During the run-up to the Health Care vote, Congressman John Lewis and several other black lawmakers were verbally assaulted by Tea Bagger protesters as they walked from one of the Office Buildings to the Capital Building. 4 Congressmen, including a white Congressman reported hearing chants of the N-word hurled at the lawmakers by Tea Baggers.
Within a day or so of the incident being reported in the MSM, a video posted by Andrew Breitbart. Brietbart was central in “breaking” the James O’Keefe white-boy pimp ACORN sting, and providing the videos to Faux News. Brietbart, and others within the Tea Party movement are claiming that the incident reported by the Congressmen never happened, based on a video purportedly shot during the time the Congressmen claim they were assaulted. They are claiming that the Congressmen are lying in order to portray the Tea Baggers in a racist light.
Now it turns out that the video presented by Brietbart and other Tea Baggers of evidence that the assault never happened, was shot at a totally different time than the period in which the Congressmen claim they were assaulted.
Now – this could have been a mistake, but when you consider the same sources are the origin of the now thoroughly discredited ACORN tapes which resulted in the destruction of ACORN…
Then the DOJ needs to start looking at this as a criminal enterprise, and needs to look at possibly charging Mr. Breitbart and his accomplices with several crimes, including potentially violations under the Civil Rights Act, Wire Fraud, and Mail Fraud.
Three Democratic congressmen — all black — say they heard racial slurs as they walked through thousands of angry protesters outside the U.S. Capitol. A white lawmaker says he heard the epithets too. Conservative activists say the lawmakers are lying.
What does the video show? Not much. Indeed, new interviews show that a much-viewed YouTube recording cited as evidence by conservatives was actually shot well after the time in question.
It was March 20, near the end of the bitter health care debate, when Reps. John Lewis, Andre Carson and Emanuel Cleaver say that some demonstrators, many of them tea party activists, yelled the “N-word” as the congressmen walked from House office buildings to the Capitol.
Stung by the charges of racism, conservatives and tea party activists insist it never happened. And one of them is offering big money if anyone can prove it did.
With so many media and citizen cameras at the demonstration, any epithets would have been caught on tape, says Andrew Breitbart. He’s the web entrepreneur who released the video of ACORN workers counseling actors posing as a pimp and prostitute, and has pledged $100,000 to the United Negro College Fund if anyone provides proof of the epithets.
“It didn’t happen,” said Breitbart, who wasn’t there. “This is 2010. Even a racist is media-savvy enough not to yell the N-word.”
The dispute pits the lawmakers — one of them, Lewis, is a leader and survivor of 1960s civil rights battles — against conservatives determined to counter claims of racism within the predominantly white and middle-aged tea party movement. The criticism has proven a distraction to a nascent movement pushing a unified message of fiscal conservatism and limited government.
The issue still echoes in the media and blogosphere.
“Listen, I was there,” Carson, D-Ind., said in an interview. “In many regards I think (the challenges are) a veiled attempt to justify actions that are simply unjustifiable. I think we need to move toward a dialogue that explores why this kind of divisive and reprehensible language is still making it into our political debate.”
A fourth Democrat, Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina, who is white, backed up his colleagues, telling the Henderson (N.C.) Times-News that he heard the slurs.
A reconstruction of the events shows that the conservative challenges largely sprang from a mislabeled video that was shot later in the day.
Breitbart posted two columns on his Web site saying the claims were fabricated. Both led with a 48-second YouTube video showing Lewis, Carson, other Congressional Black Caucus members and staffers leaving the Capitol. Some of the group were videotaping the booing crowd.
Breitbart asked why the epithet was not captured by the black lawmakers’ cameras, and why nobody reacted as if they had heard the slur. He also questioned whether the epithets could have been shouted by liberals planted in the crowd.
But the 48-second video was shot as the group was leaving the Capitol — at least one hour after Lewis, D-Ga., and Carson walked to the Capitol, which is when they said the slurs were used.
Questioned about using a video on his Web site from the wrong moment, Breitbart stood by his claim that the lawmakers were lying.
“I’m not saying the video was conclusive proof,” he said.
An honest mistake? Well – let’s go back to those ACORN videos supposed shot by Breitbart protogee Andrew O’Keefe. A California Court investigated the claims made in the O’Keefe videos. In return for not prosecuting Mr. O’Keefe for violating California’s wiretapping laws, the court obtained the actual unedited raw video material…
When conservative activists James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles released tapes last fall purporting to show ACORN employees advising them on how to set up a child prostitution ring, it resulted in widespread praise for their intrepid journalism and a Congressional defunding of the anti-poverty group. But it is now becoming clear to all but their most fervent supporters that the O’Keefe “expose” was deliberately misleading.
“If you were a member of Congress and you voted to defund ACORN because of the outrage portrayed in these tapes,” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow proclaimed on Tuesday, “you were had.”
Last week, California Attorney Gerneral Jerry Brown released some of O’Keefe’s raw footage, which he obtained as part of an agreement not to prosecute O’Keefe for violating state privacy laws. Maddow reviewed several of the most severe distortions revealed by the footage, starting with O’Keefe’s claim that he was wearing his outrageous pimp outfit when he visited the ACORN offices.
That claim, which Brad Friedman at Brad Blog has been debunking for months, was promoted heavily by Fox News and swallowed uncritically by most of the mainstream media. The unedited tape of O’Keefe’s visit to the ACORN office in San Diego, however, includes a shot of his arm as he opens the door to leave, and he is clearly wearing a nicely pinstriped dress shirt.
The edited video released by O’Keefe also appears to show an ACORN employee advising him on how to smuggle underage girls into the United States. O’Keefe is heard off-camera saying, “What things do you need from me in terms of the shipment information,” and the employee replies, “It’s better if it’s in Tijuana … because I have a lot of contacts in Tijuana.” O’Keefe then goes on to say, “There’s twelve of them. … Twelve girls, they’re like 13 to 15 years old.”
But as Maddow pointed out, in the previously unreleased portion of the video, the employee continues asking very detailed questions about O’Keefe’s phone number and the exact time and location of the girls’ arrival. “What’s this ACORN guy going to do with all that information?” Maddow wondered. “Oh, he calls the police and reports what they’ve told him is going to be a crime.”
According to Jerry Brown’s report (pdf), “Immediately after the couple left, Vera telephoned his cousin, Detective Alejandro Hernandez, at the National City Police Department… [and said] that a self-admitted prostitute had been to the office and was discussing human smuggling.”
“For that he ended up getting fired,” Maddow noted wryly.
A final O’Keefe tape appeared to show a different ACORN employee reacting to the child prostitution scheme by saying enthusiastically, “You can do anything. … Don’t give up.”
But the unedited tape reveals that the encouraging words came after O’Keefe had told the employee that he and his prostitute girlfriend were having trouble finding a house because she is “in a unique line of work.” Her “never give up” meant to keep trying different banks until one said yes.
“This is not meant to excuse what ACORN has done wrong in the past,” Maddow concluded. “But the huge tide of negative publicity … was bullpucky. It was a dishonest political stunt that bears no resemblance to journalism and no resemblance to the actual facts. “
This is the same finding as that by the District Attorney’s Office in New York last month – where the DA’s Office found the tapes to have been “heavily edited” and “They edited the tape to meet their agenda.” Mr O’Keefe recently pled guilty to charges related to his entering a Federal officials office under false pretenses. California may still prosecute Mr. O’Keefe and his female accomplice under Wire Fraud laws, which could lead to an extended jail stay with real pimps and prostitutes…
In view that the damages caused by Mr. Breitbart’s “mistakes” are real, and considerable – that is criminal.