After ACORN filed a lawsuit against conservative activists Hannah Giles, James O'Keefe, and Breitbart.com LLC, Sean Hannity, Andrew Breitbart, HotAir.com's Allahpundit, and NewsBusters offered to -- in the words of Hannity -- "put out the word" to "help" Giles and O'Keefe raise money for their legal defense. Conservative media figures -- led by Glenn Beck -- helped Breitbart strategically release and aggressively promote the undercover videos that sparked ACORN's lawsuit.
Suit filed after alleged "illegal videotaping" seeks "injunction against further distribution" of a hidden-camera tape. From a September 23 Washington Post "44" blog post:
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) announced Thursday it had filed a lawsuit against James O'Keefe, Hannah Giles and Breitbart.com LLC for what it alleged was "illegal videotaping" of ACORN employees in Baltimore.
The group filed its suit in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City and is seeking "a preliminary and permanent injunction against further distribution" of a hidden-camera tape made by O'Keefe and Giles that aired on BigGovernment.com, a Web project of Andrew Breitbart's Breitbart.com company, along with compensatory and punitive damages. [WashingtonPost.com, 9/23/09]
Hannity: "Hannah, if you get in trouble ... we can help you. We'll put out the word." After interviewing Giles and her attorney about the lawsuit, Sean Hannity stated, "Well, listen, Hannah, if you get in trouble and you need the lawyer, I'll tell you what, we can help you. We'll put out the word. I'm sure there's a lot of people that may want to help you with a legal defense fund. And if you get to that point, let us know, and we'll be glad to bring you back on." [Hannity, 9/24/09]
Breitbart on O'Reilly: "We will be advertising Hannah and James' legal defense fund." After Bill O'Reilly asked, "[D]o you have lawyers helping you with it because, you know, this is expensive," Breitbart stated, "We're -- we're working on that right now. And I want everybody to know that we will be advertising Hannah and James' legal defense fund at BigGovernment.com. The amount of -- the responses so far in e-mail form are overwhelming." [The O'Reilly Factor, 9/24/09]
HotAir's Allahpundit: "Dig deep: Hannah Giles defense fund launches." In a September 24 HotAir.com blog post titled, "Dig deep: Hannah Giles defense fund launches," Allahpundit wrote that Giles' father -- conservative activist Doug Giles -- "sent out a blast e-mail about it a little while ago and I'm told the link's posted on his Facebook page, so fire away. Not that she'll need the money: The lawsuit's weak, the jury will be on her side, and apparently Hannity's set to beam this link out to America on tonight's show, which means she'll be swimming in dough come morning." Allahpundit further promised, "I'll post the info for O'Keefe's defense fund once it's available." [HotAir.com, 9/24/09]
NewsBusters: Breitbart "Reveals Defense Fund Initiative." Promoting Breitbart's O'Reilly Factor appearance, NewsBusters quoted Breitbart's promotion of the legal defense fund and included a link to Breitbart's BigGovernment.com. [NewsBusters.com, 9/24/09]
Breitbart, Beck distributed secretly taped ACORN videos. O'Keefe first posted his secretly recorded video on Breitbart's BigGovernment.com in an effort to engage in -- in the words of Breitbart -- "a multimedia, multiplatform strategy" that included Fox News. Fox News, led by Glenn Beck, went on to facilitate Breitbart's "strategy" of releasing the videos."
From James O'Keefe's Twitter feed on January 26, 2010:
Although they repeatedly promoted ACORN videos made by filmmaker James O'Keefe on their shows and complained about the lack of media coverage of the videos, neither Glenn Beck nor Sean Hannity mentioned O'Keefe's arrest Monday for an alleged plot to interfere with* Sen. Mary Landrieu's phone. Fox News has reported on the story, but neither Beck nor Hannity had any comment on it.
Yesterday, ACORN videographer James O'Keefe was arrested for an alleged plot to interfere with* Sen. Mary Landrieu's phone. Andrew Breitbart, whose website BigGovernment.com published O'Keefe's ACORN videos, stated that he pays O'Keefe a "fair salary" so that "when he puts a story out there, it's on the Breitbart sites, the Big sites, that he can tell people what transpired." Breitbart also said that O'Keefe "was not involved in anything that was related to Big Government, or Breitbart.com" when he was arrested.
