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Controversial Facebook Bigwig Tied To ACORN Sting Videographer

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James O'Keefe, the man who dressed as a pimp to secretly videotape ACORN employees condoning illegal activities was found to have received funding from Peter Thiel, a politically controversial Conservative hedge fund baron - along with several other conservative donors. According to the Village Voice, Thiel admits paying O'Keefe approximately $10,000 for a video project despite the videographer's claims he is "absolutely independent", repeatedly stating he was not funded by outside parties.

Peter Thiel, who co-founded the online payment service PayPal and provided start-up funds for the multibillion-dollar social networking success Facebook also has been outspoken against "multiculturalism" in the US as a member of the Federalist Society alongside Robert Bork, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Thiel's controversial views came to light earlier this year when concerns grew over accusations Facebook was collecting and archiving personal information on members that could prove embarrassing to them later in life.

TownHall.com blogger Hannah Giles who dressed as a prostitute while accompanying O'Keefe to various ACORN sites also claimed she "drained my entire savings" to travel around in helping to produce the videos.

O'Keefe's previous videos, posted to YouTube featured working class African Americans being hoaxed as O'Keefe and his pals emerged from a "Taxpayers Clearing House" van to present giant-sized sweepstakes checks. After recording the ensuing celebration, the recipients become chagrined to learn the fake check instead represented a bill for each household's share of the federal banks bailout.

From the Village Voice: "Through a representative, Peter Thiel confirmed that he had funded Taxpayers Clearing House through a small-government group, but denied having any involvement with the ACORN videos. The representative says Thiel first learned of the new O'Keefe videos after they hit the Internet, and having watched them on YouTube...he shares the view that taxpayer money should not promote human trafficking."

O'Keefe had also hoaxed an abortion provider in another uncompleted project, himself a former member of the Leadership Institute, a neocon think tank also attended by Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, and homosexual escort turned Bush White House correspondent Jeff Gannon. The Institute started O'Keefe off with a $500 "Balance in Media" grant in 2005 to begin a right wing publication and later provided him with $4,000 in moviemaking equipment.

Voice author Stephen Thrasher surmises O'Keefe was likely still coasting off Thiel's "Taxpayers Clearing House" money when he shot the ACORN videos this summer in NY, California and Washington, DC. Philadelphia ACORN workers noted O'Keefe also secretly recorded his undercover pimp act in their offices but were cut from his feature when they didn't fall for his hoax.

Originally it seemed O'Keefe and Giles proved that America is still a place where some hard work and a few breaks can catapult a few creative young filmmakers into the limelight, fighting injustice as they see it. They surely helped take ACORN down a few pegs by exposing select employees whose conduct ran afoul of the rulebook, failing to object when O'Keefe and Giles pretended they planned to import underage Latin sex slaves.

As we learn O'Keefe was actually a young operative given extensive support to focus on causes that benefit wealthy special interests, it shatters the "average guy on the street" illusion to prove once again that these operations are simply paying to make it seem like this was the product of a couple of hustling youngsters producing a fully independent film.

Perhaps the worst thing revealed in this report is the alleged lying by O'Keefe to cover his tracks after the fact. This shows his awareness of popular perception of the underhanded 'astroturf' movement, in which well-oiled conservative groups pay extra to create the illusion that the protests against Obama's policies are coming from average middle class citizens.

Instead, we see these efforts are funded and aided by the wealthiest of the anti-populist upper class looking to suppress voter turn out in poor and working class American communities, continuing the work of the Bush Administration during the DOJ firing scandal and the vote-caging outrage in which lists of voters from heavily Democratic districts were discovered being sent from Karl Rove's RNC office server to a White House web server in order to intentionally bounce eligible voters from election rolls.

 

(OpEdNews Contributing Editor since October 2006) Inner city schoolteacher from New York, mostly covering media manipulation. I put election/finance reform ahead of all issues but also advocate for fiscal conservatism, ethics in journalism and (more...)
 
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about the people uncovering the ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES... by steve scheetz on Monday, Sep 28, 2009 at 10:47:53 PM
but you are the one that looks silly when you buy ... by Paula Sayles on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 9:37:11 AM
were wrongfully terminated?... by steve scheetz on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 10:37:18 PM
You state: "Originally it seemed O'Keefe and Giles... by Linda Milazzo on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 1:32:47 AM
...by claiming they were "absolutely independent" ... by Gustav Wynn on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 3:18:32 PM
are two braves young people that went into the bel... by sommers on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 2:01:13 AM
I would be most interested to hear the facts. I am... by Paula Sayles on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 9:40:52 AM
and I worked with ACORN and other worthy organizat... by Linda Milazzo on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 6:38:25 PM
and wonder how some of these chat groups every got... by Margaret Bassett on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 10:26:30 AM
ACORN should be defunded. The "services" they're s... by Dick Thomson on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 1:48:33 PM
No matter who these 'reporters' were and who they ... by Mad Jayhawk on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 2:13:08 PM
...not to report people they believed to be undera... by Gustav Wynn on Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009 at 4:53:49 PM
ACORN may not be a perfect organization but most o... by Bryan Emmel on Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009 at 2:10:00 AM
One has only to look at the source of the attacks ... by Perry Logan on Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009 at 5:42:23 AM
Excellent reporting. Just remember EVERYTHING'S FA... by chris rice on Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009 at 9:34:47 AM