable of our citizens --- the poor and lower-middle class. It is a national coalition which not only strives to insure that these otherwise atomized and powerless masses retain and exercise their equal right to vote, but a caring organization which seeks a living wage for all citizens; that tries to protect them from predatory lenders and phony foreclosure assistance scams.
At a time when the heartless and uncaring Bush/Cheney cabal left thousands of our fellow citizens to sink or swim in a toxic soup of petrochemicals, flood waters and decaying bodies, ACORN, according to the Congressional Research Service [PDF], stepped forward to assist "in the clean-up of 1,850 homes and" organized "10,000 hurricane survivors into the ACORN Katrina Survivors Association."
So it comes as no surprise that ACORN has become the target of a years-long relentless right-wing assault, most recently spearheaded by the likes of accused federal felon James O'Keefe and his serial dissembling employer and publisher, Andrew Breitbart. Neither is it a surprise that the phony pimp's video hit pieces emerged on Rupert Murdoch's own Fox "News" Channel, which Robert Greenwald so forcefully demonstrated was but the propaganda arm of the GOP in Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism.
It is, however, slightly more surprising, and certainly most noteworthy, that now that they've been exposed as hoaxes, even Murdoch's own New York Post was forced to describe the doctored tapes as a "'heavily edited' splice job that only made it appear as though the organization's workers were advising a pimp and prostitute on how to get a mortgage...[with] many of the seemingly crime-encouraging answers...taken out of context so as to appear more sinister."
What is truly disturbing, however, is that this concocted tale would be unquestioningly accepted as legitimate by the corporate media and by Congress, which, in their rush to mollify the noisy hard-right, displayed a profound ignorance of basic concepts of fundamental fairness and due process of law.
ACORN was prematurely and inappropriately tried and convicted in the press and in Congress, without so much as a single hearing, vis a vis a grotesque and shameful word-of-mouth propaganda lynch job unseen since the days of Joseph McCarthy, the disgraced, right-wing demagogue who misused his powerful perch in the U.S. Senate to smear "loyal Americans as disloyal" and who falsely "charged that the government was being undermined from within"...
Much more soon on Rightwing propagandist Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keefe's quickly unraveling ACORN "Pimp" Hoax, just how much of a hoax it really was, how the media and Democrats shamefully failed their due diligence in reporting and/or acting on it, and coverage of a lot of new commentary on it all that has been coming in rapidly from the Left, Right, and Other over the last week or so.
Until then --- and as we still wait for Breitbart and O'Keefe to release the unedited versions of the videos which they've charged for six months demonstrate serious crimes they apparently don't want to show us, and while we continue to wait for the embarrassingly discredited hard rightwing L.A. County District Attorney Patrick Frey, who blogs pseudonymously as "Patterico" both at his own site and in comments at The BRAD BLOG and at Breitbart's websites, to explain how it is that as a Deputy D.A. he's authenticated the "unedited audio" that he claims proves some form of criminality by ACORN that neither the Brooklyn D.A. nor the former MA Attorney General [PDF] nor the Congressional Research Service have been able to find --- here is a short, instructive video worth a quick look.
It's from 2007 and demonstrates just how simple it is to edit raw video in order to show something other than what actually occurred...
The lessons above are worth keeping in mind given last week's Brookyn D.A. finding that the O'Keefe/Giles/Breitbart Brooklyn video shows "no criminality," and that, as reported in Rupert Murdoch's own New York Post was "a 'heavily edited" splice job" where the low-level ACORN Housing employee's "seemingly crime-encouraging answers were taken out of context so as to appear more sinister," and as the New York Daily News similarly reported a NY law enforcement official last week confirming that O'Keefe and Giles "edited the tape to meet their agenda."
Meanwhile, the "paper of record," the New York Times, which grossly misreported the story time and again, is, as The BRAD BLOG originally reported, and as Katrina Vanden Heuvel at The Nation reminds us today, still standing by its damaging and inaccurate coverage of the entire ACORN "Pimp" Hoax.
As mentioned, much more coming soon...
Given her own history of documented voter fraud felonies, you'd think Ann Coulter would want to stay away from the whole ACORN issue (particularly since there is no evidence that, unlike her, they've ever committed any).
But Coulter just can't help herself, I guess, as evidenced by her column last week, dutifully reprinted by "Andrew Breitbart Presents...Big Journalism" in the wake of the Brooklyn D.A.'s finding of "no criminality" seen in the Brooklyn ACORN "pimp" hoax videos, and even Rupert Murdoch's own New York Post reporting the videos as a "'heavily edited' splice job" with "seemingly crime-encouraging answers...taken out of context so as to appear more sinister."
