ACORN Pimp And Prostitute Going To Trial

O'Keefe and GilesJames O’Keefe And Hannah Giles are being tried for violations of California’s privacy laws. The plaintiff, ACORN employee Juan Carlos Vera, contends that O’Keefe and Giles unlawfully recorded conversations with him that were later edited to misrepresent his remarks.

O’Keefe and Giles filed separate motions to dismiss the case and the court ruled against (pdf) both of them.

O’Keefe claimed that, the California law not withstanding, he had a First Amendment right to surreptitiously record and publish private conversations with anyone he felt like. The court disagreed saying that the law prohibiting recordings to which both parties have not agreed, and for which there was a reasonable expectation of privacy, did not have an exception for the media. The court cited precedent that said:

“…the state may not intrude into the proper sphere of the news media to dictate what they should publish and broadcast, but neither may the media play tyrant to the people by unlawfully spying on them in the name of newsgathering.”

Giles motion contended that she was not liable because O’Keefe was the one doing the recording. This laughable defense misunderstood the law to argue that only the person holding the recording device was liable. But it also demonstrated the shallowness of her loyalty as she quickly heaped all the blame on her partner to save her own skin.

Having ruled against both motions, the pair will go to trial for their offenses. If justice is served this won’t be the only time, and they won’t be the only ones. Ya hear that Andrew Breitbart?

Fake Hooker Hannah Giles Slams Deceptive Filmmaking

Hannah GilesHannah Giles, the partner of right-wing propagandist James O’Keefe, who assumed the role of a prostitute in a series of videos designed to smear ACORN, is very upset about a documentary that she says intends to “shape a narrative that will change public opinion through the use of deception.” This critique will surely go down in the Annals of Irony with Colonel Sanders’ denunciation of animal cruelty.

Giles has taken to Andrew Breitbart’s BigHollywood blog to post a scathing critique of a documentary set to air on PBS’s POV series this fall. It’s called “Better This World” and PBS describes it as…

“The story of Bradley Crowder and David McKay, who were accused of intending to firebomb the 2008 Republican National Convention, is a dramatic tale of idealism, loyalty, crime and betrayal. Better This World follows the radicalization of these boyhood friends from Midland, Texas, under the tutelage of revolutionary activist Brandon Darby. The results: eight homemade bombs, multiple domestic terrorism charges and a high-stakes entrapment defense hinging on the actions of a controversial FBI informant. Better This World goes to the heart of the war on terror and its impact on civil liberties and political dissent in post-9/11 America.”

I haven’t seen this documentary and cannot comment on its presentation or accuracy. But I do find it ironic that Breitbart chose Giles to articulate this preemptive hit piece. It was Giles who gave birth to the ACORN project. She worked closely with O’Keefe to produce a video crockumentary that has since been proven to have been deliberately edited in order to embarrass its subjects and destroy the reputation of an organization they considered to be a political enemy.

Giles is, therefore, poorly suited to be a custodian of journalistic virtue. The only contribution she can offer this discussion is her intimate, personal knowledge of how to produce a dishonest work of fiction and present it as fact. To demonstrate her skill in this area she misrepresents the comments of the two filmmakers by juxtaposing answers to two completely different questions and reversing their chronological order to give the impression that they were related. Then Giles contends that this mash up was an admission on the filmmakers part to falsifying the narrative. Hannah sure knows her stuff.

In addition to the ironic absurdity of relying on someone like Giles to defend documentary integrity, Breitbart commits the sin of failing to disclose a glaring conflict of interest. The “revolutionary activist Brandon Darby,” who is an integral part of the story in the PBS doc, also happens to be a contributor to Breitbart’s web site. But rather than have Darby author his own first-person account of the events, Breitbart hands the job to Giles and nobody mentions Darby’s connection. They are, in effect, disparaging a documentary that they believe is unflattering to one of their associates without disclosing the association.

This is typical of Breitbart’s modus operandi: Lash out viciously at perceived enemies while accusing them of heinous acts that he engages in himself. You have to admire the audacity of Breitbart and Giles stepping up to accuse others of misleadingly editing film. These people have made lying an art form.

