Megyn Kelly Gushes Over ACORN Gotcha Gal, Hannah Giles, Overlooks Her Many Falsehoods
Reported by Ellen - February 18, 2010 -
Two days ago, I wrote about how Megyn Kelly’s recent discussion about ACORN was a textbook example of Fox News’ GOP propaganda. Sadly, her interview yesterday (2/17/10) with Hannah Giles, the undercover “prostitute” who helped “pimp” James O’Keefe make the now-infamous ACORN sting videos, made the prior segment look like a model of balanced, responsible journalism. Not only did Kelly ignore the numerous questions that have since arisen about the integrity of the videos and the sting operation, Kelly ignored the falsehoods and questionable statements that Giles has told on the air in the past (which we have documented here, here and here, e.g.) about her work as well as the numerous falsehoods Giles told Kelly right there in the segment. Kelly also accepted at face value O’Keefe’s dubious “explanation” and justification for his actions that later got him arrested for trying to tamper with the phones at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office and misinformed about ACORN’s reaction to his arrest. And as if all that were not bad enough, Kelly gushed so hard over Giles, I almost expected her to stand up and applaud and then call the Nobel Prize Committee to demand that Giles be given an award on the spot. With video.
The pretext for the discussion was the “news” that O’Keefe’s lawyer had “met with prosecutors last week.” We never found out what had happened at that meeting and what it might mean for O’Keefe’s case. Although Kelly, a lawyer, often discusses legal issues, she completely overlooked the legalities of O’Keefe’s case. One suspects it’s because the facts don’t reflect well on him. We have previously noted that Kelly seems to have a particular antagonism toward ACORN. This interview only added to that record.
Instead of a lawyer or even a reporter who could give any kind of objective run down of the facts, the only guest to discuss these “new developments” about O’Keefe was Giles.
Kelly adopted O’Keefe’s explanation about what he was doing in Landrieu’s office as truth and without question. “James, of course, and three friends went down into Senator Mary Landrieu’s office in Louisiana to try to get some information on why she wasn’t answering constituents’ phone calls who were complaining about the so-called “Louisiana Purchase” in connection with the health care bill. He was doing an undercover investigation, he got arrested. They said he was entering her property on false pretenses and so on.”
Right there, Kelly did enough spinning to make me dizzy. For one thing, O’Keefe’s story is full of holes, as was explained nicely by Marcy Wheeler at Fire Dog Lake. But Kelly didn’t question a single element. She just sort of helped him along by not mentioning his bogus claim that Landrieu had said the phones were not working (when she had not) nor that he had gone to a different office from the one that supposedly had the broken phones.
Furthermore, Kelly “forgot” to mention that O’Keefe’s so-called undercover investigation involved a deceit of posing as a telephone repair person and allegedly trying to gain access to the Senator’s phones. When he appeared on Hannity, O’Keefe refused to explain what he was trying to do with the phones saying only that he was not trying to tap them. Oh, and one other thing Kelly forgot? That O’Keefe was not just arrested for “entering (federal) property on false pretenses.” He was arrested for using “false and fraudulent pretense” to enter Landrieu’s office for the purpose of “willfully and maliciously interfering” with her telephone system. That happens to be a federal crime.
In addition to a rotten record on ACORN, Kelly seems to have a penchant for stories that make people of color look bad. So it was no surprise that Kelly also failed to mention that since his arrest, information has surfaced connecting O’Keefe to a white supremacist forum.
It was time to break out the Dramamine because the spinning had only just begun.
After not reporting more than her fair share of facts, Kelly got on her high horse and said, “The mainstream media leapt on this (O’Keefe’s arrest) and basically accused him of wiretapping and so on. Many reported that you (Giles) were somehow involved in this. Hannah, what’s your reaction to it?”
Giles said, “Well, first of all, um, the mainstream media, the way they reacted was absolutely absurd. They didn’t even go in and check the facts of the whole story. You know, they didn’t ask James, personally, his side of the story.” Actually, The AP apparently tried to speak to O’Keefe but he would only say, “veritas.” The Times-Picayune spoke to O’Keefe’s lawyer. But as we have previously noted, facts are not Giles’ strong suit.
Giles continued, “It was Fox News that actually let James give his side of the story.” Neither she nor Kelly pointed out that although Fox gave O’Keefe the opportunity, he had refused to say what, exactly, he and his pals had been trying to accomplish by dressing up as telephone repair people and what, exactly, they had been trying to do with the telephones.
Kelly moved on to attack ACORN with a falsehood of her own. “You know, one of the first things we saw after James got arrested was ACORN’s CEO Bertha Lewis take to the airwaves. It’s so hard to get a comment out of her in connection with the scandal about her organization, at least early on in it, but she was very quick to get on the television and try to claim that ACORN had somehow been exonerated (Kelly nearly tittered with contempt) because of James O’Keefe’s arrest in what was an attempt at more citizen journalism.”
