Mike Stark

Mike Stark

Posted: October 22, 2009 05:15 PM

All You Need to Know About the ACORN Scandal and Who Is Behind It

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Andrew Breitbart says he cares a lot about the truth, but it appears that's only true when he isn't the one being questioned.

You remember Breitbart as Matt Drudge's junior partner, the proprietor of BigGovernment.com, and, apparently, babysitter for juvenile delinquents James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, the conservative, hidden-camera-wielding duo that went undercover to obtain footage of low-level ACORN staffers.

They continued their media assault yesterday at the National Press Club. With assists from Republican Congressmen Steve King and Thad McCotter, Fox News and the aforementioned Andrew Breitbart, O'Keefe and Giles unleashed their most recent attack.

Let's review their story:

O'Keefe, dressed as a pimp, and Giles, disguised as a prostitute, visited ACORN offices where they asked for assistance purchasing a home. They claimed to have difficulty documenting income derived from the streets. But they had so much money! In fact, it wasn't just the two of them -- they had a whole crew of underage girls from El Salvador turning tricks for them. Hell, they had so much money, they needed help laundering it for the pimp's run for Congress.

Now let's tell the truth.

The truth is that O'Keefe never wore the pimp outfit into an ACORN office. Instead, he posed as a candidate for Congress that wanted to help a young woman caught in the trappings of prostitution. Supposedly, he wanted to help her, and her fellow prostitutes, escape the clutches of a brutal pimp by finding a place for them to live.

Look, the ACORN personnel aren't blameless. Some did and said some pretty stupid things and deserved to be fired. But the world in which they work is vastly different from the world most readers of this blog post recognize. CNN, Desperate Housewives, even The Wire aren't going to begin to convey the social chaos that defines the neighborhoods ACORN often serves.

Breitbart and his crew would have you believe that the ACORN staffers should have called the police when confronted with a prostitute.

I hope the staffers, at first, were celebrating. It's not often you see a prostitute assert control over her life and try to break free from a pimp. The idea that this one was trying to take a whole crew of vulnerable underage women with her must have been amazing!

In the first video below, Breitbart asks me if I'm disturbed by what I saw in the videos.

If he had let me answer, I would have told him that I perceive ACORN's mission to be helping the underserved. That I don't understand how helping women out of sexual slavery is something that deserves to be condemned. That what I'm disturbed by is the behavior being demonstrated by those up on the stage that would demonize people trying to make a real difference in people's lives.

In the end, I think I ruined their little press conference.

Evidently, it hadn't occurred to them that they might face serious scrutiny. Why, for example, does O'Keefe dress up in the ridiculous pimp garb for the bumpers of the video when he didn't wear that costume into the ACORN offices? Why is Breitbart attaching his name and credibility to someone that was kicked out of his Rutgers dorm for refusing to cease his use of racial slurs? Exactly why would Breitbart expect an ACORN staffer to call the police on a Congressional candidate trying to rescue a young prostitute from her vicious pimp?

Finally, in the second video, we learn all we need to know.

After hiding behind the lawsuit and using it as a shield to deflect questions they did not want to answer, they refuse to commit to releasing every full and unedited tape they have in exchange for ACORN dropping all of its lawsuits.

If they really wanted the truth out there, why do they need to edit these tapes in the first place? Why aren't the unedited videos already in the public domain?

UPDATE: I've been questioned regarding my sourcing for the claim that O'Keefe was kicked out of his Rutgers dorm for frequently using racial slurs.

After checking with my sources, neither of which were James O'Keefe or any of his public comments, writings or other communication regarding the matter, I do not feel compelled to change anything about my post.

You may believe I should have informed my readers that Mr. O'Keefe denies the allegations, but frankly, as a matter of my own personal judgment, Mr. O'Keefe is not credible. As such, it would be irresponsible for me to report what I consider to be O'Keefe's prevarications. I'm in the business of reporting the truth as best as I know it. "Balancing" the truth with lies is not a practice I subscribe to.

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View Comments:
- TRYKER I'm a Fan of TRYKER 65 fans permalink

Thank you for your reporting and effort in this matter Mr. Stark.
From the sleazy way they pulled this "sting" and edited it to be about a "pimp" that wasn't a pimp, it is plain to see that they were doing the illegal acts. Have to laugh, no self-respecting Pimp in the world would have dressed like that, what a joke. Another plumber that wasn't a plumber story, so GOP.
I'm glad that ACORN is suing them and I hope that funding for ACORN is increased so they can help more people register to vote.
If anyone had acted on the supposed advice from ACORN on this tape, we haven't heard about it, nothing actually came of it, it was just some back and forth with 2 lying right wing plants trying to make something of nothing. As usual, the right wing had to use lies and deception and it is back-firing on them royally as it should.

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 03:35 PM on 10/23/2009

Fox and the GOP have targeted Acorn because they have registered over a million poor people to vote,most of them Democrats. I sent a donation To Acorn.

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 10:45 AM on 10/25/2009
- Teresa201 I'm a Fan of Teresa201 29 fans permalink

Thank you.