Conservatives Gone Wild: CPAC Is All Up In Yo Face

The Conservative Political Action Conference will open tomorrow in Washington, D.C. and it promises to be totally off the hook. For those unable to attend, you might like to hear a bit about what you’ll be missing. Fox News provided this account of the festivities that, this year, will be making a special appeal to young conservatives.

“In a bid to make conservative chic, organizers of the annual meet-up of Republican Party faithful and right-wing firebrands are taking pains this year to gear their summit toward students and the under-30 crowd. Added to the menu are a slew of new media workshops and an entertainment lineup befitting a college campus.”

So what constitutes “chic” to these rightist party planners?

The XPAC Lounge – a room one organizer dubbed the ‘hub of fun.’ That’s where the video games and the junk food will be.”

Well, if the video games and junk food will be there, then so will every young Tea Bagger in America. XPAC (Xtreme Politically Active Conservatives) is a CPAC spinoff created to appeal to America’s youth, whom Glenn Beck regards as useful idiots. That view is apparently shared by XPAC as demonstrated by their obvious contempt for young people. There is a presumption from this crowd that all kids care about is Wii, Xbox and Guitar Hero and, of course, Pizza, Cheetohs, and beer. They certainly aren’t interested in mundane pursuits like economics, foreign affairs, health care, education, etc. XPAC actually promotes their sideshow (which costs $20.00 on top of the conference registration) as…

“…a place to hang while the older crowd attends the high-priced nightly dinners.”

So it’s the kiddie table. And what about that “entertainment lineup befitting a college campus?” Did they snag Cage the Elephant or Dane Clark? Nope. Try Ann Coulter, Michael Steele and the Young Cons, a couple of white, Christians in business suits trying to rap. And then there was this enticing news from CPAC spokesman Ian Walters:

“I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody of Joe the Plumber stature came in three times a day to come in and rally the kids.”

Seriously? Stature? All the kids I know would be having fits if they thought they might be within arms reach of Joey the P. He’s so dreamy. And add to this roster of stars
Fox News BoratACORN-busting hooker and Fox News porn star, Hannah Giles. She and her pimp, James O’Keefe, will be receiving the “1st Annual XPAC Award for Impact.” But O’Keefe first has to get his parole officer’s permission in order to attend, as he was arrested in a senator’s office recently on potential felony charges. Now that’s impact. Giles will be introducing the pair’s mentor, Andrew Breitbart for the morning keynote disinformation.

Organizers are anxious to attract more young conservatives who, they say, are are “proving more adept at using new media.” They say that the conference agenda reflects that “fact” because it includes workshops and sessions on blogging and using Twitter. The obvious question is, if they are already more adept, then why do they need these workshops?

In addition to the must-see lineup above, you won’t want to miss Tom Tancredo, fresh from the Tea Baggers convention where he proposed reinstating literacy tests for voting and other racist Jim Crow-era atrocities. Gary Kreep will be on hand for the Birther contingent. Kreep was the lead council for Birther activist, “Rev.” Wiley Drake, who was also notable for his encouragement of prayers for the death of President Obama. Kreep is also the proprietor of the DefendGlenn web site that was a response to the wildly successful advertiser boycott of Beck’s show on Fox. And speaking of Beck, he will be giving the closing keynote speech on Saturday night to tie together all of the racism, birtherism, secessionism, militarism, and assorted propaganda that was dispensed throughout the conference. That’ll be the time to really get your paranoia on.

Prospective Republican presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum, will all be attending. The only one missing is Sarah Palin, who declined to attend in favor of the Tea Bagging in Nashville. Although why she could not do both is a mystery. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the Tea Baggers paid her a hundred grand and the CPACers offered her zilch. Appearing under those circumstances is just not the American way.

ACORN’s “Pimp” Pinched By FBI In Wiretap Plot

Breaking news from New Orleans, Louisiana:

“Alleging a plot to wiretap Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office in the Hale Boggs Federal Building in downtown New Orleans, the FBI arrested four people Monday, including James O’Keefe, a conservative filmmaker whose undercover videos at ACORN field offices severely damaged the advocacy group’s credibility.”

