In the Wake of Philly ACORN Vid, BigGov Calls Out Big Media's Follow-up Failures, Even at Its Own Press Club
That video totally nuked claims by ACORN National and ACORN Philly that O'Keefe and Giles had been "shown the door" and "kicked out" after a "few minutes" in their Philly Office visit -- claims that establishment media outlets continued to repeat even, as shown in the excerpt that follows, after ACORN was proven to have lied about what happened in New York City and San Diego.
Billy Hallowell at BigGovernment.com has a great recap of the not well-known ACORN and media goofs that have occurred since James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles released their first two sting videos (links are in original):
The mainstream media were complicit in their coverage of the ACORN scandal. Their behavior was and continues to be an insult to democracy and journalistic responsibility as the Fourth Estate has ignored facts, engaged in one-sided sourcing, and avoided basic and inherently important journalistic questioning.
.... there were cases of gratuitously sloppy journalism. Some of the outlets that did cover the story simply skipped over basic interview questions. In several instances, Bertha Lewis made the false claim that the filmmakers were turned away in “dozens of cities.” In a CNN interview with Rick Sanchez, Lewis said, “…the filmmakers went to dozens of offices. They were turned away.” In a more flagrant example of corroborating untruths, Lewis reiterated her “dozens” on MSNBC, stating, “…They were thrown out of dozens of offices. And, in fact, in Philadelphia, we called the police, filed a police report.”
Similarly, Wolf Blitzer, failed to adequately question Lewis. While on his show, Lewis made the following statement: “This sort of notorious crew went around to dozens of our offices. What you don’t see are the offices that threw them out… offices that filed police complaints.”
The lack of depth of these interviews with Lewis has been egregious. Upon hearing of the “dozens,” even the most unseasoned journalist would know to ask, “What were the cities where filmmakers were thrown out?” And, what about the police reports (plural) that were filed by multiple “offices”? Like Sanchez’s treatment of the “dozens,” Blitzer failed to ask for a list of cities that took such action. Lewis was granted a free pass, as no probing questions were asked about the issues in question.
.... On Sept. 12, just two days after the Maryland tape was made public, Lewis released a statement on ACORN’s Web site, writing, “This recent scam, which was attempted in San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia to name a few places, had failed for months before the results we’ve all recently seen.”Following subsequent video releases, New York and San Diego were dropped from ACORN’s list of cities where the filmmakers were allegedly “turned away” and the aforementioned statement was removed from ACORN’s Web site, thus erasing evidence of inconsistency.
Along the way, as Hallowell notes, both the Associated Press and the Washington Post smeared O'Keefe with a false charge of racism and then quietly corrected those assertions after their slanderous seeds had been planted (sound familiar?).
But the press let Bertha Lewis tell that same lie and others all over again (bold is mine) -- and at the National Press Club:
Despite the fact that Bertha Lewis’ credibility had been completely compromised on September 14th with with the release of the New York ACORN investigation (not to mention the San Diego videos released on Sept. 17), she was granted a forum with The National Press Club on Oct. 6; the conference was broadcast on C-SPAN.
In that presser, Lewis used the debunked information from the Associated Press and Washington Post articles that had since been corrected. Yes, the NPC gave her a platform to continue touting untruths that were previously purveyed by the supine media. She said, “O’Keefe, himself, told The Washington Post, ‘They’re registering too many minorities. They usually vote Democratic. Somebody’s got to stop them’…”
... The ACORN story has, once again, shown the media’s inability to fulfill its duties.
There's evidence that the establishment media's negligence involves more than "inability." It may be downright full-court defense.
The Washington Post and the Associated Press know full well that O'Keefe never said what they claim he said, which is why they issued corrections. But it's important to recall that both organizations only deigned to issue corrections after intense pressure from this site's parent, the Media Research Center, and other watchdog groups.
Now Lewis has told the same lie, yet she hasn't been called out by either organization. Both media outlets are clearly content to allow Lewis to prop herself up by not challenging her.
More evidence of complicity is at the National Press Club's web site, where one can still find the video of Lewis's lying October 6 speech without any indication of its proven shortcomings.
At the beginning of that video, you'll see an introduction of Lewis by Bloomberg's Jonathan D. Salant. If you can endure it (brace yourself), you'll find that his intro sounds more like a combination press release/sales brochure instead of the "we've asked her to come here to defend herself" lead-in that would have been appropriate in the circumstances.
That the slanted Salant would make such a fawning introduction should not surprise anyone familiar with his work. This is the same guy who tried to turn lemonades into lemons in early October by pretending that a Quinnipiac poll showing that voters oppose ObamaCare was bad news for Republicans.
A little more digging on Salant reveals that:
"I grew up during the protests for civil rights and the Vietnam War and I saw what journalists were doing,'' he said, explaining that becoming a journalist was a "chance to make the world a better place."
Now Salant's health care poll mischaracterization and fawning Lewis introduction make perfect sense. "What journalists were doing" during the Vietnam era was lying about the war's progress, embarrassing generals by "cleverly" re-editing their interviews out of sequence, and idealizing those wishing for Vietnam's fall.
It would appear that in Salant's world, as with the 1960s journalists he is said to admire, setting aside the truth and promoting radicals are integral components of "improving the world."
No wonder ACORN's free establishment press pass continues.
A revised version of this post appeared at BizzyBlog.com earlier today.