Mar
02
2012

How Breitbart Got Away With His Lies

Andrew Breitbart (cc photo: Gage Skidmore)

Kudos to Paul Farhi of the Washington Post (3/2/12) for talking about the obvious deceptions and inaccuracies in right-wing publisher Andrew Breitbart's work: News organizations found, for example, that the ACORN videos–which purported to show a young Mr. Breitbart ally named James O'Keefe posing as a pimp seeking advice from the organization about how to establish a brothel and evade taxes–actually presented a heavily edited account of what had happened. An investigation by the California attorney general's office concluded that O'Keefe had added footage of himself and an ally dressed in flamboyant costumes that they had not worn to ACORN's […]

Feb
22
2012

Media's Weird Ethics: Pretending to Be Someone Else Is Worse Than Facilitating Global Catastrophe

There's a popular verb in headlines about climate researcher Peter Gleick's admission that he used trickery to get damning documents out of the climate change-denialist group the Heartland Institute: "Activist Says He Lied to Obtain Climate Papers" (New York Times, 2/21/12); "Scientist Peter Gleick Admits He Lied to Get Climate Documents" (L.A. Times, 2/21/12); "Climate Researcher Says He Lied to Obtain Heartland Documents" (WashingtonPost.com, 2/21/12). What you wouldn't gather from all these pants-on-fire condemnations is that there is a long and honorable tradition, from Nellie Bly feigning madness to expose mistreatment of the mentally ill to the Chicago Sun-Times' Mirage […]

Dec
07
2011

Covering OWS, With Expert Commentary by Andrew Breitbart

USA Today's Rick Hampson has a piece today (12/7/11) on Occupy Wall Street's Occupy Our Homes actions, which include efforts to move families into vacant housing. This coverage is a good sign if you think there is still something happening with this movement after the evictions in New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere. But why does the article include commentary from right-wing scam artist Andrew Breitbart? The paper reports: Conservative online publisher and commentator Andrew Breitbart said the movement's new focus demonstrates that Occupy Wall Street is not "an authentic grassroots movement" but a political maneuver backed by organized labor […]

Jun
27
2011

Andrew Breitbart Is an Ink Blot

That's not my opinion– that's what I learned reading the New York Times today (6/27/11). Jeremy Peters profiles the right-wing scam artist, telling readers (emphasis added): Some of his reader-generated scoops have reverberated all the way to the halls of the United States Capitol, like the Weiner photos and undercover video he released of ACORN workers offering advice on how to evade taxes and conceal child prostitution. After the videos went viral Congress ended grants to ACORN, and federal agencies severed ties with the group. That wasn't the lesson of the ACORN videos at all. After a long battle, the […]

Mar
15
2011

NBC Still Doesn't Know About O'Keefe's ACORN Hoax

From Wednesday's NBC Nightly News (3/9/11), courtesy of reporter Lisa Myers: We last saw O'Keefe wearing a fur coat and playing a pimp when he managed to take down the liberal group ACORN. No we didn't. As should be well-known by now, O'Keefeused footage of himself wearing a "pimp" costume in his ACORN videos–but didn't wear the ridiculous costume during his "undercover stings." Media accounts acted as though he did, though–it took a lot of effortto get the New York Times to finally admit its errors on this count. If reportersdon't know these facts, they're bound to get fooled by […]

Mar
14
2011

NPR Unstung? Once Again, O'Keefe Shows He Shouldn't Be Trusted

After his fraudulent ACORN videos, the lesson media should havelearned aboutright-wing "citizen journalist" James O'Keefe is not to trust him. But they didn't, so here we are with his NPR stunt, which allegedly shows NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller saying mean things about the Tea Party in a meeting with phony Muslim Brotherhood-connected donors. But it appears that, once again, O'Keefe's videos are not be what they seem. The first serious questions about them were raised on (I swear!) The Blaze, a Glenn Beck-affiliated website. Over there, Scott Baker pointed to a few problems (3/10/11). In one part of the video, […]

Feb
02
2011

Pimps and Prostitutes…Again?

In late 2009 and early 2010, right-wing activist James O'Keefe concocted a story that got widespread media coverage. The tall tale went like this: O'Keefe and his associate went to offices affiliated with the community organizing group ACORN in order to solicit advice on running a brothel and evading taxes. The problem was that nothing much like that actually happened. As FAIR summarized (Action Alert, 3/11/10): O'Keefe never dressed as a pimp during his visits to ACORN offices, seems to never actually represent himself as a "pimp," and the advice he solicits is usually about how to file income taxes […]

Jul
22
2010

In USA Today, Breitbart's Old Lies Live On

Sometimes it almost seems like one of the requirements for a high-placed job in corporate media is an inability to learn from experience. Take the front page of USA Today (7/22/10)–the "cover story" is about Shirley Sherrod (FAIR Blog, 7/21/10), whose ordeal is blamed in part on "conservative blogger" Andrew Breitbart taking advantage of "a media culture in which half-truths can spread like a virus online, to be instantly and endlessly chewed over on cable TV." And right next to this piece, the paper's lead story is about voters being registered at welfare offices. It concludes with a right-wing spin […]

Jul
21
2010

Sherrod Story Raises Question: How Many Breitbart Frauds Will Media Fall For?

The lesson of Shirley Sherrod's disgraceful treatment by right-wing and not-so-right-wing media (followed by her equally squalid dismissal by an administration that took that media at face value) boils down to a single question: When will journalists see Andrew Breitbart as the serial promoter of journalistic frauds that he is, rather than as a legitimate source for story ideas? FAIR readers will remember Breitbart's dissemination of videos that purported to show ACORN employees advising a "prostitute" and her "pimp" — conservative activists Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe–on how to avoid paying taxes. The videos have since been heavily debunked. As […]

Apr
15
2010

Why Is WP Listening to Andrew Breitbart?

Andrew Breitbart is the right-wing Internet provocateur behind the ACORN video hoaxes, which purported to show a pretend pimp-and-prostitute duo getting criminal advice from the community organizing group ACORN. That's not what happened, but Breitbart's inaccurate presentation was taken at face value. Yet some in the media are still treating Breitbart seriously. Washington Post ombud Andrew Alexander wrote a column on April 11 taking his cue from Breitbart's latest effort, which is to attempt to cast doubt on the widely reported racist incidents at Tea Party protests at the Capitol on March 20, the day of the final health reform […]

Apr
05
2010

More on NYT and ACORN

A short New York Times piece by Ian Urbina (4/2/10) serves as an update of sorts on the future of community organizing group ACORN, which says it will continue to have a national presence. Urbina includes this description of the now-infamous right-wing video hoax that did much of the damage to the group: ACORN has faced a drastic drop in federal money and foundation support after a video sting was publicized last fall. In at least one of the undercover videos, ACORN employees were shown advising a young conservative activist, who posed as a prostitute, how to conceal her criminal […]

Mar
25
2010

GritTV: The Witch Hunt Against ACORN

FAIR's Jim Naureckas appeared on GritTV yesterday to discuss media coverage of ACORN:

Mar
11
2010

Action Alert: NYT Falls for the ACORN Hoax

FAIR has a new Action Alert out pointing out that the New York Times has repeatedly published accounts of the right-wing anti-ACORN videos that credulously accepted assertions that have turned out to be false–for example, that one of the video-makers, James O'Keefe, went into ACORN offices dressed as a cartoon pimp. See the alert here for the real story–and feel free to post copies of your messages to the Times or to respond to the alert in the comments thread here.