Discussion list for COMM-ORG colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Thu Mar 4 08:46:28 CST 2010

[ed: here is information from ACORN.]

From: Bertha Lewis <newsacorn at acorn.org>

Demand accountability [ 
http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/2749/t/4538/letter/?letter_KEY=601 ]

Tell the NYT to report the truth: "They edited the tapes to meet their 
agenda." [ 
http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/2749/t/4538/letter/?letter_KEY=601 ]

Dear Randy,

By now everybody knows that James O'Keefe, the anti-ACORN video stinger, 
is willing to lie, manipulate, and apparently break the law, in pursuit 
of his extremist agenda. Monday, sources inside the Brooklyn District 
Attorney's office, as reported by the New York Post (long hostile to 
ACORN) said the videos were a "*"heavily edited splice job"*" in which 
answers were taken out of context so as to appear more sinister.[1] The 
New York Daily News further reported that sources in the DA's office, 
which reviewed the unedited New York tapes as part of a five month 
investigation -- the first time anyone not associated with O'Keefe has 
seen unedited tapes -- said ""*they edited the tape to meet their 

As Media Matters columnist Eric Bohlert writes, ""*the '70s-era, 
blacksploitation pimp costume was a propaganda tool used to later 
deceive the public about the undercover operation.*""[3] If you watched 
the videos you probably thought he wore that suit inside our offices. He 
didn't. He dressed as a professional and presented himself as a 
"boyfriend" trying to help his girlfriend "escape" from an abusive pimp, 
something also noted in former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott 
Harshbarger's December 2009 investigation of ACORN.[4]

So why, then, does America's newspaper of record, the New York Times, 
insist in report after report -- as recently as March 1st -- that he 
presented himself as a pimp in our offices?[5] *Can you send an email to 
the Times' Public Editor and tell him to retract the Times' erroneous 
reporting about O'Keefe and ACORN?* [ 
http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/2749/t/4538/letter/?letter_KEY=601 ]

There are two critical reasons why this matters and my friend Brad 
Friedman of The Brad Blog lays them out nicely:

""Because O'Keefe is now facing federal felony charges and his past 
credibility is important to the future proceedings and *because these 
videos, and the Times reports on them, resulted in the U.S. Congress 
passing legislation to deny ACORN federal funding based on what appears 
to be an entirely phony premise* which ? the Times went along with, in 
error, time and again."" [6] Incredibly, the New York Times' first 
response when challenged their reporting was to say, ""If there is a 
correction to be made, it seems it would start with Mr. O'Keefe himself. 
We believe him. Therefore there is nothing for us to correct.""[7]

Wow. To say that in the face of everything that's been laid out about 
how O'Keefe operates - lies, manipulation, even alleged illegal actions 
- well, that's just embarrassing.

*Can you tell Clark Hoyt, The New York Times' Public Editor, that The 
Times needs to retract its past ACORN stories and report the truth about 
the anti-ACORN sting operation from now on?* [ 
http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/2749/t/4538/letter/?letter_KEY=601 ]

The New York Times played a significant role in the breathtaking rush to 
judgment instigated by O'Keefe's work. As the blogger Digby said about 
the Times and other mainstream media, ""in rushing to judgment they also 
failed in their journalistic duty to figure out *if this story was 
true.*"" [8] The Times perpetuated the idea that his videos represented 
what ACORN workers do all day. They do not. ACORN organizers spend their 
days talking with working families and helping them take action on 
issues like foreclosure prevention, raising the minimum wage, fighting 
for jobs, and working to hold the banksters accountable for their 
destruction of the economy.

That work, combined with our tireless efforts engaging working families 
and families of color in the electoral process, are the real reasons why 
O'Keefe and his corporate-funded backers in the attack media targeted ACORN.

The Times continues to refuse to state the obvious-that O'Keefe deceived 
the public, specifically by editing in "b-roll" of his absurd costume 
and more broadly by misrepresenting what ACORN organizers do. This 
despite the clear admission by O'Keefe co-conspirators Hannah Giles and 
Andrew Breitbart both being caught on tape saying he never wore the pimp 
suit in any ACORN office.[9] Despite the findings of the Harshbarger 
report. Despite Breitbart's admission that the pimp get-up was just a 
marketing gimmick. [10]

In fact, Clark Hoyt continues to profess, ""I still don't see that a 
correction is in order, because that would require conclusive evidence 
that The Times was wrong, which I haven't seen."" [11]

*Can you help Mr. Hoyt see the conclusive evidence by sending him a 
letter in his role as the Public Editor of the New York Times? * [ 
http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/2749/t/4538/letter/?letter_KEY=601 ]

With your help we can set the record straight and put America's 
newspaper of record on notice that we expect it to live up to its 
responsibility to us and to our democratic system and report the truth.

Lots of people have asked me why we don't just drop the topic of 
O'Keefe's video scam and move on. Believe me, no one would like to close 
the book on this story more than I would.. But the truth is important, 
and the truth is the lies that O'Keefe peddled and that news outlets 
that should know better continue to perpetuate, to this day, not only 
hurt ACORN -- they represent standing threat against anyone who empowers 
poor people and people of color in this country.

With your help we can help strengthen democracy in America and make sure 
that working families have a strong voice in 2010 and beyond.

In solidarity and strength,

Bertha Lewis
ACORN CEO and Chief Organizer

*[1]* Alex Ginsberg and Murray Weiss, New York Post, March 2, 2010,

*[2] *Mike Madden, Salon.com, March 1, 2010,
*[3] *Eric Bohlert, Media Matters for America, February 17, 2010,
*[4]* Report of former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger.

*[5]* Andy Newman, The New York Times, March 1, 2010,
*[6]* Brad Friedman, The Brad Blog, February 23, 2010, 
*[7]* Greg Brock, Senior Editor of Standards for the New York Times as 
reported by Brad Friedman, The Brad Blog, February 23, 2010, 
*[8]* Digby, Feb 22, 2010, 
and also here:

*[9]* Max Blumenthal, Conversation at the Conservative Political Action 
Convention, February, 2010,
*[10] *Brad Friedman, The Brad Blog, February 21, 2010, 
*[11]* Clark Hoyt, Public Editor of the New York Times as reported by 
Brad Friedman, The Brad Blog, February 23, 2010, 

[ http://www.acorn.org ] ? 2009 ACORN and ACORN logo are Registered 
Trademarks of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, 

"ACORN is the nation's largest community organization of low- and 
moderate-income families, with over 500,000 member families organized 
into neighborhood chapters in 71 cities across the country. Since 1970 
ACORN has taken action and won victories on issues of concern to our 
members. Our priorities include: better housing for first time 
homebuyers and tenants, living wages for low-wage workers, more 
investment in our communities from banks and governments, and better 
public schools. ACORN is an acronym, and each letter should be 
capitalized. ACORN stands for the Association of Community Organizations 
for Reform Now."

Discussion list for COMM-ORG wrote:
> --------
> This is a COMM-ORG 'colist' message.
> All replies to this message come to COMM-ORG only.
> --------
> It appears that the videos of ACORN are not resulting in criminal charges:
> http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/02/nyregion/02acorn.html?scp=3&sq=acorn&st=cse
> However, the damage may have been done. 
> http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/restart-acorn-edition/?scp=4&sq=acorn&st=cse
> I wonder who's next.
> Randy Stoecker
> moderator/editor, COMM-ORG
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