Friday, April 2, 2010

California A.G. Report Exposes O'Keefe as a Fraud: Relevance for St. Louis

The Brad Blog has a detailed account of yesterday's California A.G. report that found "no violation of criminal law" on the part of ACORN in the phony right-wing story that claimed that ACORN was running a child prostitution ring, a story that ultimately destroyed the group. On the other hand, the report said that the facts presented, "strongly suggests that [James O'Keefe] and [Hannah Giles] violated state privacy laws." It's worth reading the whole blog post, but here are a few key findings:

  • O'Keefe never actually posed as a pimp, despite suggesting that he did.
  • The report said that O'Keefe, "did not act as a journalist."
  • O'Keefe and Giles's video critically relied on telling a story where Giles was actually trying to escape from an abusive pimp, and they were asking the ACORN workers to help.
  • The A.G. describes the videos by O'Keefe and Giles as "severely edited," which fits with the Brooklyn D.A.'s assessment that they were a "highly edited splice job."

  • Keep in mind that O'Keefe and Andrew Breitbart's campaign was designed specifically to take down ACORN because ACORN is an important liberal institution that has registerd tens of thousand of minority and low income voters. The right wing has been trying to destroy the organization for a number of years. So O'Keefe and Giles went into ACORN offices with a story specifically designed to provoke sympathy in normal feeling humans, then edited the tapes to make it look like the ACORN workers were encouraging prostitution. Breitbart (O'Keefe's employer) even suggested that ACORN was aiding and abetting child prostitution. And, for the most part, the right wing attack was successful, basically destroying through a completely fabricated story one of the few national groups that actually organized on behalf of the poor.

    So what is the relevance for St. Louis politics? First, James O'Keefe is a close friend of John Burns, the faux leader of anti-public transportation group "Citizens for Better Transit." O'Keefe visited St. Louis a couple times to help with Burn's antics, and also was a speaker at a St. Louis Tea Party rally as well as a guest on Dana Loesch's show. O'Keefe was described as a "hero" by Gina Loudon, and Loudon, Loesch, and Bill Hennessy have all defended him after his arrest in New Orleans.

    Furthermore, many St. Louis Tea Party members have connections to Andrew Breitbart. John Loudon, Jim Gateway Pundit Hoft, and Dana Loesch have all written for Breitbart's site Big Government. They regularly promote his stories, and he does so with theirs.

    But more importantly, I think that if you really want to understand the guiding ethos of the St. Louis Tea Party, you should start by understanding Breitbart. The unethical and misleading tactics. The red-faced spittle attacks and argument-through-talking-louder approach to life. The "flipping the script" of constantly accusing liberals of racism and sexism while simultaneously complaining about political correctness. These are all the things Breitbart embodies, and the qualities that the St. Louis Tea Party leadership tries to emulate.


    1. I knew there was something odd about those ACORN videos. The more these guys are exposed the worse they look and the more credibility they loose. Keep up the good work Adam

    2. is it really too much trouble to type out attorney general instead of A.G.?