Interviewed on MSNBC, Andrew Breitbart falsely claimed that the ACORN videos created by James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles "clearly show in every -- in almost every single office, the employees at ACORN helping aid and abet the establishment of an underage prostitution brothel." But in six of the eight heavily edited videos produced by O'Keefe and Giles and distributed by Breitbart, either the activists did not clearly tell the ACORN employees that they were planning to engage in child prostitution; or the ACORN employees refused to help them or apparently deliberately misled them; or ACORN employees contacted the police following their visit.
Loading the player ...
From the January 28 edition of MSNBC Live:
BREITBART: The videos clearly show in every -- in almost every single office, the employees at ACORN helping aid and abet the establishment of an underage prostitution brothel and of fourteen year old girls. They even helped them figure out how to get them on the -- off of the IRS rolls as dependents. If you don't find that to be criminal behavior, that's your problem, not mine.
Claim that videos show many ACORN offices willing to aid child prostitution is false
Washington, D.C., office: Child prostitution not clearly discussed. At no point in the transcript of Giles and O'Keefe's visit to the Washington, D.C., ACORN office does either Giles or O'Keefe clearly state that they are planning to engage in child prostitution. Both Giles (Page 15) and O'Keefe (Page 9) say that the house will be used by "girls" -- who the ACORN employee refers to as "women of the night" -- and at one point, O'Keefe says (Page 13) that "10 El Salvadorians" will be working in the house, but at no point are the ages of the supposed prostitutes mentioned.
New York office: Child prostitution not clearly discussed: In the transcript of Giles and O'Keefe's visit to the New York ACORN office, they discuss underage girls that Giles wants to "protect" and separately discuss "girls" working in the house, but they do not indicate that the two groups are the same. O'Keefe says that Giles "is going to have this business in the house with a bunch of girls coming and doing these things, performing tricks and she is going to give me the money so that I can pay the mortgage" (Page 15) but does not say that those "girls" are underage. Much later, Giles states, "They should throw Sonny in jail, not me, he's the one who got me started. ... I mean he got a whole slew of which is why I also want a house. ... He's got all these 13, 14, 15 year old girls from El Salvador and that's what -- I need to protect them like I know what its like and I have to protect them and like give them somewhere to live" (Page 28). The videos posted on YouTube are nevertheless titled "ACORN NYC Child Prostitution Investigation."
Hannity, Lowry similarly referred to presumably of-age prostitutes as "girls." While Giles and O'Keefe refer to the prostitutes who would reside in the house as "girls" in the Washington, D.C., and New York videos, conservative media figures such as Hannity -- who repeatedly touted the videos -- have similarly referred to prostitutes in that manner regardless of their age. The July 3, 2006, and December 16, 2005, edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes featured Hannity's interviews with presumably adult prostitutes, whom Hannity repeatedly referred to as "girls." Likewise, guest-hosting the July 27, 2007, edition of Hannity & Colmes, Rich Lowry referred to "part two of Sean's attempt to Hannitize the girls of Reno's Bunny Ranch." [from Nexis]
San Bernardino: ACORN employee tries to "shock them as much as they were shocking me." In the video of Giles and O'Keefe's visit to the San Bernardino ACORN office, ACORN organizer Tresa Kaelke gives them advice on how to run a brothel and also informs them that she murdered her ex-husband. During the evening on September 15, ACORN issued a statement calling the video of O'Keefe and Giles' interactions with Kaelke an "obvious set of lies and manipulations." Kaelke stated of the conservative activists who filmed her: "They were not believable. ... Somewhat entertaining, but they weren't even good actors. I didn't know what to make of them. They were clearly playing with me. I decided to shock them as much as they were shocking me. Like Stephen Colbert does -- saying the most outrageous things with a straightface." In a September 15 news release, the San Bernardino Police Department stated that Kaelke's claim that she shot and killed her ex-husband "do[es] not appear to be factual."
