Washington Babylon — March 22, 2010, 9:33 am

That Acorn Sting

Initially, I had no problem with the sting pulled on ACORN by the conservative activists James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles. “It’s a serious matter when at least three different ACORN offices, in Washington, Baltimore, and New York, offer to help a 25-year-old ‘pimp’ wearing a derby hat and chinchilla shoulder throw and his ‘prostitute’ lie about their business in order to buy a home,” I wrote at the time. “And even more so when the preposterously dressed duo suggested that they’d be bringing in underage girls from Central America to work at their brothel.”

But now it appears that much of the “sting” was a hoax. Most significantly, O’Keefe was not dressed as a pimp when he visited Acorn’s offices. It’s also clear that O’Keefe and Giles edited the videos from the sting.

That seriously undermines their work, but it doesn’t mean that ACORN comes off looking good. “If O’Keefe did not dress as a pimp, he clearly presented himself as one: a fellow trying to set up a woman — sometimes along with under-age girls — in a house where they would work as prostitutes,” the New York Times wrote in a review of the case. In Washington, he said the prostitution was to finance his future in politics. A worker for ACORN Housing, an allied group, warned him to stay away from the brothel lest someone “get wind that you got a house and that your girlfriend is over there running a house of women of the night. You will not have a career.”

Watch the Colbert clip and read the Times piece and see what you think.

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