More Fox fabrication: falsely claims Philly ACORN video shows “unlawful actions”

Following the release of what Fox News itself called “heavily edited tape” of conservative James O'Keefe's visit to a Philadelphia ACORN office, Fox News ran captions stating, “Exposing ACORN: New Video Shows Unlawful Actions.” In fact, in the heavily edited video, there is no evidence of any ACORN worker engaged in any “unlawful actions,” and moreover, ACORN workers filed an incident report with Philadelphia police following O'Keefe's visit.

Fox & Friends on-screen text: O'Keefe's video of Philly ACORN visit “shows unlawful actions”

During the 8 a.m. ET hour of the October 22 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox ran the following caption:

In fact, there is no evidence in O'Keefe's video that any worker in the Philadelphia ACORN office engaged in any “unlawful actions.” In the video released on Andrew Breitbart's on October 21, the audio and video of O'Keefe and Hannah Giles' July 24 visit with Katherine Conway-Russell at the Philadelphia ACORN office have been heavily edited. Many of Russell's statements in the video of the office visit were edited out and replaced with audio of O'Keefe purporting to explain what she said, but nothing in the video supports the claim that Philadelphia ACORN workers actually assisted O'Keefe and Giles with any “unlawful actions.” As Fox News reported: “The new eight-minute video depicts O'Keefe and Giles entering ACORN's Philadelphia office and meeting with Conway-Russell. O'Keefe and Giles are seen speaking with Conway-Russell, but audio portions of the video are missing or edited in some portions.” O'Keefe later stated, “We muted the audio of the ACORN employees on the video” because of “ACORN's legal attack upon us.”

Philadelphia ACORN office called the police on O'Keefe

ACORN released police report following O'Keefe's 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.

Russell can be seen holding police report in O'Keefe's October 21 video. O'Keefe's video shows footage from Russell's September 17 YouTube video in which she made statements about O'Keefe and Giles' visit to the Philadelphia ACORN office. Russell said that following O'Keefe's visit, “We called the police and filed this report.” In his October 21 video, O'Keefe does not dispute that ACORN filed a police report about his visit.

Fox has history of false attacks, smears using O'Keefe's ACORN videos

Fox News runs with San Bernardino ACORN video without needed fact check. On September 15 and 16, Fox News devoted significant programming to O'Keefe and Giles' video of their interactions with a San Bernardino ACORN worker who claimed she murdered her ex-husband and gave advice on how to run a brothel, but stated after the video was released that she had merely been attempting to “shock them as much as they were shocking me.” In running with the video, Fox News hosts frequently promoted the fake claim that the ACORN employee killed her ex-husband without fact-checking the allegation or indicating that they had contacted ACORN for a response. In fact, ACORN called the video “an obvious set of lies and manipulations,” and the San Bernardino Police Department found her former husbands “alive and well.”

Chris Wallace attacks Media Matters on conservative funding of videographers, ignores Media Matters' evidence. On the September 27 edition of Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace stated: “O'Keefe wants to set the record straight. He denies reports on left-wing blogs he got any money from conservative backers.” During that statement, Fox displayed an image of Media Matters' home page followed by an image of a Media Matters item that documented statements by conservative media figures that they were raising money for O'Keefe's and Giles' legal defense or that they would be willing to do so in the future

information Wallace ignored. Wallace also ignored a September 22 Village Voice report -- noted by Media Matters -- that the spokesperson for conservative investor Peter Thiel acknowledged that Thiel had contributed “about $10,000” to an earlier video that O'Keefe released in February 2009.

Wallace also ignored Fox reporting that some ACORN employees “did the right thing.” Wallace reported: “O'Keefe wants to set the record straight. ... And he says he'll release all the tapes soon to show if any ACORN offices did the right thing.” Wallace then added, “Why not release all the tapes at the start?” and proceeded to air video of O'Keefe saying, “We knew that they would lie and they would say, 'Oh, you've got nothing,' or 'You're dubbing your voice in.' But you release a little bit at a time, and they get caught in their lie.” However, on September 22, Fox News' Megyn Kelly reported: "[I]t appears that not every ACORN worker did go along with it. ACORN had been saying that the purported pimp and prostitute had failed in certain offices to actually convince the ACORN workers for help, and police in California say one ACORN worker at one office out there did, in fact, contact them after the filmmakers approached him about this human smuggling ring, or this trafficking ring. That worker realizing several days later that the whole thing was a hoax, but as ACORN pointed out when this thing first broke, some of their workers did the right thing."

Indeed, the Associated Press reported:

Police say a worker with the activist group ACORN who was caught on video giving advice about human smuggling to a couple posing as a pimp and a prostitute had reported the incident to authorities.

National City police said Monday that Juan Carlos Vera contacted his cousin, a police detective, to get advice on what to with information on possible human smuggling.

Vera was secretly filmed on Aug. 18 as part of a young couple's high-profile expose.

Police say he contacted law enforcement two days later. The detective consulted another police official who served on a federal human smuggling task force, who said he needed more details.

The ACORN employee responded several days later and explained that the information he received was not true and he had been duped. [AP, 9/22/09]