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Andrew Breitbart Trying To Blackmail The Obama Administration With ACORN And Other Videos

Reported by Ellen - November 20, 2009 -

Andrew Breitbart and his team of ACORN videographers were back on Hannity last night (11/19/09) with a new undercover video that Breitbart claimed he was “forced to offer” now because California Attorney General Jerry Brown has launched an investigation into whether the filmmakers broke the law by secretly recording “confidential communication.” That was astounding enough. You’d think that if Breitbart really had something big on ACORN, he would have released it a few months ago, when he had maximum media attention, rather than withhold it until he could use it as ammunition against a personal foe. Or you’d think he’d at least have the good sense not to broadcast his self-serving machinations. Judging from the very edited video Breitbart presented last night, one suspects that the real reason it was withheld was because it did little to effectively incriminate ACORN. Breitbart, on the other hand, incriminated himself even worse. Near the end of the segment, he told Hannity that he had more videos and “not just ACORN” that he threatened to release during the 2010 election cycle unless the Department of Justice opened a federal investigation into ACORN. With video.

In the latest video (really two videos of one encounter), Los Angeles ACORN employee Lavelle Stewart is shown talking to the undercover filmmakers, “abused prostitute” Hannah Giles and her “boyfriend” James O’Keef,e in a setting that is obviously not ACORN but in a hallway outside of an office called, “Program for Torture Victims” where Stewart thought Giles would be better served than at ACORN. There is a point where Stewart offers to help the pair, though I could not tell from the edited video what, exactly, she was going to help them do. But Stewart also made it clear she was acting on her own, not on behalf of ACORN. As the Los Angeles Times reported, Los Angeles ACORN has refuted the video, saying, “The tapes are clearly doctored and highly edited and it is our hope this will be responsibly reported on should this become a news story… It is hard to respond to this tape. It is so heavily edited that it may be constructed to conceal the reality of the interaction… We are going to reserve judgment on the actions of the former employee (Stewart no longer works for ACORN) on this tape until we see the full, unedited version of this interaction.”

Despite the heavy editing, Stewart’s personal cell phone number remains in one video. Another classy move from Team Breitbart.

As has become customary, there was nobody on Hannity to offer a pro-ACORN perspective or even to question the claims of the filmmakers. Hannity didn’t even read ACORN’s refutation. But the fact that the segment did not air until the second half of the show, when the top story was a rehash with Elisabeth Hasselbeck of Hannity’s interview with Sarah Palin the night before, was a strong indication that Fox News producers knew they did not have anything like “what may be the most explosive ACORN video yet,” as Hannity gushed in his introduction.

Predictably, Hannity once again failed to question Giles about her inconsistent statements, saying first that no ACORN employee had refused to help the pair with their scam and then claiming that only employee had turned them down. Nor did Hannity follow up on Giles’ dubious statement, made on Hannity two months ago, that she had been “working on” verifying whether or not an ACORN employee in San Bernardino had been telling the truth when she boasted, in a previous video shown on Fox, that she had killed her husband or whether that employee had been pulling their legs, as she later claimed.

Breitbart complained to Hannity that while there has been no federal inquiry into ACORN, he, O’Keefe and Giles are being investigated (by AG Jerry Brown, in California). “That’s why we’ve been forced to offer this latest tape,” Breitbart said.

"Are you saying, Andrew, that there are more tapes?” Hannity asked, playing straight man because he already knew there were more.

“Oh, my goodness, there are,” Breitbart said. “Not only are there more tapes, it’s not just ACORN. (Hannity could be heard delightedly saying “Wow!” in the background). And this message is to Attorney General Holder. I want you to know that we have more tapes. It’s not just ACORN and we’re gonna hold out until the next election cycle or else if you want to do a clean investigation, we will give you the rest of what we have. We will comply with you, we will give you the documentation we have from countless ACORN whistleblowers who want to come forward but are fearful of this organization and the retribution that they fear, that this is a dangerous organization. So if you get into an investigation, we will give you the tapes. If you don’t give us the tapes (sic), we will revisit these tapes come election time.”

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines “blackmail” as “extortion or coercion by threats especially of public exposure or criminal prosecution.”