For those who don’t recall, O’Keefe, along with his hooker pal, Hannah Giles, unlawfully videotaped ACORN representatives so that they could deceptively edit their footage to deliberately slander the organization. It should come as no surprise that someone so brazenly criminal would violate the law again to manufacture his fake news stories. It is nice to see that the FBI is enforcing the law. I assume that all good law-and-order Republicans will agree that it is unacceptable to plant bugs in senators’ offices.

While ACORN’s credibility was indeed damaged by the phony “journalists,” they were subsequently exonerated by an independent investigation headed by Scott Harshbarger, the former Attorney General of Massachusetts. Even an attempt by Congress to prohibit funding to the group, despite no charges against them having been proven (or even brought), was reversed by a court that deemed the action an unlawful bill of attainder.

O’Keefe and company have a long association with right-wing media. They were mentored by Matt Drudge apprentice, Andrew Breitbart. It was on Breitbart’s BigGovernment web site that the ACORN videos were first made public. Oddly enough, at this time BigGovernment has no mention of their favorite pimp’s arrest. There is a link on to a story in the Associated Press that does not mention any names, although the names are available in other news accounts and in the arrest affidavit.

Fox News is another friend of O’Keefe. In fact, it is the only television “news” service that O’Keefe would grant an interview to. Both O’Keefe and Giles appeared several times on Fox News, but nowhere else. Fox News hyped the ACORN story incessantly. On one day last year they featured sixteen separate stories on the subject on their Fox Nation web site. Fox Nation even helped to solicit donations for a Hannah Giles Defense Fund.

What remains to be seen is the extent to which there may be other unknown accomplices. Is Breitbart in on this? Or Glenn Beck? Could Fox News have encouraged this action to manufacture a news story they could exploit? It has been a while since the ACORN scandal, the Tea Bagger uprising, or any other of the sensationalistic events that Fox likes to promote.

One thing for sure is that O’Keefe’s defenders cannot claim that this is the result of Obama’s henchmen going after him in retribution for the ACORN affair. After all, these guys were caught red-handed in a senator’s office tampering with the phone equipment. On second thought, the right will almost certainly claim persecution. They will somehow blame liberals, Obama, or George Soros. It’s not like they ever needed facts to support their assertions in the past.

[Update] Breitbart comments: “We have no knowledge about or connection to any alleged acts and events involving James O’Keefe at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office,” said Breitbart. “We only just learned about the alleged incident this afternoon. We have no information other than what has been reported publicly by the press. Accordingly, we simply are not in a position to make any further comment.”

Not much of a comment, and not much more than you would expect even if he were involved. At least he has the story posted on his “Big” web sites now (same AP story on both).

Addendum: As if being a felon isn’t bad enough, O’Keefe also fraternizes with racists and anti-Semites.

The News Corpse 2009 Retro-Speculum

Looking back on 2009 can be a harrowing experience. There has been much that many people would rather not recollect. It was a year that began with dreadful economic suffering. From there it went on to unprecedented political division, animosity, and disappointment from virtually every perspective. And it ended with a reminder of our vulnerability to violent extremists at home and abroad. For that reason, like the mythical Medusa, it may be best not to look back on 2009 directly.

Nevertheless, News Corpse has compiled some moments that, for our own good, ought not to be forgotten.

SPINCOMMedia Malfeasance of the Year:
SPINCOM. In 2008, David Barstow wrote an article for the New York Times detailing how television news programs were employing Pentagon-trained military analysts to promote the Bush administration’s agenda for an unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq. In 2009, that article won a Pulitzer prize, a Golden Keyboard from the New York Press Association, and an Emmy nomination. Yet the article and its author never once appeared on television to discuss it. Despite Barstow’s many accolades and awards, the story was blackballed by the same TV producers who hired the phony pundits (who were also enriching themselves as consultants for the military contractors who benefited from the war). And by refusing to report on one of the most egregious examples of propaganda ever directed at the American people by their government, they also covered up their own complicity in cheerleading for the war.

2010 Prediction:
Someone famous will die while fleeing from police in a high-speed TV chase after being caught cheating on a spouse for a new reality show.