Los Angeles: ACORN employee refused to help them after they mentioned child prostitution. In a blog post accompanying video of Giles and O'Keefe's visit to the Los Angeles ACORN Housing office, O'Keefe reports that the ACORN employee "drew the line when we spoke about the underage girls" and "would not assist us."
Philadelphia: ACORN employee contacted police following visit. ACORN has publicly released a July 24 Philadelphia police report stating that an ACORN employee complained to police that O'Keefe had created a "verbal disturbance" at ACORN's office.
San Diego: ACORN employee contacted police following visit. In a September 22 article, the Associated Press reported that National City, California, police said an ACORN worker contacted them about "possible human smuggling" after his interactions with Giles and O'Keefe.
Breitbart falsehood consistent with BigGovernment record of mendacity
Breitbart, O'Keefe, Giles, and BigGovernment.com editor-in-chief Mike Flynn have each at various times falsely suggested that the filmmakers were never rebuffed by any of the ACORN offices they visited in their attempts to get ACORN to assist them in improper activities, or that they had only been rebuffed on one occasion.
O'Keefe falsely claimed only one ACORN employee "would not assist us." In a November 16, 2009, BigGovernment.com post, O'Keefe claimed:
Although Mr. Felix D. Harris of Los Angeles ACORN told us he didn't care about our prostitution business in regards to a housing loan, he drew the line when we spoke about the underage girls. Although he did not kick us out, he was the only employee in our nationwide ACORN child prostitution investigation who would not assist us.
O'Keefe dodged question about whether ACORN employees refused to help. During the September 13, 2009, edition of Fox News' America's News HQ, correspondent Eric Shawn asked, "Were there some that refused your offers, that actually did not -- were not willing to cooperate?" But rather than acknowledge at the time what happened in Los Angeles, O'Keefe responded:
O'KEEFE: No -- in none of the facil -- [laughs] none of the facilities kicked us out. That's a lie.
O'Keefe waited more than two months after this exchange to acknowledge that Harris "would not assist us obtain a house for our illegal activities."
Giles previously answered "No" to the question: "[Y]ou didn't go into one office, and they said, 'We're not going to help you do anything like that?' " On the September 16 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Sean Hannity interviewed Giles and Breitbart. During the interview, Hannity asked Giles: "[W]hen you go to Baltimore and D.C. and New York and San Bernardino and San Diego, and this all happened, were there any cities you went to where you just didn't get any videotape not worthy to air?" Giles replied: "We're airing it. It's pretty worthy. Everyone seems to think -- ." Hannity then asked: "In other words, you didn't go into one office, and they said, 'We're not going to help you do anything like that?' " Giles responded, "No."
Breitbart didn't disclose LA tape when asked whether "every" ACORN office visited "helped you or were willing to help you." Following Giles' denial, Hannity said during the September 16 interview, "Not one? Every place you went, they helped you or were willing to help you, either -- not report you for an underage prostitution ring, evade taxes as we've -- ." Rather than acknowledge what happened in Los Angeles, Breitbart responded, "Right. It is interesting. There's no place, as ACORN tried to state, that kicked them out based upon the premise that they were doing something nefarious."
Giles previously answered "no" to question: "[Y]ou are saying that there were some [ACORN employees] that did refuse?" Appearing on the September 13 edition of Fox News' America's News HQ, Giles stated: "[A]bout the whole kicking out, I mean, the women in Baltimore hugged me and -- when I left. And the women in D.C. -- I did follow-up phone calls, and they asked if I could come and meet them for coffee so we could further discuss how to make this possible." Shawn then asked, "[Y]ou are saying that there were some that did refuse? James or Hannah?" Giles responded, "Not -- no."
BigGovernment's Flynn previously claimed: "[I]t's everywhere [O'Keefe] went." According to a September 16 article on the conservative website Human Events, Mike Flynn, the editor-in-chief of BigGovernment.com, said in an exclusive interview: "It's not even just one random employee, it's so comprehensive, it's everywhere [O'Keefe] went. What shocks me is when you watch the videos, they don't even flinch."