Everybody's just itching to prove that the two camera-toting, self-promoting goobers who blew the lid off the prostitute-advisory ring that is ACORN are creatures of a right-wing media conspiracy. Of course they are! But so what?
Ever since the meticulously rolled out assault on ACORN began earlier this month via Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com and Fox News Channel, the left wing impulse has been to paint James O'Keefe III and Hannah Giles, the creators of the undercover video, as the beneficiaries of right-wing blood money. O'Keefe is a long-time right-wing rabblerouser who once received a grant from the conservative Leadership Institute; Giles is the daughter of a right-wing radio preacher and columnist for Townhall.com, and was an intern at the National Journalism Center, which trains people to be like Ann Coulter.
O'Keefe and Giles insist that no one helped them conceive, execute or finance their video project, which with remarkable speed has devastated the activist community service group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, commonly known as ACORN.
There's no proof of a coordinated effort to commission the project, but O'Keefe and Giles did discuss it with several conservative activists starting at least a month before its Sept. 10 premiere.
They "insist" they did it themselves, and there's "no proof" that they didn't. They're probably lying. But so what? If the Republican National Committee itself sent undercover idiots into ACORN offices to conduct the sting, would it change anything? The tapes are the tapes, and the motivations behind the effort are patently obvious, irrespective of whether Giles and O'Keefe describe themselves as independent journalists or political hatchet-wielders: They wanted to take down ACORN. And to a certain extent, due to hysterical hyping and overreaction from the media, Congress, and the White House, they've succeeded.
So revelations about their connections to the vast right-wing conspiracy may be interesting, but they in now way implicate the documented reality that they got some low-level ACORN staffers to say some hilariously ill-advised things. If they got money from rich white Republicans for doing so, more power to them. When Harper's Magazine's Ken Silverstein went undercover to catch lobbyists offering to lie, set up congressional hearings, and generally whitewash the public image of Turkmenistan's dictatorial regime in exchange for money, did anyone care that he was working for an avowedly left-wing news source? Only the victims of the sting, we guess. (Silverstein, by the way, calls Giles and O'Keefe's operation "a terrific undercover sting mounted by the two young conservatives.")
ACORN's decision to sue the pair for violating Maryland's law against recording audio without consent may be legally sound, but it is optically idiotic. Especially because the group is motivated by the misguided belief that if they can prove O'Keefe and Giles were right-wing stooges, they will be be proving something relevant:
"O'Keefe and Giles try to make it sound as if they concocted their sordid video scheme on a whim - as if they had no major backers," Kettenring said. "ACORN's lawsuit will smoke out the true motives and conservative money behind these attacks on a community organization that works to better the lives of ordinary Americans every day."
The "true motives" are obvious. And the "conservative money" is irrelevant. Welcome to the real world, ACORN, and stop acting shocked when your political opponents attack you. Start setting up some stings of your own, and learn how the game is played!