Defenders of ACORN have engaged in a breathtaking rewriting of history concerning the ACORN tapes made by investigative journalists Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe. One of those defenders is Brad Friedman, described by the ombudsman for the New York Times as someone with a “political agenda” whose characterization of what happened on the ACORN videos is “not credible.”
At Friedman’s blog, a guest blogger named “Ernest Canning” (last seen here as commenter “ruleoflaw”) provides an object lesson in how leftists are taking basic facts and twisting them beyond recognition.
This post is merely the beginning of a debunking of several of Canning’s misstatements in the piece — statements which are representative of the assault on the truth that has been mounted by certain ACORN supporters.
It is, however, slightly more surprising, and certainly most noteworthy, that now that they’ve been exposed as hoaxes, even Murdoch’s own New York Post was forced to describe the doctored tapes as a “‘heavily edited’ splice job that only made it appear as though the organization’s workers were advising a pimp and prostitute on how to get a mortgage…[with] many of the seemingly crime-encouraging answers…taken out of context so as to appear more sinister.”
Canning here suggests that the New York Post has thrown its institutional weight behind the proposition that the ACORN tapes were misleadingly edited. Canning implies that this accusation originates with the newspaper itself, perhaps in an editorial — or, even more shockingly, in a news story, where the correctness of the allegation is beyond question. However, when you click over to the actual article, you see that the quote is attributed, not to the New York Post itself, but rather to anonymous “sources”:
The video that unleashed a firestorm of criticism on the activist group ACORN was a “heavily edited” splice job that only made it appear as though the organization’s workers were advising a pimp and prostitute on how to get a mortgage, sources said yesterday. . . . Many of the seemingly crime-encouraging answers were taken out of context so as to appear more sinister, sources said.
The official statement by the D.A. makes no such claim:
On September 15, 2009, my office began an investigation into possible criminality on the part of three ACORN employees. The three had been secretly videotaped by two people posing as a pimp and prostitute, who came to ACORN’S Brooklyn office, seeking advice about how to purchase a house with money generated by their ‘business.’ The ‘couple’ later made the recording public. That investigation is now concluded and no criminality has been found.
I have bolded one phrase to emphasize that the statement does say that O’Keefe and Giles posed as pimp and prostitute, flying directly in the face of several statements by Media Matters writer Eric Boehlert and ACORN apologist Brad Friedman.
So the Brooklyn D.A. did not make any official claim that the tapes were misleadingly edited. Nor does the Post make any such claim as an institution, as implied by Mr. Canning.
If there is anything misleading here, it originates with Mr. Canning. It is misleading to take a quote in a newspaper that is explicitly attributed to anonymous sources, and describe that as a position taken by the newspaper. Otherwise, any time the New York Times quotes some unnamed source advancing a Republican position, I am free to quote that statement and attribute it to the New York Times, as if the view is shared by that newspaper.
Because a lie is better when you repeat it twice, Mr. Canning repeats this falsehood further down in the article, and doubles down with another:
Last week, Brooklyn prosecutors, who investigated the matter over a span of five months, came to a nearly identical conclusion, adding that O’Keefe and Giles “edited the tapes to meet their agenda.”
As the New York Post noted in describing the DA offices’ comments on their finding of “no criminality”, O’Keefe and Breitbart’s published Brooklyn ACORN video represented a “‘heavily edited’ splice job” where the comments by ACORN employees were “taken out of context so as to appear more sinister.”
The first paragraph implies that the official finding of the Brooklyn prosecutors includes the quote that O’Keefe and Giles “edited the tapes to meet their agenda.” It does not. Again, that is a quote from an anonymous source who might well have a partisan agenda. If the D.A. had wanted to put his institutional credibility behind that statement, he could have included such an accusation in his official public statement. He did not.
Note again how the anonymous sources’ descriptions are again attributed to the New York Post rather than anonymous sources.
I am out of time for this morning, but I have much more to come on the falsehoods in Mr. Canning’s piece and in numerous Friedman-penned posts on this topic. For now, suffice it to say that Friedman angrily goes around demanding retractions when I can prove that he is aware of multiple falsehoods in his posts that he has explicitly refused to correct. It’s hard to avoid the impression that Friedman is simply out to defend ACORN by any means possible — and if that defense requires him to shade the truth here, and bludgeon it there . . . well, it’s all for the greater good.
More to come.