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Fox News - "Fair and Balanced" Over ACORN Ambush . . . Riiiiiiiiiiight

Reported by Julie - September 13, 2009 -

A blaring headline on foxnews.com:

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Fox News, once again, appears to be turning into the ACORN channel. All weekend, Fox ran stories about the latest ACORN ambush by right-wingers Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe – you can read more about it here and here.

ACORN has long been a convenient boogey-man of the right-wingers – mainly, I’d wager, because it’s a powerful organization that works to empower people in impoverished areas, including: “Helping hundreds of thousands of African-American and Latino voters register to vote and get to the polls in recent years; Preparing, since 2004, approximately 150,000 free tax returns totaling $190 million in refunds and increased earned income tax credit participation; Providing effective foreclosure prevention advocacy saving thousands of American families from losing their homes to foreclosure.”

If you’re a Republican, fighting tooth and nail against the kind of healthcare reform millions of uninsured Americans need, then a huge organization “committed to ensuring quality, affordable health care for every American” would certainly pose a threat. Republicans, with the help of Fox News, have a very explicit agenda, as we’ve seen: If something poses a threat, take it out. ACORN has for a very long time posed such a threat to the right-and-white agenda, and Fox News is more than happy to aid and abet the right-and-white in accomplishing its agenda -- case in point being the latest helpful coverage on the ACORN ambush.

What I have not seen reported on Fox News – despite the fact that the supersleuthing partnership of Giles and O’Keefe is getting uber-coverage, as indicated above -- is ACORN’s position on the recent “expose” by Giles and O’Keefe – maybe because Fox itself is a target of the push-back. In a statement on ACORN’s website, Bertha Lewis, Chief Organizer of ACORN, said of Fox, “An international entertainment conglomerate, disguising itself as a ‘news’ agency (Fox), has expended millions, if not tens of millions of dollars, in their attempt to destroy the largest community organization of Black, Latino, poor and working families in the country.”

Finally, finally, ACORN is fighting back – and it’s high time. In her statement, Lewis accused the filmmaker of doctoring the videos, saying that “it is clear that the videos are doctored, edited, and in no way the result of the fabricated story being portrayed by conservative activist ‘filmmaker’ O'Keefe and his partner in crime. And, in fact, a crime it was - our lawyers believe a felony - and we will be taking legal action against Fox and their co-conspirators . . . .”

Lewis went on to say, “It is not coincidence that the most recent attacks have been launched just when health care reform is gaining traction. It is clear they've had these tapes for months.” Indeed: Note the date stamp clearly shown as 07.22 on this segment of the video:

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A few things are happening with this much-applauded-by-Fox “gotcha” journalism that Fox News doesn’t seem to be talking about much.

First, the State’s Attorney’s Office for Baltimore released a statement, which I obtained from ACORN:

“Baltimore, MD – September 11, 2009 – We have received inquiries from citizens and the media asking whether the Baltimore City State’s Attorneys Office would initiate a criminal investigation for acts allegedly committed at ACORN offices located in Baltimore. The only information received in reference to this alleged criminal behavior was a YouTube video. Upon review by this office, the video appears to be incomplete. In addition, the audio portion could possibly have been obtained in violation of Maryland Law, Annotated Code of Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article §10-402, which requires two party consent . . . If it is determined that the audio portion now being heard on YouTube was illegally obtained, it is also illegal under Maryland Law to willfully use or willfully disclose the content of said audio. The penalty for the unlawful interception, disclosure or use of it is a felony punishable up to 5 years.”

Second, ACORN’s attorneys on September 10th sent a letter to Roger Ailes, President of Fox News, stating ACORN’s unequivocal position that the “videotape is doctored” and the “voiceovers change the real dialog,” and demanding that Fox “cease publication of these tapes unless it can produce proof that the conversations actually took place.” You can read the letter on ACORN's website here.

In a follow-up letter, on September 11th, ACORN’s attorneys stated that the “filming and broadcast of the conversations at the Baltimore ACORN offices violates §10-402(a)(1) of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article of the Maryland Code, which makes it unlawful to willfully intercept, endeavor to intercept, or procure any other person to intercept any oral conversation unless all parties to the communication consent . . . .” This letter is posted in its entirety here.

I’m waiting with bated breath for Fox News to invite ACORN’s attorneys on to deny the claims made by Fox News’ darlings, Giles and O’Keefe.

In a recent interview with Glenn Beck on Fox News, Giles claimed that she drained her savings to pay for this ACORN-ambush project. If true (and in my opinion it’s highly doubtful), she probably needs to think about replenishing it – criminal defense attorneys don’t come cheap.