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Hannah Giles Palin-ites Answers, Thinks ACORN Is A Government Entity – and Her Attorney Misses the Point of the First Amendment

Reported by Julie - October 16, 2009 -

On Wednesday night’s The O’Reilly Factor (10/14/09), O’Reilly talked about how “ACORN has imploded,” and, as his guests, featured none other than the wanna-be Woodward & Bernstein “sting” journalist, Hannah Giles – the one who gives herself credit for bringing ACORN to its knees – and her attorney, Kelly Shackelford. Now, as for her lawyer – first of all, he needs to learn what the First Amendment says and what it means. There are some websites that can help him with this. Second of all, Shackelford is a lawyer with the same group that spent boucoup bucks trying to shut down Sarah Palin’s Troopergate investigation – you can read my post here. Now that I think about it, Giles is sort of a younger version of Palin, blessed with the same level of sophistication and intellect – if she were from Alaska, I’m sure she could see Russia from her house, too. With video.

O’Reilly began, “The undercover lady herself, Hannah Giles, and her attorney, Kelly Shackelford . . . How has your life changed in the past few weeks?”

“Well,” Giles said, “I’ve been a part of a big thing that happened to the United States . . . it’s quite shocking to know that I was part of the Senate and House vote to defund ACORN and all the other things that followed.” ACORN defunding is something that happened “to the United States?” Thanks for that, Sar . . . I mean, Hannah. But, what are the other things that followed, you might ask? Glad you asked. First, Giles didn’t mention, and O’Reilly didn’t mention, and Shackelford didn’t mention, that, as reported by Fox News, “The provisions of the bills may be unconstitutional. And the House bill in particular . . . risks alienating defense contractors, who are longtime allies of Republicans . . . The bills are illegal, some skeptics say, because their intent -- to cut off funds to a single group -- violates the constitutional guarantee that lawmakers may not punish a person or group of a crime without a trial, a legal concept known as a bill of attainder that has been reinforced by the Fifth Amendment.” I think we need to rename the Republican Party the HOOPP (Hoist-On-Own-Petard Party).

O’Reilly didn’t seem to have a lot of warm fuzzies toward Giles and her legal counsel. “Now,” he said, “You’re a 20-year-old American involved in a big political scandal story that you broke – so, just tell me, is your life exactly the same, do you get more recognition, are there people criticizing you, give me something.”

Giles Palinated an answer, saying, “It’s, well, you know, a lawsuit was filed, so there’s that criticism . . . but it’s been really cool . . . seeing and uncover government corruption, so being a part of this is incredible, it’s kind of like a dream come true . . . .” Uh, Hannah? ACORN is not a government entity. It may be “really cool” anyway, but it’s not government corruption. As the senior “journalist” in residence, it would seem O’Reilly might have pointed that out.

O’Reilly pursued his own question, though, asking, “. . . Day to day . . . there’s isn’t much difference in the way Hannah Giles lives now as the way you lived, say, a month and a half ago . . . do you have a job, Hannah?”

Giles replied, “Right now, no, I’m dealing with the lawsuit stuff . . . . “

“Okay,” O’Reilly said dismissively, “So you’re dealing with all the legal stuff. Now, counselor, the State of Maryland has a law that you have to have two-party consent to do undercover audio . . . and this is the genesis of, I guess, two ACORN people who were fired are suing. Tell us about the lawsuit.”

Shackelford was glad to comply, drawling, “While the lawsuit’s been filed, Hannah has yet to be served yet, but . . . the two individuals who were fired for essentially facilitating tax fraud, prostitution, even bringing in 13-year-old girls for the sex slaves trade, those individuals were fired, they sued Hannah . . . and James for allegedly causing them emotional distress . . . and then ACORN sued Hannah and James and Breitbart for allegedly causing damage to their reputation, if that’s possible . . . .”

O’Reilly just didn’t seem to be feeling this pair tonight, and, appearing to be irritated, asked. “Do you feel this is a serious lawsuit or will it get thrown out in summary judgment . . . Hannah’s a young woman, she doesn’t have a lot of money to defend lawsuits like this, how ya gonna handle it?” She may not have a lot of money, but as my post (above) notes, Sean Hannity didn't mind pimping for her legal defense fund.

“I think it’s clearly an attempt to bully a young woman . . . .” Shackelford began.

O’Reilly interrupted, dismissing his explanation (a near duplicate, by the way, of Shackelford’s explanation on Hannity that’s outlined in the post above) and clearly irritated: “It’s a revenge play . . . but what is the legal strategy here, I mean, what are you gonna do?”

“Maryland law is very clear,” Shackelford explained, “It has to be a private conversation, anybody who looks at the tapes can see that there were over ten, eleven, twelve people in the room, people milling around . . . you can hear lots of things on the audio, it’s clear that it doesn’t meet that definition. And additionally, we have the First Amendment in this country, and we really value independent journalism, we value the idea of holding powerful interests accountable, and exposing corruption, especially that involves government dollars . . . I think the First Amendment clearly wins out there, and it needs to for the future of our country . . . .” (Emphasis showing ignorance of the First Amendment added). Sheesh, first Giles thinks ACORN is a government entity, and now her attorney, Shackelford, apparently thinks the State of Maryland is Congress. Just a tip for ol’ Shackelford: The First Amendment doesn’t protect people from criticism, or protect people who bring down powerful interests, or protect people from lawsuits, or protect people from any other consequence – even pretty young girls with radical right agendas or even pseudo-journalists who bumble their way into a story and then throw themselves out into the marketplace to be held up to scrutiny. Just in case Shackelford ever has to open his mouth again and speak publicly, here’s the First Amendment for Dummies: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

“It [the lawsuit] could be problematic,” O’Reilly said, refusing to bite. “But anyway, look, Hannah . . . you did something that was bold, there’s no doubt about it, and the results have been catastrophic for ACORN.”

See how O’Reilly didn’t sing Giles’ praises? All he said was that she did something “bold.” But, although O’Reilly should be elated that ACORN has been brought to its knees – especially after his and Glenn Beck’s attempts to accomplish ACORN’s downfall themselves -- he didn’t seem elated. He didn’t seem very happy. In fact, he seemed downright irritated. I’m thinking . . . he didn’t want ACORN brought down unless he was the one who did it. He seemed to be a bit scornful of this little dum-dum and her Palin-loving counsel. I mean, it could be because Giles is clearly not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and it’s hard to imagine her organizing a trip to the video store, let alone master-minding any kind of a journalistic sting operation. It could be because all she had to do to trump O’Reilly and Beck on the whole ACORN thing was dress up like a hooker and stick a video camera in her bra or wherever.

But I’m feeling generous, and I’d like to give O’Reilly some credit here – a little. Maybe the specter of Sarah Palin being ridiculed and mocked and made into a loony-tunes still looms large in O’Reilly’s mind – and maybe O’Reilly realizes that this Giles character is sort of cut out of the Palin mode. If he gets too close, and praises too much, and if Giles then goes down in flames in the lawsuit, or otherwise continues to make a fool of herself Palinating answers and talking like a Valley Girl, O’Reilly might be remembered as her champion.

Being “fair and balanced,” and covering your own ass at the same time, sure is tricky business.