I thought they paid the workers to act foolish because anyone could see by the way he dressed he was trouble....You have finally told the truth of these tapes.

The story was just too perfect a set-up to take ACORN down.

Why is it that so many Americans do not realize that ACORN works for both parties....
Yes, they even registered McCain voters....

There's your 'shock and awe' folks.

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 09:27 AM on 10/23/2009
- Panola60 I'm a Fan of Panola60 3 fans permalink

Obama may have cut his teeth working with ACORN but it seems like he really needs to distance himself from this group.

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 08:12 AM on 10/23/2009
- BlueFloyd I'm a Fan of BlueFloyd 84 fans permalink

oh ok

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 10:21 AM on 10/23/2009

I don't understand why the guy can stand up there and talk about the issues that concern the lawsuit, but when confronted with a reasonable question, all of a sudden he can't talk about the issues because of the lawsuit. I, too, was unaware that the "pimp" wasn't wearing the costume when they went into the ACORN offices. Keep up the good work, Mike.

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 08:18 PM on 10/22/2009
- anachoret I'm a Fan of anachoret 30 fans permalink

I commend and thank you you for your work, Mr. Stark.

I wish that people could see that the "culture war" isn't just the PR circus they see on television. That element is simply to "Control the media," while demoralizing and vilifying urban residents through a dehumanization.
But the ACORN chapter of the saga shows how anything that helps inner-city residents has also been attacked by shock doctrine like defunding, enabled by this presentation of the world in which we live. The Democratic Party has reacted to this Culture war with characteristic spinelessness, and fears that having the nerve to protect inner-cities will offend the sensibilities of suburban voters.

While Republicans are well aware of the strategic political importance of those "little blue islands," the Democrats are completely disinterested in fighting for anything but those islands beach-front property, and will fold as soon as "Real America" begins the inner-city mud-slinging, as they did in this case.

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 07:31 PM on 10/22/2009
- Tanyars5 I'm a Fan of Tanyars5 103 fans permalink

Mike Stark!!!!!!! We are witnessing journalism!!!!!!
I never knew the guy didn't wear the clothes into the office.
Please get a job on MSNBC or CNN so u can do some serious jounalism. I guess these "cables" don't want to ask obvious questions.
Great job.

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 07:18 PM on 10/22/2009
- GeorgeP922 I'm a Fan of GeorgeP922 98 fans permalink

Huff Post needs to hire Mike Stark as a reporter.

I know he wants to be independent, but hiring him will give him a bigger budget, and he already is in DC.

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 07:07 PM on 10/22/2009
- jade7243 I'm a Fan of jade7243 78 fans permalink

He's better as an independent. Just because the master is HP, it doesn't mean there is not a bias nor an agenda.

Follow the Michael Moore path.

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 08:04 PM on 10/22/2009
- RobDoub I'm a Fan of RobDoub 18 fans permalink

Finally...some of the pieces of this are becoming clear...thanks for the insight!

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 07:01 PM on 10/22/2009
- jalowe1957 I'm a Fan of jalowe1957 24 fans permalink

Granted, ACORN has had its share of endemic corruption in its ranks. So why did it have to take a sting perpetrated by a pair of GOP-affiliated operatives for it to clean its house?

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 06:41 PM on 10/22/2009

I see that you are "Pimping" for the man, again. Cheney, much?

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 05:34 AM on 10/23/2009
- BlueFloyd I'm a Fan of BlueFloyd 84 fans permalink

....and what will it take for the OLD PARTY to finally clean their house?

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 07:26 AM on 10/23/2009

I have not seem the video - but your article has me wondering how much they are edited ... Maybe I will breakdown and check out the "outrage" that inspired Congress to get off its lazy but ... Its so sad and pathetic...

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 06:40 PM on 10/22/2009
- LightGreen I'm a Fan of LightGreen 20 fans permalink

But after the tape was shown, Andrew Breitbart, who first aired the videos on at BigGovernment.com, challenged Acorn to allow him to play the audio of all of the tapes that haven't yet been released.

Ian Phillips, legislative director for Pennsylvania Acorn, dodged the request, charging that the Philadelphia video had been manipulated and adding, "It's not on us to say, 'Release the audio.'"

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 06:54 PM on 10/22/2009
- BlueFloyd I'm a Fan of BlueFloyd 84 fans permalink

what you said has nothing to do with edited tapes or why they were edited at all. NOTHING. ZERO. Can you understand that???

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 07:28 AM on 10/23/2009

Wow.....I was not aware that the pimp suit was not worn into the Acorn offices, or that the guy was pretending to be a congressman attempting to rescue a hooker from her pimp. Did i miss this in the "mainstream" news?

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 06:39 PM on 10/22/2009

I think we all know why the tapes are edited. And why the unedited versions are not in the public domain.....

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 06:27 PM on 10/22/2009
- LightGreen I'm a Fan of LightGreen 20 fans permalink

Oh? Why?

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 06:40 PM on 10/22/2009

Because Halliburton and KBR won't allow it. That's their turf!

    Reply    Favorite    Flag as abusive Posted 05:36 AM on 10/23/2009

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