ACORN: Pimp. Prostitute, BoratThe Pimp & The Prostitute
What passes for journalism took a huge hit in 2009 when a couple of rightist activists dressed up for a Halloween expose on what they regarded as America’s most feared enemy: community organizers. James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles played the roles they were made for, a pimp and a whore, as they visited offices of ACORN. The results were dishonestly edited videos that were played incessantly on Fox News despite having zero news value. The pair never appeared on any other television news network as they were closely guarded by their mentor Andrew Breitbart, and their patrons at Fox. Sadly, the other networks acquiesced by reporting the story despite having no access to the pseudo-news team.

2010 Prediction:
Osama Bin Laden will buy Philip Morris, thus taking responsibility for killing 197,000 more Americans EVERY YEAR than he did that one time on 9/11.

Glenn Beck Rodeo ClownColor of Change We Can Believe In:
After Glenn Beck called the President a racist, a previously little-known group embarked on a boycott campaign directed at Beck’s advertisers. By last accounting Color of Change had persuaded over 80 advertisers to pull or withhold their ads from Becks show. What’s more, they compelled a retraction from the DefendGlenn web site (whose proprietor, Gary Kreep, is a story unto himself) that had been falsely disparaging the boycott efforts.

2010 Prediction:
Twitter will fold when its enfeebled users decide that 140 characters is too many to comprehend. It will be replaced by Blather, where messages are restricted to 26 characters and you can only use each letter of the alphabet once. The media will herald it as a phenomenon.

Fox News Tea PartyThe Tea Party Delusion
What can be said about the year’s most overblown non-story: The Tea Party Movement? Never has there been a less significant amalgamation of disruptive whiners that received more attention from a controversy-challenged media. The Tea Baggers were always just a noisy minority who were fully sponsored by right-wing lobbyists and Fox News. But near the end of the year a poll was released that revealed the truth, even though the true part was ignored. The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll hit the airwaves proclaiming that Tea Baggers (at 41%) were more popular that Democrats (35%) or Republicans (28%). What they didn’t report, although it was in the same poll, was that 48% of respondents knew very little or nothing at all about the Tea Baggers. When almost half of the country doesn’t know who you are, you are not much of a movement.

2010 Prediction:
Fox News will lie. (I know. That one was too easy, but it’s New Year’s Eve and I have a party to go to).

Undisputed Scumbag Pundit Hall of Shame
This award is a tie due to the presence of two so thoroughly deserving Scumbag Pundits. These despicable cretins earned their awards by claiming a couple of the most repulsive utterings ever contemplated in the press:

Retired Lieutenant Colonel, Ralph Peters: “Although it seems unthinkable now, future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media.”

Former CIA employee Michael Scheuer: “[T]he only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States.”

And just for fun, I now present the Comedy Colonoscopy Award for 2009. So far as I know, there was only one entry. But it’s a doozy:


Study: ACORN Did Nothing Illegal – Fox News: So What?

Fox News Borat/ACORNLast summer Fox News participated in a media frenzy surrounding some sensationalistic videos produced by conservative activists and promoted by right-wing propaganda outlets. The ACORN representatives in the videos appeared to counsel a couple of cartoonish characters posing as a pimp and a prostitute on how to apply for loans without disclosing the nefarious nature of their pretend business.

The subsequent controversy led to ACORN initiating an independent review to ascertain the facts and to propose solutions. To that end they retained former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger to conduct a thorough investigation. The results of the investigation were released last week (pdf) and revealed that…

“While some of the advice and counsel given by ACORN employees and volunteers was clearly inappropriate and unprofessional, we did not find a pattern of intentional, illegal conduct by ACORN staff; in fact, there is no evidence that action, illegal or otherwise, was taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographers. Instead, the videos represent the byproduct of ACORN’s longstanding management weaknesses, including a lack of training, a lack of procedures, and a lack of on-site supervision.”

Harshbarger pulled no punches in his condemnation of ACORN’s failings. While he found that there was no unlawful conduct, this was no vindication. There was much about which to be embarrassed. Reporting on the study’s release could have justifiably focused on that aspect. However, Fox News and its affiliates chose instead to virtually ignore the matter. It was reported on the air with the typical Fox slant, and there was a single story on their web site and another on Fox Nation. Also, Glenn Beck did a segment on it that focused more on how it tied into the carnival of unrelated conspiracy delusions that occupy his so-called brain. Then it vanished.