From an interview by Hugh Hewitt:
HH: I love that, by the way. That is exactly what public figures should do when they are implicated, even by a complete falsehood in something like this. They should do what you're doing, which is get out there and say nope, not me, not now, not ever, never. Last question, in terms of his relationship with you not connected to this event, are you still, is he in your employ in any way?
AB: When the story came to us, what I wanted to do was to make sure that the ACORN story got as much widespread dissemination as humanly possible. The videos that he independently produced went on YouTube. And so Huffington Post, every single site put it out there, including my sites. What he does for the site exclusively is he tells his life rights, basically. So when he puts a story out there, it's on the Brietbart sites, the Big sites, that he can tell people what transpired. So...
HH: Do you pay him for that?
HH: And are you free to tell me how much you pay him?
AB: I'll...perhaps at another date, but he's paid a fair salary.
HH: Is he...so he is an employee?
AB: I'm not sure that's technically the thing, but yes, he's paid for his life rights. And he's, you know, he's still...we reserve the right to say yes or no to any of the stories that he puts up on our site as we do to any other contributor who comes to the site.
HH: Will it be a mischaracterization to say he was working for you when he went about this?
AB: Well, I mean, no. He was not involved in anything that was related to Big Government, or Breitbart.com.
How does one respond to being arrested for an alleged plot to interfere with the phones* at a senator's office?
First, after James O'Keefe and his alleged accomplices were released from jail, O'Keefe was asked for comment by the press while waiting for a cab. His response was reportedly a single word: "Veritas."
Veritas is, of course, Latin for truth.
Now one of the alleged accomplices, Joseph Basel, has apparently taken to Twitter with the following post:
It looks like they have their talking points together.
From the Fox Nation (accessed on January 26):
Earlier this evening, Media Matters' Eric Hananoki brought you some details on James O'Keefe's three alleged accomplices. TPM's Justin Elliott has a bit more. Reporting on their apparent connection to the Pelican Institute, he writes:
There's a lot we still don't know about the four men implicated in the alleged attempt to bug Sen. Mary Landrieu's phones yesterday, but a little-known organization called the Pelican Institute appears to be key to the story.
Located at 400 Poydras St. in downtown New Orleans -- half a block from Landrieu's office at 500 Poydras St. -- Pelican describes itself as a state policy think tank dedicated to advancing "sound policies based on the principles of free enterprise, individual liberty, and limited government."
James O'Keefe, the conservative filmmaker behind the ACORN stings who has been charged in the Landrieu case, was scheduled to give a talk at Pelican last Thursday on "Exposing Truth: Undercover Video, New Media and Creativity." Tickets were $35; the setting was the posh Plimsoll Club at the World Trade Center. An ad for the luncheon promised attendees insights into O'Keefe's special strain of new media genius:
Another of the charged men, Robert Flanagan, works for Pelican, his attorney told the Times-Picayune. Flanagan allegedly dressed up as a telephone repairman to infiltrate Landrieu's office.
The Wall Street Journal opinion page published a glowing profile of Pelican and its leader, Kevin Kane, in August 2008.
In yet another possible connection to the Landrieu case, Kane also blogs at Big Government, the Andrew Breitbart site.
Big Government is where O'Keefe's ACORN sting videos were posted, though Breitbart has said, "We have no knowledge about or connection to any alleged acts and events involving James O'Keefe at Senator Mary Landrieu's office."
Eighty advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred of white people." Here are his January 25 sponsors, in the order they appeared (scroll down for January 26):
Here are Beck's January 26 sponsors:
Yesterday, conservative activist James O'Keefe was arrested for allegedly plotting "to wiretap Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in downtown New Orleans." O'Keefe was arrested along with Stan Dai, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan. Here's a look at who O'Keefe's alleged accomplices appear to be:
College conservative. CampusReform.org's Adam Weinberg wrote that "O'Keefe became the founding editor of The Centurion at Rutgers. Around the same time, frustrated conservative student Joe Basel started The Counterweight at the University of Minnesota-Morris. Both papers were started with assistance from the Leadership Institute 'Balance in Media' grant, which is still available for students starting conservative and libertarian campus publications today."
Basel was interviewed with O'Keefe for the January 14 article. Weinberg writes of O'Keefe and Basel: "To protect their ongoing investigations, I can't say exactly when or where the interview was conducted."
In the interview, Basel states of the origin of his conservative activism: "Once I got to that liberal of a university they basically pushed me to it. It was more in response to their hegemony on campus." Basel also describes his style of journalism:
Basel: I guess I wouldn't call it activist journalism either. I think the only real agenda with what I did at the University of Minnesota was to pursue truth and to hold the administrators and hold the professors' feet to the fire. To hold them accountable for what they were getting away with, what they were doing in the classroom and out of the classroom, in the community.
