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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
WEBCommentary Contributor
Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  April 9, 2010
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Topic category:  Government/Politics

What Did Fox News Know About the Unedited ACORN Tapes and When Did It Know It?

Were Breitbart and Fox News "cover[ing] what they want[ed] and creat[ing] the themes they want[ed]" instead of reporting the whole story honestly? Decide for yourself. Compare the tape and transcript that Breitbart made available (http://biggovernment.com/acorn/) with the unedited video and audio provided by the California Attorney General (http://ag.ca.gov/newsalerts/multimedia/index.php).

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has been gleefully reporting that the "Pimp and Pro" ACORN sting was misreported by Fox News. See the transcripts of her shows on April 2 (www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36178673/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/) and April 6 (www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36218173/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/).

Maddow exaggerated in trying to exonerate ACORN, but she made a compelling case about misreporting in several respects.

Maddow should send thank you cards to the folks responsible for the sting and to California Attorney General Jerry Brown for putting her in position to do that. The high ground was left to Maddow because some on the Right decided that playing it straight was not good enough.

Yes, there were signs that the sting story was being sensationalized.

Do you think that President Obama would have produced his birth certificate if he thought it would help him? Of course he would have. His failure to produce it suggests there is something he does not want the people to know. (It doesn't prove that he was born in Kenya, but what he produced is an edited version of what is supposed to be his birth certificate and information has been deleted for a reason.

Likewise, the failure to make all the tapes public signified that doing so did not fit the agenda of the folks who brought us the sting.

Why were the unedited video and audio tapes of the "Pimp and Pro" ACORN sting not voluntarily posted long ago?

Perhaps because the story would not have been as sensational if they had been released.

Perhaps because the persons involved in the taping follow Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, even though they are opponents of the Far Left, and being completely truthful is not a rule.

Perhaps because it was foreseen that those tapes would be needed to trade for immunity from criminal prosecution. (Surreptitious taping with the consent of any party is legal in Washington, D.C. and New York, but criminal in Pennsylvania, Maryland and California.)

Andrew Breitbart said last September that he sting-related receipts would be posted, but there have not been posted.

Why not?

On April 5, 2010, I wrote about the California Attorney General's April 1, 2010 report on ACORN in an article titled "Fittingly, California AG's Report on ACORN Was Issued on April Fool's Day" (www.webcommentary.com/php/ShowArticle.php?id=gaynorm&date=100405).

Andrew Breitbart's Big Government and Big Journalism still have not reported on the California Attorney General's report (and I doubt that's because they are working on posting those receipts).

Will Breitbart report that James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles traded the tapes for immunity?

Was that trade a tacit admission of guilt?

After all, Giles proudly wrote in a Townhall article (http://townhall.com/columnists/HannahGiles/2008/09/23/the_truth_is_too_scandalous_for_youtube) posted in 2009: "In the summer of 2007 O’Keefe made phone calls to several Planned Parenthood clinics across the country. He only made these phone calls in states where it is legal to audio record without the other party's consent (i.e. Ohio, New Mexico, Idaho, Oklahoma)."

How were the ACORN offices visited chosen, by whom and why?

The whole story has not been told.

Did O'Keefe, Giles and Breitbart proceed without legal advice until AFTER all the ACORN offices were visited? (Lawyers negotiated immunity for O'Keefe and Giles, but not "Ryan" or Breitbart, I am told.)

What lawyer would have advised that surreptitious recording without the consent of all parties in Pennsylvania, Maryland, California (and Giles' Florida) was perfectly safe from a legal perspective?

Remember Breitbart raging that the liberal media was not covering the "Pimp and Pro" ACORN sting with which his Big Government website debuted?

Breitbart, on September 14, 2009 (http://biggovernment.com/abreitbart/2009/09/20/planting-the-seeds-the-politicized-art-behind-the-acorn-plan/#more-5858):

"The small scandal showing an embarrassing video of Baltimore ACORN staffers looking like they were giving tax advice on how to set up a brothel, is now national news. — This story has everything you could ever want – corruption, sleazy actions at tax-funded organizations, firings, government ties, sex, hookers. It is a network news director’s dream. Imagine the ratings!