What makes this peculiar is that Fox was wall-to-wall ACORN for several weeks when the videos were released. You couldn’t turn the network on without seeing a report or a replay of clips from the Borat News Team. On one day in September, the Fox Nation posted sixteen separate stories on their web site – all with disparaging viewpoints. This past week the Fox Nationalists had a single story on the report and another on Acorn-shaped cookies at a White House dinner (I’m not sure that counts).

Now that a study is released that actually delves into the factual details of the affair, Fox has gone silent after an obligatory wave. And when they did address the issue, it was with their typical sneering disdain. The Fox News account of the study’s results was something less than “fair and balanced.” While they did include excerpts from statements released by Harshbarger and ACORN CEO, Bertha Lewis, they interviewed no one from the ACORN side of the story. On the other hand, Fox did do interviews with James O’Keefe, the videographer, Republican senator Lamar Smith, and a spokesman for Republican congressman Darrel Issa. All of these critics dismissed the study despite not even bothering to dispute any of its findings.

The findings, by the way, also revealed some notable information about the folks who brought the story to Fox. For instance, efforts by Harshbarger to interview O’Keefe and his hooker/partner Hannah Giles were rebuffed. It should be noted that O’Keefe and Giles have declined EVERY interview request that didn’t come from Fox News, or an otherwise similarly prejudiced venue, since this story went public. They are being kept in a hermetically sealed, undisclosed location. Also, the punking pair and their patron, Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment, refused to make the unedited videos available to Harshbarger for review. Thus, preserving the producers intent to deceive, as well as to assure that any exculpatory material was edited out of the tapes before anyone could see them. However, Harshbarger was still able to establish that the videos were materially altered prior to broadcast:

“The videos that have been released appear to have been edited, in some cases substantially, including the insertion of a substitute voiceover for significant portions of Mr. O’Keefe’s and Ms. Giles’s comments, which makes it difficult to determine the questions to which ACORN employees are responding. A comparison of the publicly available transcripts to the released videos confirms that large portions of the original video have been omitted from the released versions.”

The release of this report may not absolve ACORN for acts that were improper by the people captured on video, but it demonstrates another incidence of their being tarred with allegations of illegality that are unproven and irresponsible. ACORN has been the victim of repeated smears related to voter fraud when there has never been a single case of it documented. Another news item this week reported that congressional efforts to defund ACORN were ruled unconstitutional.

Most of these relentless attacks against ACORN are motivated by right-wing politicians and organizations with a vested interest in suppressing low and middle income voters. These are the citizens that ACORN serves and conservatives recognize that empowering them will be adverse to their agenda of advancing the interests of the wealthy and powerful. That’s why so many attempts have been made to undermine and discredit ACORN’s operations. And despite the fact that all of the allegations against ACORN have so far been thoroughly debunked, we can expect the harassment to continue.

We can also expect the reporting from Fox to continue to be brazenly one-sided. They will plaster their air with unverified allegations that harm the interests of ordinary Americans, and they will look the other way when there is positive news about them and the groups that are their advocates. How can we expect Fox to be impartial when they actually partnered with Giles to raise money for her defense?

The Harshbarger report proves not only that ACORN is not guilty of breaking the law, it also proves that conservative media like Fox IS guilty of suppressing the truth.

Fox News Is Soliciting Donations For ACORN Foe Hannah Giles

In yet another example of the interconnectedness of Fox News to blatantly partisan political activities, a “news” link on the Fox Nation website actually goes to a defense fund donation page for ACORN foe, Hannah Giles. You may recall that Giles is the YAFfie who dressed up as a hooker and accompanied her ersatz pimp, James O’Keefe, on a mission to entrap ACORN workers on hidden video.

The defense fund site was set up by the Plano, TX, based Liberty Legal Institute, an organization whose mission statement describes as their purpose…

“To achieve expanded religious freedom and family autonomy through litigation and education designed to limit the government’s power, increase the religious rights of citizens and promote parental rights.”

A defense fund for Giles appears to be outside the mandate of LLI, as it has nothing to do with religious and/or parental rights. Nevertheless, the right-wing organ has assumed responsibility for raising cash on behalf of the pseudo-journalist. The site’s administrator is Roe Ann Estevez, Director of Marketing for the LLI affiliated Free Market Foundation. Despite its name, it is also a faith-based enterprise that seeks to impose religious principles into government affairs.

