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Release the whole tape Palin and Breibart

November 1, 2010

Wow, what do you know, another (possible) Andrew Breibart manufactured audio tape released – you know, Mr Breibart who has been thoroughly discredited before when he attempted to smear Shirley Sherrod earlier in the year which resulted in her – unfairly – being fired from her job with the government, after Breibart released tape of a speech she had made which appeared to show black on white racism, but the full tape showed a humble lesson in prejudices confronted and learned from.  And of course who could forget the Breibart championing of James O’Keefe‘s ACORN smear tapes, to which when the unedited tapes were released neither showed the solicitation that was claimed nor the corruption – in fact it showed O’Keefe less in a “pimp” ghetto outfit and more in a college school jumper – all american straight laced. Over 40 seperate investigations have found that the tapes presented were “were heavily edited to feature only the worst or most inappropriate statements of the various ACORN employees and to omit some of the most salient statements by O’Keefe and Giles”:

The edited O’Keefe videos released on the website portrayed ACORN as an organization infested with employees committing crimes. However, the impression of rampant illegal conduct created by the recordings at the various ACORN offices around the country is not supported by the evidence related to the videos in California. Our investigation revealed facts which were not reflected in the recordings. The San Diego employee’s answers were influenced by his limited English and intent to contact the police. The San Bernardino ACORN receptionist knew it to be a prank and made outrageous and false statements.
O’Keefe stated he was out to make a point and to damage ACORN and therefore did not act as a journalist objectively reporting a story. The video releases were heavily edited to feature only the worst or most inappropriate statements of the various ACORN employees and to omit some of the most salient statements by O’Keefe and Giles. Each of the ACORN employees recorded in California was a low level employee whose job was to help the needy individuals who walked
in the door seeking assistance. Giles and O’Keefe lied to engender compassion, but then edited their statements from the released videos. Would it have been best had each ACORN employee simply refused to deal with the couple and shown them the door when their story came out? Of course.
ACORN was not the criminal enterprise described by O’Keefe in his “Chaos for Glory” statement – it did not receive billions in federal funds and did not control elections. ACORN is, however, disorganized and its operations were far from transparent, leaving it vulnerable to allegations of illegal activity and misuse of funds. Many of the ACORN employees lacked appropriate training and ACORN did not comply with its own internal policies and procedures. Unfortunately for ACORN, ACORN itself had undermined public confidence in the organization before O’Keefe and Giles walked into the first ACORN office. By covering up Dale Rathke’s embezzlement, keeping him as an employee and going after board members who sought to rectify the situation, ACORN’s management damaged the organization. acorn_report.pdf

Breibart himself following the many investigations that exonerated ACORN had to distance himself from O’Keefe and he admitted he was duped – but he also says it doesn’t matter -maybe he would like to tell that to the organization that was smeared, hounded, defunded, and now has terminted it’s existence.  But lets not forget Breibart also claimed “[t]hroughout the ACORN story I applied my conscience to the material.” (Media Matters)

But following this weekend’s controversy surrounding Breibart’s possible inclusion on ABC’s election night coverage, Breibart has used the current spotlight on him to champion a claim that affiliates of CBS were caught on tape conspiring how to smear Republican Senate candidate Joe Miller. This claim was endorsed by half term governor Sarah Palin on the Chris Wallace show on Fox this past Sunday:

“Just last night it was revealed that the rally that I had for Joe Miller on Thursday, it was revealed – and we have the tape that proves it – that the CBS reporters, the affiliate in Alaska, conspired to make up stories about Joe Miller. We have the tape, Chris, and I can’t wait ‘til it busts out all over the nation to show what it is, that we, kind of what I put up with for two years now with the media, but what Joe Miller is faced with in dealing with somebody who feels – Lisa Murkowski – so entitled to that seat that she and some of her people, including some complicit in the media will do anything. They will stop at nothing to allow Lisa Murkowski to get back (into office).” (newshounds)

Palin also went on to slam the media as “corrupt bastards” – which given she was on Fox at the time she said it, well excuse me if I laugh at the irony of it all.

