Joe Conason on ACORN Video: It's Not Journalism Unless They Report Everything That Happened- It's Propaganda
From Lou Dobbs Tonight, in what looks like another potential hit piece on ACORN, Joe Conason and Keith Richburg point out a few problems with the conservative filmmakers' "reporting". Of course Dick Cheney sychophant Ron Christie disagrees with them, and as usual pulls the Republican stunt when debating anyone on television. Never stop talking if the host lets you get away with it, feign being insulted when you're interrupted by the other guest who would like to get a word in and is sick of your lying, and then filibuster until the times runs out for the segment.
PILGRIM: We are back with our panel, and on this note, why don't we start with this controversy, Keith, of what do you make of this discussion?
RICHBURG: You know, it's another embarrassment for ACORN. It's another embarrassment, you know. And the only reason they're on the radar screen is because they became well known -- most people, they've never heard of ACORN two years ago.
They became well known because they were helping "Get Out the Vote" efforts for the Obama campaign. You know, so it's an embarrassment for ACORN. I don't know if it's going to go beyond that and I'd be interested if that is true, what the spokesman said, that these conservative filmmaker went around to three or four offices and basically got thrown out with this ruse, and they found one office where there were two people stupid enough to sit down and give them this kind of silly advice.
And it sounds to me like that's just entrapment. You know? Let's go around various offices until we can finally trick somebody into...
CONASON: It's not journalism unless they report everything that happened. It's propaganda. If you're a reporter and you're doing something this, then you would report, yes, we went to the four offices and one said, you know, fell for -- took the bait.
If you don't report that, if you act as if you went into one office and they did it, then that's dishonest. The other thing is, Bill mentioned that it's a two-party state. The filmmakers could be liable to civil or criminal action, in fact, for taping people without telling them in the state of Maryland. I have a reporter who works in the capital district that knows about this. It came up during the Linda Tripp affair whether Tripp could be prosecuted in Maryland for recording Monica Lewinsky unlawfully. So that could be an interesting sideline, and may be why the filmmaker did not show up to be on television to discuss this tonight.
PILGRIM: Ron, thoughts about this whole issue?
CHRISTIE: I think it only underscores, Kitty, the reason why many conservatives, many Republicans think that there should be a federal investigation into ACORN. And it's not just this specific case. There have been of a number of cases with ACORN over the years where there have been allegations of illegally registering people to vote.
This particular incidence of allegedly allowing prostitution or those funds to be used, I think that there should be an investigation. And Mark Levin, a conservative radio talk show host, has been on this for years. The silence has been deafening from the Democrats and the Justice Department.
CONASON: You should...
CHRISTIE: And, again, these people...
CONASON: You should present the evidence to the Justice Department if you have evidence of a federal crime.
CHRISTIE: It's not me...
CONASON: And this is...
CHRISTIE: I didn't cut you off.
CONASON: This is a lot of vague stuff.
CHRISTIE: Excuse me. I didn't cut you off. It's not me. It's for those in the federal government who are looking at whether or not the federal elections have been tampered with. I think that's a serious enough allegation that has been out there...
CONASON: Where's the evidence?
CHRISTIE: ... but for years, that I think it would be warranted, rather than some of these frivolous cases that the Justice Department seems to be interested in pursuing on partisan lines.
PILGRIM: I mean, this does have political ramifications. Congressman Steve King has called for an investigation.
Keith, I mean, this is a political issue, is it not?
RICHBURG: Well, these are two different things. I mean, if there was this group in Baltimore, the two people advising, you know, so-called prostitute and pimp how to evade the law, sounds to me like that's a Maryland state law. Just go to Maryland state authority.
Now in terms of election fraud, now, look, there have been these election fraud allegations going on back and forth since the 200 election with allegations that black voters were kicked off the rolls on Florida, that voters were disenchanted in Ohio. These things happened after every election.
PILGRIM: Well, the fact that...
PILGRIM: ... that the name ACORN turns up in both of these cases, I mean, you bring it up yourself.
RICHBURG: Sure. Sure.
PILGRIM: I mean, certainly, that -- does that have any political ramification?
RICHBURG: I think there should be -- if there is evidence that there was some voter fraud committed, yes, sure. The Justice Department should be looking at that, as they should have looked at all these voter fraud allegations that have happened in the last three election cycles we've had.
CONASON: Yes, I mean, but usually it is a state law. In other words, usually, the states supervised elections and if people are permitting election fraud in a state, that state needs to investigate it and states attorney general have the power to prosecute people who do that.
So if Ron Christie knows an example where ACORN committed a prosecutable election fraud in any state, which I don't know of, by the way, he or the conservatives he's talking about ought to present the evidence of that to the property authorities in those states and they should do something about it.
A lot of these allegations against ACORN have taken place in states that are governed by Republicans. And they have not one, one case against ACORN for election fraud.
PILGRIM: Ron, you get the last word on this.
CHRISTIE: And Ron Christie would say this is yet another indication where the Justice Department seems to be...
CONASON: Not the Justice Department.
CHRISTINE: ... interested on the partisan -- excuse me, Joe, where they seem to be very interested in pursuing things on partisan issues. If you look at the case dealing with the New Black Panther Party, where they had him on tape, intimidating voters in Philadelphia, and Eric Holder, the attorney general, decided he didn't want to prosecute. I think that justice should be blind before the law. It should be on what is right and wrong, not on what is black and white. And it seems to me that any allegation of tying President Obama's former affiliation with ACORN is met with racism charges...
PILGRIM: All right, Ron...
CHRISTIE: .... or let's see the evidence.
PILGRIM: Ron, we got -- I'm so sorry. We have to cut it off here. Quite an interesting discussion. Keith, we'll take you for another time.
RICHBURG: Yes, all right.
PILGRIM: Joe Conason, Ron Christie, Keith Richburg, thank you very much.
RICHBURG: Thank you.