New York Times media reporter David Carr's profile of the late Andrew Breitbart, "The Provocateur" was a slightly hostile look at the life and influence of the sleepless conservative activist, that included this unnecessary and petty parenthetical stab: "For good or ill (and most would say ill), no one did it like Mr. Breitbart."
Powell, a well-known opponent of former New York City Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a Metro reporter, portrayed methods that have an honored place in investigative journalism as "dirty tricks" when done by young conservative activists. While admitting ACORN did wrong, he chalked it up to stupidity, as if there was nothing sinister about giving a pimp advice on how to falsify taxes to conceal a prostitution ring.
Former Catholic seminarian and left-wing radio host Bill Press took to his eponymous program today and devoted significant attention to the death of conservative blogger and author Andrew Breitbart. It was not all positive, although he did feature guests who had kind things to say about Breitbart's impact on Internet journalism.
"Raised a Catholic, I was taught the great phrase 'Necal [sic] nisi bonum*' you don’t say anything about the dead unless you’re saying good things about the dead. Well, then I should say nothing about Andrew Breitbart because I can’t think of one good thing to say about him." [MP3 clip here]
Anyone who saw what the Associated Press wrote when former Bush 43 press secretary Tony Snow died in 2008 (original AP article; related NewsBusters post) knew that the wire service would do what it could to subtly distort Andrew Breitbart's considerable accomplishments in exposing leftist hatred, duplicity, and criminality. The only question was what form(s) it would take.
Not surprisingly, reporters/distorters Philip Elliott and Sue Manning misrepresented or omitted key elements of the three episodes for which Breitbart will be best remembered -- the James O'Keefe-led ACORN stings; Shirley Sherrod, Pigford lawsuit opportunist; and his exposure (so to speak) of former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner's sleazy online escapades. The 11:44 a.m. version of their report (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purporses) was bad enough. In their 1:56 p.m. revision (saved here), perhaps egged on by the vitriol which has been posted all day at leftist sites, they descended into cheap-shot name-calling adjectives which would rarely if ever be used to describe activist leftists. In his opening hour today, Rush Limbaugh covered some of what happened during the three key episodes; I will expand on them later in the post:
Despite slipping mostly under the radar, John Stossel disclosed something on his FBN program last Thursday that should have garnered a lot more attention.
As he chatted with guest Andrew Breitbart, Stossel admitted that the conservative publisher had offered him the James O'Keefe/Hannah Giles/ACORN scoop, but the former ABC Newser declined due to politics at the network he used to work for (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Leftist community organizing group ACORN "should pay back $3.2 million in federal funding, mostly because it hasn't shown that its lead-removal work was performed at a reasonable cost," the Associated Press's Kevin Freking reported today. "The auditors also said that some of the grant money was spent inappropriately."
"Congress has cut off ACORN's federal funding after allegations of voter registration fraud and embezzlement. The group began closing its operations in March," Freking noted.
After all the front-page caterwauling about “anonymous donors” supposedly “buying the election” by running ads favoring the GOP this election cycle, the New York Times isn’t showing itself overly concerned about actual cases of potential vote fraud involving Democrats.
In his Wednesday story “Fraudulent Voting Re-emerges as a Partisan Issue.” reporter Ian Urbina quickly dismissed concerns about vote fraud from “conservative activists,” claiming that 2006 accusations from the same quarters “turned out to be largely false.”
In 2006, conservative activists repeatedly claimed that the problem of people casting fraudulent votes was so widespread that it was corrupting the political process and possibly costing their candidates victories.
The accusations turned out to be largely false, but they led to a heated debate, with voting rights groups claiming that the accusations were crippling voter registration drives and squelching turnout.
CNN's Abbie Boudreau omitted the left-wing ideology of discredited organization ACORN in her hour-long documentary on young conservative activists, "Right on the Edge," which aired Saturday evening. Boudreau also labeled Ryan Sorba, one of the subjects of her documentary, "anti-gay," and gave an overgeneralized account of an incident which Sorba took part in.
The correspondent profiled Christian Hartsock, who "directs films with a conservative message;" author Jason Mattera; "anti-abortion activist" Lila Rose; Sorba; and Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe, who "dressed up as a prostitute and a pimp to expose ACORN." Seven minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour, as Boudreau introduced Giles, she noted that "there's a reason Hannah Giles became an overnight sweetheart of the conservative Movement. In September 2009, she and James O'Keefe used hidden cameras to expose ACORN." The CNN correspondent then gave a very sparse and favorable description of the group: "ACORN helps low-income people register to vote, find housing, and file taxes."