So, I think if you just make your agenda the truth or a fair chance at the truth on campus, you'd be surprised what falls in your lap if you work hard and keep doing it.
According to several media outlets, Robert Flanagan is "the son of William Flanagan, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana." The Times-Picayune reported that "Robert Flanagan's attorney, J. Garrison Jordan, said he believes his client works for the Pelican Institute."
Robert Flanagan is a frequent blogger for The Pelican Post, where he has written about Landrieu. The Pelican Post is the blog of The Pelican Institute for Public Policy, "a non-profit research and education institution that conducts scholarly research and analysis of Louisiana public policy. The Institute's mission is to advance sound policies based on the principles of free enterprise, individual liberty, and limited government."
A "Stan Dai" is based in the Washington D.C. area and has frequently been involved in conservative causes.
College conservative. In 2005, The Phillips Foundation awarded Dai a $5,000 scholarship under its Ronald Reagan Future Leaders Scholarship Program and cited his work on conservative causes. From the foundation's 2005 biography of Dai:
STAN DAI, Lisle, Ill., attends The George Washington University majoring in Political Science. He is editor-in-chief of The GW Patriot, an alternative conservative student newspaper, a Club 100 Activist of Young America's Foundation, and an Undergraduate Fellow on Terrorism of the Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies. He is co-founder of GW's Students Defending Democracy, a volunteer on several political campaigns, and active in the GW College Republicans and GW Colonials for Life. He was a 2003 Honorable Mention in the U.S. Institute of Peace Essay Contest.
Freelance consultant, former assistant director for intelligence center. According to a packet provided for the Junior Statesmen Summer School speakers program, Dai is currently a "Freelance consultant" after previously serving as "the first Assistant Director of the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence at Trinity in D.C."
The Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence states that it "prepares students for careers in intelligence. Its curriculum develops the skills relevant to intelligence community careers, while also allowing students to pursue the major of their choice." In 2008, the Junior State of America podcast wrote of Dai's background:
Stan Dai is the Assistant Director of Trinity's Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence in DC. He was formerly the Assistant Operations Officer at a Department of Defense irregular warfare fellowship program and a Fellow on Terrorism at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Stan graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the George Washington University.
Stan's main interest is the intersection of political mass movements, culture, and violence. He has discussed these topics as a guest lecturer at the George Washington University and on media outlets including C-SPAN's Washington Journal and Voice of America.
Stan has been involved in JSA since 2001: after attending summer school at Yale, he founded the JSA chapter at Naperville North, served in various Midwest region positions, and was a resident assistant at Georgetown.
Majikthise blogger Lindsay Beyerstein further wrote of Dai:
In college, Stan Dai co-wrote a satirical work entitled The Penis Monologues, apparently a takeoff on the Vagina Monologues. Here's a taste:
My Angry Penis
MY PENIS IS ANGRY!!!!!!! You want to know what happened to my penis? Joan happened to my penis! There I was, sleeping peacefully when Joan stormed in and dragged me out for "an educational program." I thought was going to see Mr. Rogers! But nooooooo! It turned out to be the "Whine-gina Monologues!"
Correction: This post originally misattributed the source of Basel's interview; Basel was interviewed by Adam Weinberg for CampusReform.org.
Clear Channel has released a statement to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation stating that they do not condone radio host Jim Quinn's recent defamatory comments on people living with HIV/AIDS and stating that they have spoken with Quinn about the "seriousness" of his remarks. On January 14, Quinn said that thanks to the "homosexual AIDS lobby," "[w]hen you get AIDS, pal, the door opens up to you. You have got all kinds of government goodies, including a maid to clean your house, transportation - I mean it's - there's just a wealth of wonders that come."
Following our Call to Action, GLAAD allies wrote numerous e-mails to Clear Channel executives and demanded that Jim Quinn be held responsible for his outrageous comments.
As a result, Clear Channel's Chief Communications Officer, Lisa Dollinger, released the following statement to GLAAD:
Clear Channel doesn't condone Jim Quinn's remarks and we don't share his view. Clear Channel has raised considerable funds and positive awareness for HIV/AIDS and the GLBT community over the years and we will continue to do so. We've spoken with Mr. Quinn about the seriousness of this incident.