Saturday, April 3, 2010

Conservative Political Theater

Rachel Maddow highlights how the GOP fakes outrage on everything from fake pimp James O'Keefe who helped take ACORN down, to Climate-gate, to recess appointments, to the individual mandate in the health care plan, to Miranda rights, to trials for terrorists, to the birthers to you name it.
Echoing the recent report of the Kings County, NY, District Attorney who completed a five-month probe of fake pimp James O'Keefe's ACORN "pimp-gate" videos, California's Attorney General has now reached a similar conclusion regarding videos recorded in three different California cities last year.

"In his actual [unedited full length] taped sessions with ACORN workers, [O'Keefe] was dressed in a shirt and tie, presented himself as a law student, and said he planned to use the prostitution proceeds to run for Congress. He never claimed he was a pimp," says the AG's report.

The videos were highly edited by rightwing activists James O'Keefe III and Hannah Giles, who posed as a prostitute and her law school boyfriend in the videos and played extensively on Fox News, as well as other non-partisan media outlets.

In a press release announcing his 28-page report [PDF] (and accompanying 55 pages of attachments and exhibits [PDF] with it), the AG's office says the publicly released videos taken in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Bernardino were "severely edited." The unedited California videos have now been posted on the CA Attorney General's website.

"The evidence illustrates that things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality," says Brown in the statement. "Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting room floor."

The description of the videos as "severely edited" also echoes the Brooklyn D.A.'s office, which was quoted as describing them as a "heavily edited splice job" when his report was released earlier this year. Brown's report also echoes an independent investigation [PDF] released by former MA Attorney General Scott Harshbarger early last December, but largely unreported in the national media.

Brown's report details that, "Although O’Keefe is dressed in stereotypical 1970s pimp garb in the opening and closing scenes of the videos released on the internet, when O’Keefe visited each of the ACORN offices, ACORN employees reported that he was actually dressed in a shirt and tie. Also, contrary to the suggestion in the edited videos, O’Keefe never stated he was a pimp. While speaking with the various ACORN workers, Brown's report notes:

Giles portrays herself as an abused prostitute desperate for help and pushed for any advice. She said she wanted to save the El Salvadoran girls from being preyed upon and raped. She claimed the pimp put a hit out on her and injured her by pushing her down the stairs.

Brown goes on to explain that O'Keefe's edited video tapes from the Los Angeles ACORN office, "did not include all Giles statements regarding the abusive pimp, her tragic life, and fear for the underage girls, or [ACORN worker Lavelle] Stewart's statements that ACORN could not help."

O’Keefe's purpose was to damage ACORN and not to objectively report a story. The video releases were heavily edited to feature only out of context statements of various ACORN employees, and to omit salient statements by O’Keefe and Giles. Each ACORN employee recorded by O’Keefe in California was a low level employee whose job was to help the needy individuals who walked in the door seeking assistance. Giles and O’Keefe lied to ACORN employees engender compassion, but then edited their statements into the released videos.
ACORN was an anti-poverty organization of 400,000 low and middle income members in 75 cities that helped the needy. The organization had been long targeted by Republicans because it legally registered hundreds of thousands of voters who tended to vote Democratic.

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