On Wednesday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez implied that Fox News played some kind of part in James O'Keefe's attempted "punk" of correspondent Abbie Boudreau: "The same right-wing videographer, who entrapped and embarrassed innocent people in the past, tries it again- this time on a CNN correspondent....How could he try something so stupid, and what was Fox News's role?" [audio clip available here]
Sanchez made this parting shot at his longstanding nemesis on the last prime time edition of his show, as the 8 pm time slot on CNN is being taken over on October 4 by a new program featuring former New York governor and "Client Number Nine" Eliot Spitzer and pseudo-conservative Kathleen Parker. The anchor raised his implying question about the apparent "role" of Fox News during the lead-in to his program. Instead of making a direct accusation against Fox News, as he did in the aftermath of the murders of three Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania police officers in April 2009, he replayed an earlier interview with Boudreau from the top of the 4 pm Eastern hour of his program.
Rachel Maddow on Friday highly-edited a video from the previous evening's "O'Reilly Factor" in order to make the Fox News host look racist.
For some background, Bill O'Reilly wrote a syndicated column Friday in which he chastized Maddow and David Letterman for "without a shred of evidence" claiming on CBS's "Late Show" Tuesday that FNC intentionally runs stories about "scary black people" in order to frighten white folks into voting for conservatives.
Maddow responded by calling this "bullpucky," and presented video "evidence" from "Factor" programs to prove that this indeed is what Fox does.
Unfortunately, in the most damning clip, Maddow's minions conveniently edited out that O'Reilly was referring to a recent Gallup poll about how blacks and whites have differing views of President Obama.
Ironically, this came moments after Maddow scolded O'Reilly for airing the edited version of former USDA official Shirley Sherrod on his July 19 program (videos follow with transcripts and commentary):
Last Thursday, USA Today bizarrely found a silver lining to the recession: more people walking into welfare offices means more Democrat votes in November.
You see, Americans living in poverty are more likely to support Democrats yet less likely to vote. But never fear - ACORN came along to save the day. The liberal group won a major lawsuit in the battleground state of Ohio just in time for 2010 to assure that more welfare recipients register to vote.
Of course, USA Today didn't actually admit that it was ACORN and didn't explain the particulars of the lawsuit, but no matter. We have Democrats to save here.
Note that the incident took place "last week," according to the linked BigGovernment.com post, which means that Etheridge didn't see the need for an apology until the video went viral.
So ... who does the intrepid Associated Press attempt to go to for comment? The Congressman? Apparently not, as you will see; the AP must see his "apology" as the end of the story. The person whom Etheridge arguably assaulted? Legal experts, who could weigh in on whether the congressman could be arrested and and charged? House or Democratic Party colleagues? No-no-no.
Get a load, in the final paragraph of what will probably end up being a brief initial report, of who the AP believes owes it a comment first and foremost:
Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos lectured James O'Keefe on Tuesday, deriding, "And some of your critics say that you're more of a political activist than a journalist..." [Audio available here.]
The Good Morning America host, and former aide to Bill Clinton, quizzed the conservative investigative journalist and dismissed, "So, you're a conservative activist, not a journalist."
Stephanopoulos, who also worked for Michael Dukakis' 1988 presidential campaign, repeatedly chided O'Keefe over an aborted undercover investigation into Senator Mary Landrieu.
Durring a protest against the Arizona immigration law and for open borders, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis was arrested. Apparently she believes in purposely breaking the law in order to advocate for those that purposely break U.S. immigration laws.
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
During a speech to the winter conference of the Young Democratic Socialists the site Verum Serum found that ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis praised socialism and attacked conservatives. She even goes so far as to say that today's political atmosphere is worse than McCarthyism, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and Jim Crow segregation:
And you thought a couple of plucky young conservative activists with a camera brought down ACORN. Nope. It's the arch-conservative New York Times that did in the noble community organizing group, or so says The Huffington Post in "Why ACORN Fell: The Times, Lies, and Videotape."
"Because of its pivotal role in bringing down ACORN," Peter Drier and John Atlas wrote in their March 24 editorial, "the Times owes the group an apology and the public a commitment to assign an experienced journalist to cover the complex world of community organizing, whose diverse practitioners mobilize poor and middle class people to win a voice in local, state, and national politics."
The New York Times, the two maintained, were complicit in ACORN's "framing."
The authors took particular issue with the following excerpt from Clark Hoyt's March 21 article: "It remains a fascinating story. To conservatives, Acorn is virtually a criminal organization that was guilty of extensive voter registration fraud in 2008. To its supporters, Acorn is a community service organization that has helped millions of disadvantaged Americans by organizing to confront powerful institutions like banks and developers."
