You are hereMedia Matters: Memo to media: Do not trust Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keefe
Media Matters: Memo to media: Do not trust Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keefe
June 1, 2010- Andrew Breitbart and convicted criminal James O'Keefe are promising to unveil another video. In assessing Breitbart and O'Keefe's claims, media should keep in mind their record of dishonest and illegal practices and their failed attempt to show that ACORN was engaging in criminal behavior.
Breitbart's "strategy": Withhold evidence and "deprive" people of "information"
Breitbart's "strategy" is to "deprive" people of the "information" needed to evaluate his allegations. A September 24 Washington Independent article about Breitbart's release of the ACORN tapes reported [emphasis added]:
Within hours, Breitbart was doing interviews with reporters who wanted to know how, exactly, the story had come about, and why Big Government was releasing the videos and the identity of the muckrackers -- 25-year-old James O'Keefe III and 20-year-old Hannah Giles -- so slowly.
"It was strategized," Breitbart told TWI this week, so "that they would be deprived of the type of information that a defense attorney would try to gather in order to create a defense."
Who were "these people?" They were not just the leaders or members of ACORN itself. "They" were the Democratic Party, the White House, the progressive Center for American Progress and its president John Podesta. The "Democrat-media complex" is Breitbart's name for the whole apparatus. "We deprived them of information," Breitbart explained, "so that they couldn't come up with a vile, kill-the-messenger attack with the media doing the groundwork for them."
Breitbart and O'Keefe withheld exculpatory LA ACORN video for two months. In a video released November 16, 2009 -- more than two months after Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com website began posting videos in which O'Keefe and Giles posed as a pimp and prostitute in ACORN offices -- O'Keefe finally acknowledged that a Los Angeles ACORN worker they filmed in August 2009 "would not assist us obtain a house for our illegal activities." Two months earlier, in September 2009, Hannah Giles and Big Government editor-in-chief Mike Flynn had both falsely claimed that every ACORN office O'Keefe and Giles visited had offered to help them. Also during September 2009, both Breitbart and O'Keefe chose not to disclose the existence of the Los Angeles tape when asked directly by reporters whether any ACORN offices had refused to help. On September 27, Fox News' Chris Wallace reported that O'Keefe "says he'll release all the tapes soon to show if any ACORN offices did the right thing," but O'Keefe and Breitbart failed to release the LA tape until nearly two months after that report.
O'Keefe is a convicted criminal
O'Keefe pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal charge in Landrieu office case. As reported by The Times-Picayune on May 26:
The four defendants who were arrested in January in Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in the Hale Boggs federal complex in New Orleans pleaded guilty Wednesday morning in federal court to entering real property belonging to the United States under false pretenses.
Magistrate Judge Daniel Knowles III sentenced Stan Dai, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan each to two years probation, a fine of $1,500 and 75 hours of community service during their first year of probation.
James O'Keefe, as leader of the group and famous for posing as a pimp in ACORN office videos, received three years of probation, a fine of $1,500 and 100 hours of community service.