One Last Nibble of ACORN Scandal: 'Conservative Provocateur' Runs 'Heavily Edited Videos'

Campbell Robertson offered a brief follow-up story Thursday on the strange case of "conservative provocateur James O'Keefe," who was arrested in January as part of a group posing as phone repairmen at the New Orleans office of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu. O'Keefe says they were investigating reports that Landrieu's constituents were having trouble getting through to her office during the health care debate.

Robertson still managed to squeeze in some slant on O'Keefe, who along with Hannah Giles dealt a near-mortal blow to ACORN, the left-wing activist housing group, with hidden-camera videos of he and Giles posing as a pimp and prostitute and soliciting advice on how to illegally conceal money from the IRS. Robertson wrote that "The heavily edited videos severely damaged Acorn's reputation."

What context was missing from those "heavily edited" videos that would have saved the reputation of ACORN's left-wing activists? Robertson doesn't say.

The case has ended more as a whimper than a bang:

The conservative provocateur James O'Keefe and three other men pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday to a misdemeanor in a scheme in which they posed as telephone repairmen in Senator Mary L. Landrieu's New Orleans office.

Magistrate Daniel Knowles III, who cited the defendants' potential as investigative journalists though he was critical of this incident, sentenced Mr. O'Keefe, 25, to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine. As Mr. O'Keefe was considered the ringleader, his fellow defendants, Joseph Basel, Stan Dai and Robert Flanagan, were given lesser sentences of two years of probation, 75 hours of community service and $1,500 fines.

The last paragraph was slanted, with the left-wing activists at ACORN given the benign term "community organizing group," while O'Keefe's unnamed partner was called "a conservative activist who was posing as a prostitute" (that would be Hannah Giles). Is the Times trying to imply something nefarious with the phrase "heavily edited videos"? No one is disputing that ACORN workers tried to help the "prostitute" in O'Keefe's hidden camera video illegally hide her income:

Mr. O'Keefe, whom the judge described as "extremely talented," gained fame for secretly recording conversations with workers for Acorn, the community organizing group. In at least one video, Acorn workers advised a conservative activist who was posing as a prostitute how to conceal her criminal activities in the course of trying to buy a house. The heavily edited videos severely damaged Acorn's reputation.

Robertson led the paper's overage after O'Keefe's arrest last January, when the Times ran stories on the matter five days in a row. This after the paper took six days to recognize the initial scandal involving clips of Acorn employees giving advice to the "pimp and prostitute" characters of O'Keefe and Giles.

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