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has announced that it is disbanding.
Though the hard-leftists that formed or were running it are likely to show up in some other venue and perhaps in a successor organization down the road (Update: or perhaps burrow themselves into the government, as NB commenter "Hunter 12" suggests), this is a moment to savor. Two twenty-somethings, acting entirely on their own, assisted later by a skilled mentor who knew the value of their work and how to maximize the mileage to be gained from it, brought down what had turned into a pretentious, intimidating, fraud-riddled wing of the Democratic Party's get out the vote effort. All that remains -- frankly more than should be allowed to remain -- is ACORN Housing Corporation. According to USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, whose related article is behind its subscription wall, is saying that ACORN Housing "has a separate budget and board."
In one last act of sympathy, most of the press is giving ACORN's leaders a chance to vent without rebuttal and in some cases supplying their own sour grapes. Here are some examples:
Who knew that two brave twenty-somethings and a skilled mentor constituted America's entire right wing?
That's apparently how Ian Urbina at the New York Times sees it. In a subheadline employed in a front-page article in the paper's March 20 print edition (relevant portion shown at right) but not used in the online edition's version, the reporter told readers that the poor, put-upon Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is on the brink of bankruptcy because it was "ATTACKED BY" the streamrolling monolith known at "THE RIGHT" (cue the scare music and the blood-curdling scream).
Actually, it was filmmaker James O'Keefe, his investigative partner Hannah Giles, and Andrew Breitbart, the pair's take-no-prisoners mentor. Three people, hardly "the right wing," basically did it all. What followed -- the de-fundings, the abandonments by former political and corporate friends, and now apparently its imminent financial demise -- was largely inevitable fallout from a brilliantly conceived series of stings followed by a savvily managed exposure campaign that ultimately forced holdout establishment media publications, including the Times itself, to play catch-up after days of embarrassing unprofessional silence.
Obviously, that's not how Urbina sees it, occasionally with barely concealed bitterness (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The Associated Press seems to have two unwritten rules on how and when to write stories about leftist controversies and setbacks:
Rule Number 1 -- Do little or nothing with the story until you can figure out a way to make center-right critics or victors look like the bad guys.
Rule Number 2 -- If you're thinking about covering the story any other way, refer to Rule Number 1.
On Thursday, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law in Columbus, Ohio, which describes itself as "an independent legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse," announced a significant legal victory for Buckeye State residents interested in clean elections:
The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law achieved victory in its state RICO action against the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN). ACORN has agreed to settle the case and will cease all Ohio activity as a result. In its settlement with the 1851 Center, ACORN agreed to surrender all of its Ohio business licenses by June 1, 2010. Further, the organization cannot support or enable any individual or organization that seeks to engage in the same type of activity.
That seems like a pretty clear-cut result, doesn't it? Not if you're the Associated Press's JoAnne Viviano, whose brief item on Saturday followed the rules above, fabricated a supposed loophole in the settlement, and gave an unnamed spokesman an open mic to despicably play the race card:
In a week where several news outlets recognized significant happenings involving the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), the Associated Press seems to have decided that none of them merit mention. A search on "acorn" at the AP's main site returns the following:
This search doesn't completely eliminate the possibility that AP ran local or regional stories, but I didn't locate any in a Google News search on "ACORN."
What follows is a small sample of other coverage generated as a result of goings-on at ACORN during the past week. Readers can decide whether the wire service has decided that recognizing negative news about a scandal-ridden "progressive" organization is a bad idea:
On Monday’s The O’Reilly Factor on FNC, during the show’s regular "Reality Check" segment, host Bill O’Reilly highlighted video of President Obama from 2007 in which he bragged about having a close association with the recently discredited left-wing group ACORN. O’Reilly introduced the clip, which can be viewed at HotAirPundit, by crediting California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa with finding the video: "President Obama has avoided the subject of ACORN ever since that activist group got into a lot of trouble. But there is a new tape, recorded in 2007, and discovered by Republican Congressman Darrell Issa’s office. The tape is heavily edited, so keep that in mind."
The FNC host then played clips of Obama in which the then-Senator declared himself to be a "friend" of ACORN, and, as he invited the group’s "input," he promised that "You don’t have to ask me about that. I’m going to call you even if you didn’t ask me." Obama also asserted that when he ran a voter registration drive in Ilinois, "ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it," and declared that he had "been always a partner" with the liberal group while he was in the Senate.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, February 22, The O’Reilly Factor on FNC:
Why, you get hired by Uncle Sam at what is probably a six-figure salary to be a Transportation Department spokesperson. Isn't that obvious?