"Only almost no one is covering it.

"This is the news media in the era of Van Jones and President Obama. The major outlets cover what they want and create the themes they want. When they find something inconvenient, they let it pass. They didn’t like the Van Jones story, so they ignored it. The network news media liked the financial entity known as Fannie Mae, so they ignored that scandalous organization for years. ACORN is getting the same treatment."

Breitbart surely was right about the biased liberal media establishment, but was Fox News (which covered the story big time) being "fair and balanced"?

That depends upon what Fox News knew and when Fox News knew it. (Megyn Kelly's first interview of ACORN founder Wade Rathke came after the sting had started and before it reached California and supposedly was for a documentary of Rathke's book, Citizen Wealth, that never was made. But some of it was included in the Fox News's "Truth About ACORN" special that was broadcast on October 2, 2009, hosted by Kelly and focused on the sting.)

There's no dispute that Breitbart was the sting media strategist.

Breitbart, September 20, 2009 (http://biggovernment.com/abreitbart/2009/09/20/planting-the-seeds-the-politicized-art-behind-the-acorn-plan/#more-5858): "I told [James O'Keefe] that in addition to launching his compelling and stylized Web videos, we needed to offer the full transcripts and audio to the public in the name of transparency, and to offer Fox News the full footage of each video before each was released.We had to devise a plan that would force the media to see the evidence before they had enough time to destroy these two idealistic 20-something truth seekers. Mr. O’Keefe agreed to post the full audio and full transcript of his video experiences at BigGovernment.com."

If Fox News got "full footage of each video" in advance, as the mastermind of the ACORN sting media strategy said it should, why was MSNBC's Rachel Maddow able to demonstrate that Fox News misreported the story in material respects?

Did Fox News merely report...or did it spin like MSNBC?

On April 5, 2010, Brad Friedman of The Brad Blog crowed (www.bradblog.com/?p=7783):

"On Friday night {April 2, 2010], responding to the CA AG's finding that the ACORN 'Pimp' Hoax videos --- as created and published by righwing con-artists James O'Keefe, Hannah Giles, and Andrew Breitbart --- were precisely the hoax we'd long described them as, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow hit it out of the park, detailing precisely the reason we've been focused on this point for so long: 'The triumph of fake politics...The unmooring of politics from facts,' and the unforgivable truth that you've heard far more about the partisan-driven hoax/politics agenda in the media, than about the fact that that these things were all hoaxes.

"Maddow takes the opportunity to highlight not only the 'triumph' of the ACORN 'Pimp' Hoax, but of other successful GOP-played/MSM-enabled scams....

"These things are, as she declares in no uncertain terms, 'all bull.' Yet, she adds, 'there’s more bang for the political buck to make stuff up like this than to try to debate real problems in the real world. So just go with the bull'..."

Maddow and Friedman overstated, but it is true that Maddow made some valid points.

The Brad Blog has links to video of Maddow's ACORN coverage on April 2 and 6, 2010 worth watching.

On April 6, 2010, Maddow showed "Fox & Friends" host Steve Doucey telling the world last September that O'Keefe was wearing "exactly" the same outlandish "pimp" attire that he wore when visiting the ACORN offices. We now know that O'Keefe dressed conservatively for the visits. Why did Doucey say otherwise himself instead of ask o'Keefe a question? And why didn't O'Keefe, his guest at the time, set the record straight?

Breitbart warned that "[t]he major outlets cover what they want and create the themes they want."

Breitbart considers Fox News is a "major outlet," right?

Were Breitbart and Fox News "cover[ing] what they want[ed] and creat[ing] the themes they want[ed]" instead of reporting the whole story honestly? Decide for yourself. Compare the tape and transcript that Breitbart made available (http://biggovernment.com/acorn/) with the unedited video and audio provided by the California Attorney General (http://ag.ca.gov/newsalerts/multimedia/index.php).

Michael J. Gaynor

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Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is gaynormike@aol.com.


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