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posted on 09.25.09

The Voice reports that James O'Keefe had "conservative financial backing to make his ACORN videos."

In case you've missed it -- (or heard the words "conservative filmmaker" and made assumptions) -- O'Keefe and his filmmaking partner Hannah Giles posted their videos on YouTube causing a flurry of press as they depict ACORN workers offering a pimp-costumed O'Keefe tax advice on how to run a brothel.

 In response to accusations that he used hidden cameras to entrap ACORN workers, O'Keefe told the Washington Times, "Any fool knows a private citizen can't entrap someone."

O'Keefe apparently discovered his love for filmmaking while studying at Rutgers, and graduated from simple, joke prank videos to political prank videos.

ACORN is the umbrella group of numerous community organizations in major American cities meant to help the poor with housing, family services and legal advocacy and, after decades of work, has recently lost federal financial funding. ACORN is notable for their success in increasing voter registration, and some see them as a powerful, influential force when it comes to elections.

"Politicians are getting elected single-handedly due to this organization," O'Keefe told the LA Times. "No one was holding this organization accountable. No one in the media is putting pressure on them. We wanted to do a stunt and see what we could find."

While it seems O'Keefe's comments in the videos regard hypothetical situations, the words "child prostitution" rings an alarm, no matter what the context.

It's thus far unclear the extent to which the surreptitious recordings will get O'Keefe in trouble. Laws about consent to be on camera and recorded vary from state to state.

Anyone else curious about the full, un-edited footage? It's certainly worth considering before judging ACORN. Context is crucial. In an edited conversation, secretly produced with a clearly stated agenda, it would be worthwhile sifting through the editing room floor.

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“Saw this a couple weeks ago. Pretty crazy and I am still not sure what to think about it. On the one hand, it appears (based on this video and past happenings) that ACORN is not the most well run organization. On the other hand, this duo visited many ACORN offices and could have been filming until they got the footage they needed. Should be interesting to see how this plays out.”
Posted over 5 years ago
Natalie replies:
“Yeah, it'll be particularly interesting to see how this is taken as "filmmaking" turned into "evidence," whether it's used against the filmmakers or ACORN. I'm sure there's a good Michael Moore quote on the subject; I just haven't found it yet....”
Posted over 5 years ago
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