Breibart’s site features a transcript and audio, but you’ll have to forgive many of us for wondering, is this the whole tape.

The CBS affiliate, KTVA, General Manager Jerry Bever told Politico:

“The allegations are untrue,” he said. “To allege that our staff was discussing or planning to create or fabricate stories regarding candidate Miller is absurd. The complete conversation was about what others might be able to do to cause disruption within the Miller campaign, not what KTVA could do.”

Doubt is also being cast by people you would normally expect to be supporting Palin and Breibart, but it seems that Fox may be stepping back alittle as they have been burnt a couple of times by Breibart’s aforementioned stunts.

Raw Story notes that Fox Reporter Dan Springer, could find no evidence of bias against Miller by the KTVA. Even Brit Hume has questioned the audio. He said “that while the tape “doesn’t sound very good,” it is “not utterly conclusive.” (Media Matters) Fox News correspondant Carl Cameron said “Frankly, we’re not exactly sure what the authenticity of this is and exactly what’s at stake” and “We have not been able to confirm it nor have we been able to listen to the entirety of the message”  (video here)

Greg Sargeant, a WaPo Blogger even went so far as to suggest that maybe Palin had been misled deliberatley by Breibart:

But it’s unclear from the recording precisely what, if anything, was being plotted. And now the station is adamantly denying the charges, claiming the audio was clipped and taken out of the fuller context. KTVA general manager Jerry Bever sends over a statement claiming the “complete recording was about what others might be able to do to cause disruption within the Miller campaign.”

If this is true, it wouldn’t be the first time this has happened, as you may recall. (WaPO – The Plum Line)

And if it is true – and with good reason people suspect Breibart is calling wolf – after all, isn’t it funny he used the announcement of his appearance on ABC as the exact launch time for this audio – if it is true then Sarah Palin has either willfully or painfully ignorantly allowed herself to be pulled into a chirade to a) smear another network without foundation and b) to carry on a divisional argument about so called “liberal bias”. Oh and c) using any means necessary to ignore the glaring questions into Joe Miller’s integrity and instead deflecting the spotlight onto the media.

So, given the questionable history of Andrew Breibart’s so called expose journalism – which is all discredited, I join Media Matters and ask that, if Palin, as she schilled, indeed has the whole tape, then release the whole tape.

As David Brock founder of Media Matter says:

“Sarah Palin has made serious accusations of journalistic malfeasance. Either Palin accurately described the tapes, or she did not. America’s news consumers need to know the truth about these serious accusations. The public in Alaska needs to know the truth so they are fully and correctly informed before they cast their ballots Tuesday. Palin has a responsibility to release the full, unedited tapes publicly and to all media.”

Breibart is using his BigGovernment site to make serious allegations while at the same time relying on the “purported” line – but given his history, Breibart is hoping for another slam dunk hit job. There is no “purported” about the story he is running. The fact that it comes on the back of his reported appearance and the backlash that ensured on ABC, one has to question if this is an attempt to deflect.  In fact you only have to look on Breibart’s own site and a post he made to see he is connecting the two:

On Sunday Big Journalism broke the troubling KTVA (Anchorage) voicemail story that showed reporters and producers plotting how to smear GOP candidate Joe Miller. The real story here is that the Big sites have broken huge stories that have affected this election cycle, including ones that show an unhealthy collusion between the political left and America’s major newsrooms. Perhaps on election eve, as I prepare to head to Phoenix to participate — one way or another — in ABC News’s coverage, it’s no surprise that we are ending this news cycle with a clash on this bitterly contested front. (Biggovernment)

IF they are right, release the whole tape – but don;t for a minute take Breibart’s words and audio as it stands right now as the absolute truth – this is a man who has repeatedly lied and twisted in an attempt to discredit good people – so he needs to be honest – if he can be.

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