The specific instances of deceit included taking answers to questions out of their original context, misinterpreting the statements of the employees and using creative editing to imply they were dressed in flagrant pimp and ho gear when they were not (The New York Times finally issued their retraction about the falsely reported pimp costume last month).
Although Brown's investigation did confirm four instances of possible voter registration fraud by ACORN, his findings absolved other ACORN workers who were falsely framed. Juan Carlos Vera, an employee at the San Diego ACORN offices was fired for apparently condoning human trafficking but turned out to have been merely playing along with O'Keefe, extracting information from him.
Mr. Vera immediately called his brother in the police department as O'Keefe left the San Diego office, but this crucial fact was concealed by Fox's Sean Hannity who repeated and amplified a libelous attack against an innocent man. After Vera notified his brother, O'Keefe's claims were referred to the San Diego Police Department's human smuggling specialist.
Carelessly regurgitating lies to his audience, Hannity should have been more careful after he recently apologized for airing "screwed up" videos which falsely portrayed the size of a Michele Bachmann rally.
Hannity's San Diego ACORN broadcast was timed to air one day after a Congressional "quick pitch" bill came at ACORN. O'Keefe's videos conned many in Congress into passing legislation that had to be rescinded, costing taxpayers heavily in a time of dire economic straits.
Hannity's broadcasts also informed the fringe-dwelling bloggers who fanned the flames in vilifying ACORN nationwide. One website wrote: "In San Diego, it goes beyond prostitute-house housing loans and tax evasion now, they are getting assistance from ACORN in the actual smuggling of the underage girls into America over the Mexico border". Actual? Really?
By election day, voters in middle class suburban New York districts were receiving phony newsletters warning in bold print that "ACORN workers are coming to your house!" In reality, it was the Swift Boat PR firm coming to our towns, coordinating the fear-mongering and misinformation with Hannity's highly publicized lying.
Had Hannity tracked down any of these ACORN workers to get their first-hand accounts as a responsible broadcaster is required to do, he would have learned they were in fact edited out of context, this after their privacy rights were violated. Only O'Keefe had the original footage, so the public was misled and unable to vet Hannity's report until O'Keefe leveraged the tapes to cut himself an immunity deal at the taxpayer's expense.
Hannity also stands accused today of helping to direct donations meant for the children of slain combat veterans towards wasteful desk-jobs for partisan friends. His partner organization Freedom Alliance was downgraded to a junk charity rating after a right-wing blogger publicized tax records showing minimal benefits going to troop families after deceptive claims. Responses by Freedom Alliance have not cleared up accusations of wildly creative accounting, resulting in lawsuits by ethics and veterans groups' watchdog agencies.
Despite his flagship station's motto of "breaking news and stimulating talk", Hannity has whitewashed these allegations on his radio show from his listeners as he tours the country this week. Hannity's latest paperback selectively criticizes President Obama for overspending with no defense for Hannity's paranoid call for endless war, representing massive borrowing and debt without any benefit (written as President Karzai, Bush's puppet in Afghanistan just pledged to join the enemy after eight years).
Parents should consider limiting their children's exposure to news and information sources that do not present balanced perspectives from both sides allowing them to think critically and make the decisions that will improve America's deadlocked, divisive political discourse.