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Breitbart confirms he was duped by O'Keefe and the ACORN pimp hoax

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It turns out that Andrew Breitbart didn't actually know what was on the ACORN tapes when he helped launch them on his website last year, and used the videos to fuel his oddly personal crusade against the low-income advocacy organization.

That's right -- Breitbart didn't know what was on the tapes. Take a few seconds to let the implications of that confession sink in, and what it means to Breitbart's already dented credibility.

Recall that for months Breitbart personally vouched for the ACORN videos, braying loudly that they could not be ignored and that they represented the unvarnished truth. Breitbart claimed he had told "the truth" every step of the way about the controversial ACORN clips and

bragged that "[t]hroughout the ACORN story I applied my conscience to the material."

But now it turns out that Breitbart was fooled by the ACORN pimp hoax and mistakenly assumed, after watching deceptively edited clips from his prote'ge' James O'Keefe, that O'Keefe strolled into ACORN offices wearing the outlandish pimp outfit.

Now Breitbart, the chief promoter of the ACORN sting, claims he "didn't know" the truth about the tapes. Although he's quick to insist it doesn't really matter anyway.

And yes, that sound you hear is Breitbart throwing O'Keefe under the bus. Because it's O'Keefe who Breitbart now blames for the "discrepancy" regarding the pimp hoax. It's O'Keefe, who Breitbart once touted as a should-be Pulitzer Prize winner, who created the false impression that he walked into ACORN offices last summer dressed as a garish pimp.

In a video interview posted Monday at Crooks and Liars, Stark Reports, as well as The Brad Blog, Breitbart, filmed by blogger Mike Stark at the recent CPAC convention, claims he did not know the facts about O'Keefe's pimp outfit. (See video below.)

Essentially, Breitbart claims he was duped like everyone else who saw the ACORN clips created by O'Keefe. He was duped because at the outset, the misleading clips contain cut-away shots filmed outdoors, which feature O'Keefe decked out in the cane-fur-sunglasses pimp costume. (Breitbart deceptively refers to the dressed-as-pimp section as the "title sequence" of the videos, but it's really much more than that.)

It appears that many viewers just assumed O'Keefe wore the get-up while he surreptitiously filmed the ACORN workers who ignited a scandal when they gave O'Keefe and his pretend prostitute girlfriend, Hannah Giles, tax advice on how to run a brothel.

The dressed-as-a-pimp storyline was one Breitbart, O'Keefe, and others eagerly pushed last fall. And it was one the press quickly embraced. (In truth, O'Keefe was often dressed rather conservatively -- slacks and dress shirt -- when he talked to ACORN staffers, and he often presented himself as a law school student and an aspiring politician trying to rescue his prostitute girlfriend from her abusive pimp.) The outlandish costume was used as a prop to both mislead viewers, and to make ACORN staffers look like idiots for not being able to spot the obvious ruse.

But it was all a hoax. And for weeks now, ever since the trick was highlighted by blogger Brad Friedman, Breitbart has been wrestling with the glaring contradiction and struggling to explain his own role in the hoax. He's been straining to explain why, for instance, in a September 21 column in The Washington Times, Breitbart specifically claimed O'Keefe had been "dressed as a pimp" while receiving tax advice from ACORN workers.

That claim was categorically false.

He's been laboring to explain why he never sought a single correction last year when an avalanche of news outlets erroneously reported O'Keefe was dressed as a pimp inside ACORN offices.

And he's been struggling to explain why, in light of the pimp hoax, he refuses to release all of the unedited ACORN tapes so we can see what other discrepancies might pop up.

At least now, thanks to Stark, we finally have Breitbart's unequivocal admission: It was all O'Keefe's fault.

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Eric Boehlert is the author of Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush (Free Press, 2006). He worked for five years as a senior writer for, where he wrote extensively about media and politics. Prior to that, he worked as a (more...)

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