The person involved is one Olivia Alair, whose name has appeared several times in the past 24 hours in connection with establishment media stories covering an internal Toyota company presentation turned over to congressional investigators and subsequently leaked to the press. Here are a few examples (previous related NewsBusters posts are here, here, and here):
When the far-left finds a character to assassinate, it doesn't let facts get in the way. That, at least, is the lesson we can draw from the latest bout of liberal character assassination, this one aimed at James O'Keefe.
The slandering of his reputation has occurred mostly at Salon.com, the Village Voice, and an obscure hard-left organization called the One People's Project. Together, they have waged an all-out war on James O'Keefe's character by associating him with supposedly racist people and organizations. Just one problem: their claims are predicated on falsehoods, exaggerations, and assumptions (but mostly just falsehoods).
Max Blumenthal, who penned the Salon piece, and the stalwart non-journalists at OPP (the Village Voice, for its part, issued a mild retraction) alleged that O'Keefe had helped to organize a gathering of "anti-Semites, professional racists and proponents of Aryanism." They also claimed (and produced a cropped picture that could not possibly validate this claim) that O'Keefe had manned the literature table at the event.
Some in the liberal media continue to insist that James O'Keefe and his three cohorts were trying to "bug" or "tap" Sen. Mary Landrieu's phone lines when law enforcement officials have clearly said that they were not. Since the left doesn't like O'Keefe, the liberal media seems to think standard practices of journalistic integrity don't apply here.
According to MSNBC, one law enforcement official, who was not named, said "the four men arrested for attempting to tamper with the phones in the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) were not trying to intercept or wiretap the calls." This statement comports with the affidavit filed in court after O'Keefe and company were arrested, which did not mention wiretapping or bugging, and only referred to the "tampering" of phone lines (h/t Patterico).
But the Boston Globe parroted this false accusation this morning in a gossip blog post about one of the alleged perpetrators, Joe Basel. The Globe--the same Globe that complained about ACORN's "trial-by-video"--called him a "political dirty trickster who was busted in a Watergate-style bugging operation earlier this week," and said again a couple paragraphs later that Basel was "bagged by the feds allegedly trying to bug the phones" in Landrieu's office. At least the Globe writers said "allegedly" the second time.
The Associated Press on Wednesday insinuated there might be a wider conservative plot behind James O’Keefe’s alleged misdeeds at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office, and invoked the Watergate scandal in their lede: “Was it an attempt at political espionage? Or just a third-rate prank? How high did it go? And what did the right wing know and when did they know it?”
In what some Democrats are calling the “Louisiana Watergate,” four young conservative activists — one of them a known political prankster — were arrested this week and accused of trying to tamper with the telephones in Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s New Orleans office.
But two days after their arrest, neither the FBI nor federal prosecutors would say what the defendants were up to or whether they were part of some larger conspiracy....
Update - 1/28, 10:25 AM | Lachlan Markay: Law enforcement officials have clarified that O'Keefe is not being charged with an attempt to wiretap phones. Will Shuster issue a retraction?
It's often said that bias shows through in what journalists decide to cover or not cover. So it was telling when Politico's Michael Calderone tweeted today, "@DavidShuster just said he's off to New Orleans to report on the O'Keefe arrest." "He's giddy," added Mediaite's Steve Krakauer.
Shuster's Twitter account, meanwhile, was lighting up with scorn for activist filmmaker James O'Keefe, who was arrested yesterday after an alleged attempt to tamper with phone lines in an office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). After O'Keefe tweeted, "I am a journalist and the truth will set me free" yesterday, Shuster responded: "a) you are not a journalist b) the truth is you intended to tap her phones c) it's a felony d) you will go to prison."
So Shuster is personally invested in O'Keefe's fate and convinced not only that he tried to tap Sen. Landrieau's phones--a contention that the affidavit does not support, not that that has stopped others in the mainstream media from reporting it as fact--but that he is, without a doubt, guilty.
All three morning shows on Wednesday highlighted the revelation that a conservative activist had been arrested in connection to an attempt to tamper with the phones of Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu. Despite jumping on the "Louisiana Watergate" story only 17 hours after it was first reported, the networks took five days to file full reports on the same James O’Keefe and his undercover footage exposing corruption at ACORN.
On ABC’s Good Morning America, reporter Pierre Thomas recounted O’Keefe’s previous expose, charitably describing ACORN as "an advocacy group which helps the poor." On NBC’s Today, Pete Williams found sinister motives in right-wing outrage at the organization. He sneered, "Because ACORN helped register thousands of low income voters, Republicans pounced." (Could the illegal activities and voter fraud associated with the group have been another reason for GOP attacks?)