Two gutsy young people did the undercover journalistic legwork that quickly turned public opinion against the radical leftist group ACORN, but their work might have been less effective without the “promotional genius” of Andrew Breitbart.
Breitbart, who first made a splash on the new media scene at The Drudge Report, released the first video shot by “the pimp and the prostitute” (James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles) on Sept. 10, the day Breitbart launched his new Web site, BigGovernment.com. It exposed ACORN employees in Baltimore aiding and abetting both underage prostitution and tax fraud.
- ACORN has fired at least five employees so far and suspended operations;
- The Census Bureau has severed ties with the group, and lawmakers are urging the Internal Revenue Service do the same;
- Both the Senate and the House have voted to halt federal funding to ACORN;
- State officials in California, Louisiana and New York have ACORN in their investigative sights;
- And even the White House, occupied by a president with past ties to the community organizers of ACORN, has blasted the group.
Breitbart is winning kudos for the new media strategy that made it all possible. “Really, isn’t Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com the best Web site launch ever?” Instapundit Glenn Reynolds said. “And I think Andrew deserves great credit for the very skillful way he’s managed the releases to keep the spin doctors off balance and the press interested.”
“This was the most effective guerrilla conservative effort in recent years,” added John Hinderaker of Power Line, who dubbed Breitbart’s “slow, drip-drip release” of the clips “promotional genius.”
Now we hear from the man himself exactly why he adopted that strategy. Here’s the explantion Breitbart gave Megyn Kelly on Fox News:
There is something desperately wrong with the mainstream media. And that’s why we did the rollout the way that we did, because we wanted to not just expose ACORN for being corrupt, we wanted to expose that the mainstream media would treat this exactly like they treated the Van Jones story. And that’s ignored until the consequences got too great for them to ignore.
Breitbart had every reason to believe the elite, “professional” media would react the way they have.
O’Keefe previously helped expose racism at Planned Parenthood — phone operators for the pro-abortion group willingly accepted donations explicitly intended for killing black babies — but the liberal media wouldn’t touch that story. Live Action Films since has revealed criminal behavior at Planned Parenthood, but not only have journalists ignored that news, YouTube has banned the videos to help suppress the story.
It’s a sad state of media affairs when journalists like O’Keefe and Giles, who are still breaking one of the most explosive exposes in recent memory, have to brainstorm how to get the legacy press to cover the story. But the past proves that Breitbart needed a plan to force the mainstream media to report the news.