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The ACORN scandal was very real, but not in the ways some think it was real. It was another example of how a dishonest right wing smear machine can use typically dishonest right wing smear tactics to derail and largely destroy what it perceives to be a political enemy. This isn't getting much notice, but it should be.

Joe Conason links to the concise conclusion of the investigation of ACORN by Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes. It doesn't get more blunt:

That investigation is now concluded and no criminality has been found.

Conason:

The prosecutor's findings predictably drew little attention from the mainstream and right-wing media that blared O'Keefe's videotapes so relentlessly last year, as if he had uncovered a massive scandal.

Indeed. As with the Clinton "scandals," which the media did so much to hype, and which, despite years of unprecedentedly intense investigations, found only that the president had engaged in misbehavior of a highly personal nature.

But it gets worse. Conason:

But with California Attorney General Jerry Brown's release of unedited videotapes of the ACORN "stings" in San Diego and Los Angeles -- which demonstrate clearly how editing distorted those events -- the Brooklyn probe takes on added significance.

Because Brown also found that there was no criminality. But more tellingly, Conason refers to this article in the New York Daily News:

While the video by James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles seemed to show three ACORN workers advising a prostitute how to hide ill-gotten gains, the unedited version was not as clear, according to a law enforcement source.

"They edited the tape to meet their agenda," said the source.

As Conason points out, and despite all the outrage and hype in the both the right wing and mainstream media, the "scandal" was manufactured. Deliberately and dishonestly. A smear. Typical right wing tactics.

ACORN committed no crimes. They were smeared. The unedited tapes, of course, have not been released to the public, because the smear merchants don't want to reveal their tactics. One would hope that the media would now treat all productions of right wing smear merchant Andrew Breitbart as the type of productions that they are: fictions.

Of course, the real criminal in the story turned out to be the man who made the video. That would be confessed criminal James O'Keefe. Who got caught tampering with the phones of a U.S. Senator, in another attempted smear campaign. That one failed, but the smear of ACORN succeeded in one way: ACORN has been all but destroyed.

Meanwhile, Conason concludes with a pointed question to those media dupes that played along with the smear campaign:

When will they ask Breitbart to release the tapes in full, as they should have done months ago? And when will they ask Roger Ailes to explain why his network doesn't owe its viewers a full and humble retraction?

We all know the answer to that. ACORN was just another victim of right wing smear merchants and our perpetually incompetent mainstream media.

Originally posted to Laurence Lewis on Fri Apr 09, 2010 at 08:05 AM PDT.

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