However, the big problem here is that Fox has partnered with these conservative organizations to provide legal funds and cover to an individual who is an avowed activist for conservative causes, and who is presently being investigated for violations of privacy laws. The link at the Fox Nation will not land you on an article about the defense fund, but on the fund’s donation page. It does not provide information about the legal efforts on behalf of Giles or the groups organizing those efforts. It simply provides you with a solicitation to contribute.

The closeness of this association flies in the face of Fox’s recent attempts to distance themselves from the activities of Giles and O’Keefe. When ACORN announced that they would be suing the pair, along with Fox News, Fox complained that they had nothing to do with the video stunt. They asserted that they were merely broadcasting a story brought to them by a couple of independent reporters with whom they had no affiliation. But by openly promoting a defense fund for Giles, Fox can no longer pretend that there is no relationship between them.

As further evidence of Fox’s complicity with the anti-ACORN punkers, James O’Keefe will be interviewed this Sunday by Chris Wallace. This is another in a long line of appearances on Fox, the only network where the pair will agree to be questioned.

This fundraising project by Fox is an egregiously inappropriate affront to journalistic ethics. What would Bill O’Reilly say if CBS News directly promoted a defense fund for the fired ACORN workers? That is simply not within the purview of a legitimate news organization. And there is the key word: legitimate. Fox News is proving once again that they can make no claim to legitimacy. They are an unabashedly partisan player with an open interest in advancing their own political agenda. Nothing more.

The Pimp Show: Exclusively On Fox News

It should surprise no one that Fox News is hammering the ACORN affair with characteristic rightist zeal. They have featured the story across their media platforms on TV, radio, print, and the Internet, almost to the exclusion of all other news. Watching Fox would leave one with the impression that ACORN and a police car chase were the only stories available to tell. Fox News’ hooker and pimp show, starring Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe, has virtually taken over the schedule.

But the so-called “fair and balanced” network is demonstrating how inapt their slogan is and how transparently they manipulate what they call news.

ACORN’s CEO, Bertha Lewis, has been making the media rounds the past couple of days to rebut the charges against the organization. While taking responsibility for their shortcomings, she has announced that they will be conducting an independent review to uncover any and all misbehavior and will let the chips fall where they may. In addition, she has aggressively defended ACORN’s mission to increase voter registration and their work on behalf of low income citizens who are seeking assistance with housing.

Lewis’ appearances have raised important questions about the attacks on ACORN. For instance, the raw, unedited tapes are still being withheld from independent reviewers. This brings into question whether they were altered to intentionally create a false impression. Also, O’Keefe has steadfastly refused to turn over the tapes from dozens of their stings where they were thrown out of the ACORN office. This is deliberate deception intended to disguise the fact that, by far, the majority of ACORN employees are honest and moral.

These questions remain unanswered despite Lewis’ having raised them during interviews with journalists across the dial. She has submitted to multiple inquiries from the likes of Bill O’Reilly, Ed Schultz, Rick Sanchez, and others, on all of the cable news networks without regard to ideology. By contrast, O’Keefe and Giles have refused all interviews except for those on Fox News. They have already appeared on Hannity, Beck, Fox & Friends, and America’s News HQ. All Fox programs. The other news networks have standing requests for them to appear but, so far, none have been accepted. What do you think they are afraid of? They clearly have time available for the media, so long as it’s the friendly variety that will embrace them in a protective cocoon.

Obviously O’Keefe and Giles are either afraid, unprepared, or they are not being permitted to stray from the santcuary of Fox by their handlers. They refer to themselves as journalists, and O’Keefe went further describing himself as “the future of journalism” and told the New Jersey Star-Ledger that:

“The tone of my videos is unique. I’m not just reporting on something, I’m becoming something I’m reporting on.”

So he’s becoming a pimp? That would explain his association with Fox News. But if O’Keefe and Giles are unwilling to have their work be reviewed for accuracy, and they can’t defend themselves in independent forums, then how can they pretend that they are journalists? How can anything they report be regarded as credible?

How are they different than Borat?