So what did Coulter do to shore up the wingnut hoax that is falling apart faster than Andrew Breitbart himself? She quoted some "seemingly crime-encouraging answers" from the video, "out of context so as to appear more sinister," naturally. And, even more naturally, those folks who have been played and conned by "Andrew Breitbart Presents...Big Journalism" and "Andrew Breitbart Presents...Big Government," etc., ate it all up...
Earlier this week, the Brooklyn D.A. concluded a five-month investigation of the Brooklyn ACORN videos, finding "no criminality." Following the release of the findings, Rupert Murdoch's own New York Post, of all places, reported it this way:
The video that unleashed a firestorm of criticism on the activist group ACORN was a "heavily edited" splice job that only made it appear as though the organization's workers were advising a pimp and prostitute on how to get a mortgage, sources said yesterday.
Many of the seemingly crime-encouraging answers were taken out of context so as to appear more sinister, sources said.
Using similar language, the New York Daily News reported a law enforcement source as noting: "They edited the tape to meet their agenda."
The New York Times, the so-called "paper of record," while reporting that the DA found no criminality, offered no such coverage of the DA's office explaining that the videos were deceptively and misleading edited and promoted as if they revealed something they actually didn't. The language used by Times reporter Andy Newman even appears to defy the paper's own Public Editor Clark Hoyt's recommendation --- as he shared it with me via email personally --- to "avoid language that says or suggests that O'Keefe was dressed as a pimp when he captured the ACORN employees on camera." (More specific details on that in my post from yesterday.)
In the meantime, as the Times continues to fail, last night Stephen Colbert mocked the entire ACORN "pimp" hoax as we've been revealing it over the last several weeks and, along with it, James O'Keefe, Andrew Breitbart, Fox "News" --- and, yes, indirectly, the New York Times --- by sharing his own "exclusive," damning, and heavily-edited video interview...
Related: Yesterday ACORN launched a campaign to fight back and "Demand Accountability" from the Times and the other media outlets that have grotesquely misreported this story and have still failed to correct their damagingly inaccurate coverage. More on that campaign and how you can add your voice to it, right here...
Following on our weeks-long coverage here at The BRAD BLOG, and at other sites who've similarly jumped in demanding accountability from the New York Times, ACORN itself is now launching a "Letter to the Editor" campaign to "Demand Accountability" from the paper for their repeated misreporting of the James O'Keefe/Andrew Breitbart ACORN "pimp" hoax.
An email blast is being sent to "over 100,000 ACORN supporters" today, according to spokesman Kevin Whelan, calling on them to "send an email to the Times' Public Editor and tell him to retract the Times' erroneous reporting about O'Keefe and ACORN."
The community group's heavily-footnoted email blast, signed by "CEO and Chief Organizer" Bertha Lewis, quotes several articles from The BRAD BLOG's detailed coverage, including NYTimes Public Editor Clark Hoyt's outrageous emailed justifications for refusing to recommend the paper correct its multiple misreports.
"Can you tell Clark Hoyt, The New York Times' Public Editor, that The Times needs to retract its past ACORN stories and report the truth about the anti-ACORN sting operation from now on?" the email campaign asks [emphasis in original] before chiding Hoyt for refusal to "see that a correction is in order, because that would require conclusive evidence that The Times was wrong, which I haven't seen."
The BRAD BLOG, however, has indeed shown "conclusive evidence" to Hoyt that the paper was wrong, and even Hannah Giles (who played the fake prostitute) and even Andrew Breitbart (who published the videos to help launch his new BigGovernment.com website) have both now admitted that the reports of James O'Keefe dressing as a "pimp" in the offices of ACORN were flat out wrong.
Whelan says the group is "asking people to contact either the New York Times OR their local paper and ask for a correction to the erroneous reporting regarding O'Keefe and his video scams."
"Bradblog and a handful of online writers have been way ahead in looking at the facts on this story," Whelan wrote, "just as you were in exposing the great voter fraud fraud in 2006." (Our indexed coverage of that particular Rightwing fraud campaign is here.)
More from Whelan's email to The BRAD BLOG:
The ACORN email blast to supporters also notes that the New York Daily News had the decency to report on a law enforcement source who noted Monday that "they edited the tape to meet their agenda," following the conclusion of the Brooklyn D.A.'s finding of "no criminality" after a five-month investigation of Brooklyn ACORN tapes.
Moreover, even Rupert Murdoch's New York Post reported on the finding, noting the D.A. described the video as a "'heavily edited' splice job" where "many of the seemingly crime-encouraging answers were taken out of context so as to appear more sinister."
And yet, the New York Times, the "paper of record," continues to misreport the story, even in the wake of the D.A.'s finding, as we detailed last night.
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