Norah O'Donnell: ACORN Video 'Might Be Viewed As Entrapment'

Entrapment n. In criminal law, the act of law enforcement officers or government agents inducing or encouraging a person to commit a crime when the potential criminal expresses a desire not to go ahead. The key to entrapment is whether the idea for the commission or encouragement of the criminal act originated with the police or government agents instead of with the "criminal."

It's turning into quite the morning for NBCers to defend the left on Morning Joe . . .

First, Chuck Todd flatly rejected the notion that the MSM failed to adequately report on Van Jones, suggesting coverage would have been a waste of time.  Later, Norah O'Donnell came on and suggested that the video of the ACORN employees giving advice on how to evade the tax laws in setting up a brothel with young illegal aliens "might be viewed as entrapment." [H/t FReeper mimaw.]

O'Donnell was careful to disassociate herself from ACORN's actions, saying her comments were "in no way defending what was indefensible, what these particular ACORN employees were doing."  But O'Donnell didn't report that others were alleging entrapment: she offered it as her own possible analysis of the situation.

Let's leave aside the fact that, as per the definition, only government employees and not private citizens can engage in entrapment.  Even applying the spirit of the definition to the facts at hand, it is clear that no entrapment occurred.  Readers are encouraged to view any of the videos, as here.  The people shooting the video didn't have to twist the ACORNites' arms.  Nor did they propose to them any particular tax scheme that the ACORN employees reluctantly endorsed.  To the contrary, they presented their situation, and the ACORN tax expert eagerly suggested how they might set up their criminal enterprise.

As with Todd, Joe and Mika were clearly skeptical . . .

NORAH O'DONNELL: I think it should be noted to be fair, though, that this might be viewed as entrapment.  That some conservative activists used hidden cameras to get this stuff on camera.

. . .

JOE SCARBOROUGH: They can talk about entrapment all they want.  Three different offices: Baltimore, Washington, New York, specifically Mika, were giving these people advice, telling them how to break laws, how to lie to the IRS, how to set up prostitution rings.  I mean, I don't know that that's entrapment.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: I don't think that's entrapment!
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.