Another Distortion and Attempt to Defend ACORN by Attacking the Messenger

Geez, this one wasn’t even thinly disguised. I don’t know how often Media Matters does this kind of thing because I almost never read them, but I found a link to one of their posts at Digg and clicked on it because the title (Will Fox News hold Beck to its Dan Rather standard?) made me curious.

Here is the relevant part of the post by Jamison Foser:

Fox News’ Glenn Beck recently aired a video indicating that an ACORN employee shot and killed her husband, without first bothering to verify whether the husband is, in fact, dead. He isn’t. The video is, in other words, a fraud. But that didn’t stop Beck from calling it evidence of “murder” and perhaps even “premeditated murder.” Of a person who is still alive.

Sean Hannity aired it, too.

Here’s a bunch of Fox News “reporters” who are outraged about the murder. Which didn’t happen. Because the guy is still alive:Got that? Beck was being deceptive because he said the guy was dead. And that the woman committed murder. Possibly premeditated murder! The problem is, I saw that segment of Beck and I remembered that after showing the video, Beck questioned whether or not the husband was even dead. Media Matters posted the video though, so I wondered if I had misunderstood what Beck had said. So I watched the following video posted by Foser at Media Matters:

When I watched the video Media Matters ran I immediately knew what was up because they chopped Beck’s commentary to bits and curiously left out the part of it that completely contradicts their claim. I looked for the Beck video at YouTube to make sure I was not misremembering his commentary and here is a transcript of what I found.

Glenn Beck:
This is twisted, bizarre, macabre. I mean, is this theater? I’m not a lawyer. I’m not a jury. Um, but gosh even to me it seems like this is a potential admission of murder and the way she was describing doing some groundwork beforehand, you know so everyone in town knew exactly what was going on, a case might be made for premeditated murder. In fairness, I don’t understand people who stay in abusive relationships. I don’t. I get it. I get it. And maybe a jury might conclude that it was justifiable homicide. I don’t know but we haven’t been even able to confirm from the state of California whether Theresa’s husband from ten years ago was killed. Or if he’s dead. Or if she even had a husband. Did she make the story up? I don’t know. Nobody is asking questions. See if the mainstream media will follow this one. This is shocking. It raises serious questions about what is going on inside of ACORN.

I italicized the portion of the commentary Media Matters provided to their readers in the mishmash video they put together. The parts they omitted are not italicized. I put in bold the part of Beck’s comments that directly contradict Media Matters post. It is not like the comments were made in a different Beck show, or even in a different segment of Beck’s show. They were part of the same paragraph if you look at the commentary in written transcript. And the pieces they chose to include in their video came from just before and right after the part where Beck questioned if the husband was dead. There is NO WAY that Media Matters could have seen Beck’s commentary and not known he questioned whether or not the husband was even dead. No way. I would have argued that they could not have been any more deceitful in the way they presented the material, but I would have been wrong. The ridiculousness of the post continues.

After showing the video that is chopped off before Beck questions whether or not the husband is still alive (which obviously negates the basis of their attack on Beck), Foser posted a bunch of commentary from Fox News people regarding Dan Rather and the fake Bush memos. Then Foser asks:

Any chance we’ll see this level of outrage directed at Glenn Beck for unquestioningly airing an apparently fraudulent tape in order to portray an ACORN employee as a murderer? Beck has, after all, been pretty clear that he is trying to bring ACORN down.

Again, watch the unedited video of Beck’s segment, the one Media Matters didn’t cut off in midstream, or read the transcript provided above. Beck asked plenty of questions, including whether or not the man was still alive. But Foser wrote “Any chance we’ll see this level of outrage directed at Glenn Beck for unquestioningly airing an apparently fraudulent tape in order to portray an ACORN employee as a murderer?” Does he think his readers are not smart enough to go find the unedited video.

I know my readers understand the difference between the nature of the ACORN video and the Rathergate documents, but for those at Media Matters I’ll explain. The ACORN video is real. Whether or not the woman was telling the truth when she claimed to have shot her husband has nothing to do with the authenticity of the video itself unless Foser is claiming James O’Keefe hired the woman to make up some lines and deliver them on camera. Or maybe if it was butchered the way Media Matters did Glenn Beck’s commentary video. If neither of those things happened then how is the ACORN video “apparently fraudulent”? The woman may be a liar, but if she is indeed an employee of ACORN (which I don’t believe has been disputed), she was caught on camera, in an ACORN office, giving advice to someone claiming to be a pimp trying to open a brothel of underage illegal immigrant girls about how to hide the true nature of his business in order and evade taxes and be eligible for assistance. Glenn Beck was shocked by the statements from the ACORN employee, in an ACORN office, and asked a series of questions, including one about her claims about shooting her husband.

Is the argument that everything is cool if the woman was lying about killing her husband? I have heard that one floating around — that if the woman’s husband is not dead then the tapes are fake or fraudulent or irrelevant. I would argue that it is much worse if ACORN hired a woman who would lie to people coming into their office about killing her husband, than if they hired a woman who (possibly in self defense) shot and killed her husband.

Regarding the Dan Rather comparison — do I really, seriously, have to explain how that is different from supposedly seasoned professionals at CBS news and 60 Minutes putting on the air documents that were supposedly 30 years old, but were obviously produced with a relatively recent version of a Word processing program (superscript and all)? I won’t get into all the ways CBS failed to do due diligence on the documents that were so obviously inauthentic, but it is interesting that those on the left are comparing the ACORN video to the Rathergate docs in an effort to save ACORN’s bacon, or to save their President who has a history with ACORN. To me it sounds like desperate, grabbing at straws, how the heck are we gonna spin this one, crazy talk.

For those who would like to see the unedited version of Beck’s commentary in full, here is the video:

Update: See Ed Morrisey’s take on Media Matters’ dishonesty and his commentary on their comparison of the ACORN video to the Rathergate documents.

Update II: Ed Driscoll has more, including other recent Media Matters misconduct and the difference between them and the MRC.

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