Pass me another Dramamine, please. Maybe Kelly found it hard to get a comment out of Bertha Lewis but I seem to recall she appeared on The O’Reilly Factor in May, 2009 and on Fox News Sunday on September 20, 2009, right in the middle of the video scandal. And her statement that ACORN had been exonerated? Not quite. Kelly did not read or show a clip to the “we report, you decide” networks’ audience of what Lewis supposedly said about ACORN’s “exoneration.” But you can read it in full here.
Lastly, Kelly’s description of O’Keefe’s illegal stunt, which he has refused to explain, as “more citizen journalism” would have left me tittering in contempt were it not so nauseating.
“What was your reaction to seeing Bertha Lewis?” Kelly asked Giles, in an obvious ploy to get Giles to say something denigrating about ACORN.
Giles did not disappoint. She said Palinesquely, “That was, um, a little ridiculous. It just shows you how they’re, you know, flashing mirrors and trying to change the subject and stuff like that. James continuing on an investigation and trying to, um, you know, show, uh, the corruption in another office somehow gets changed into justifying the fact that ACORN employees across the United States were aiding and abetting, um, two people establish an underage prostitution ring with illegal immigrants that they were smuggling in boxes. It doesn’t make sense.”
Some might say that Giles was the one using smoke and mirrors and not making sense here. Besides the fact that all we know about what O’Keefe was up to in Landrieu’s office was his own very sketchy, non-explanation of an explanation, besides the fact that whatever he was up to seems to have been illegal, and besides the fact that Giles seems to have no problem with O'Keefe breaking the law, her accusation that ACORN had aided and abetted the establishment of a prostitution ring was another falsehood. Although some low-level ACORN employees were seen as willing to help, an independent, albeit ACORN-sponsored investigation found “no evidence that action, illegal or otherwise, was taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographers.” In other words, there was no real “aiding and abetting.” A Congressional Research Service investigation went even further and found that ACORN had not violated any of the terms of its federal funding in the last five years.
But guess who did seem to commit an illegal act? Giles and O’Keefe for recording ACORN employees without their knowledge. Not only are the two being sued in federal court by some of the people they recorded, the Maryland State’s Attorney has considered prosecuting them and the Attorney General of California is investigating. That was another bit of information that neither Kelly nor her Fox News producers felt necessary to reveal. So much for “we report, you decide.” Again.
Nor did “fair and balanced” Kelly point out that while Giles was whining about the lack of journalistic ethics in the rest of the media, several questions remain about the integrity of those ACORN videos. The unedited videos have yet to be produced.
Kelly also never seemed to give it a moment of thought about the several times that Giles has been caught lying about her work. Instead, Kelly gushed, “Do you think that this kind of …citizen journalism, Hannah, is really the wave of the future? That more and more people like you are going to start popping up and doing this kind of thing to sort of get inside looks at institutions that maybe people who are better known, at least their faces are more publicly recognized, can do?”
Giles said, “You know, we, we care about this country and the people that were assigned to do this job, mainstream media, um, Congressmen, things like that, they’re not investigating corruption.” (well, except for the 49 investigations, 11 of which were still pending as of December) With all due respect to Giles, neither she nor O'Keefe did any investigating either. They pulled a series of theatrical stunts that made ACORN look bad. I challenge her to produce a single bit of corruption that she actually uncovered.
Then, despite refusing to provide transparency in her own work, she accused, “They’re not being transparent with the issues.”
Kelly, of course, missed the irony and the hypocrisy. Instead, she gushed even harder. After ascertaining that Giles is only 20, Kelly said, “Unbelievable! You’re so composed and you’ve done so much. This must have been a little nerve-wracking for you.” She even complimented Giles on her physical fitness.
Then it was back to ACORN bashing. Kelly prompted Giles again. “After all your work… a court ruling has just ordered that ACORN’s federal funding be restored for Constitutional reasons. Your reaction to that.”
Giles responded by telling more lies, none of which were challenged by Kelly: “ACORN has been involved in voter fraud, the mortgage crisis, their leadership is embezzling millions of dollars, their employees have been caught on video helping… people establish an underage prostitution ring… and here they are getting taxpayer dollars.”
We’ve already pointed out how none of the ACORN employees helped establish any prostitution rings. And ACORN has never been involved in any voter fraud. A handful of low-level ACORN employees engaged in voter registration fraud, not voter fraud, which Kelly well knows. And while I’m not sure what Giles was alleging about ACORN and the mortgage crisis, the leadership of ACORN is not embezzling millions of dollars. The former leadership of ACORN had embezzled money. The current leadership has been working to clean that up.
After ignoring all those falsehoods, Kelly gushed again. “Well, you are a very poised, articulate young woman. I wish you all the best in your career as a journalist… All the best to you.” Then, to her audience, she said, “Were you like that when you were 20? …She’s got quite a career ahead of her… Take care Hannah.”
Never mind the Dramamine. I'm pretty sure I’m going to throw up.