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January 27, 2010

Journalistic Logic for Dummies, ACORN Edition

Patterico, you ignorant slut....

When I first read a news story about this yesterday, it sounded to me like O’Keefe and company were being accused of an attempt to wiretap or bug Landrieu’s phones. Indeed, that’s the way I characterized the Government’s claim in my post based on a news story. But now I have had a chance to review the affidavit. And it doesn’t say that.

The link to the affidavit is here. I challenge you to find me the language that accuses O’Keefe et al. of a “plot to bug” Landrieu’s office, or an “alleged wiretap scheme.”

It isn’t there.

What you will see is an allegation that three of the four men entered the office pretending to be telephone company employees. O’Keefe was allegedly holding his cell phone as if to record the other two on video. You know, the kind of undercover recording thing that he does.

One witness allegedly saw one of the other two men “take the handset of the phone and manipulate it.” This is the main phone at the reception desk, presumably in full view of everyone. What does “manipulate” mean? I don’t know. Does it mean he simply picked the phone up? That would technically comport with one dictionary definition of “manipulate” — to “operate with . . . the hands.”

The language implies something more sinister, to be sure. Implies. If the man had tried to take the phone apart it would have been simple to say so.

Then the affidavit has them asking for access to the telephone closet to perform repair work. It does not say they went into the closet. Were they simply waiting for someone to ask: “What repair work? There’s nothing wrong with the phones!”? I don’t know.

I do know this: the affidavit does not say one word about any of them possessing any listening devices. Not one.

Isn't this just like a man?
Let me break it down so even an ignorant Rethug can understand:

1. If pretending to be a 'ho makes Hannah Giles a "would-be prostitute"...

2. Then it logically follows that pretending to be a telephone repairman makes James O'Keefe a "would be wiretapper".


You people just don't get it, do you? Why can't you just stop asking questions and allow the press to do your thinking for you?

We are all entitled to our own opinions, but only the lamestream media are entitled to their own facts.

Posted by Cassandra at January 27, 2010 01:35 PM

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Slight edit, though: James O'Keefe being with two men pretending to be telephone repair men makes him a "would-be wiretapper."


Posted by: Foxfier at January 27, 2010 04:59 PM

Good catch! :)

Posted by: Cassandra at January 27, 2010 05:07 PM

This really could be the biggest story of the year. Just look at what we knowso far:

Two men, both dressed like the Construction Worker from the Village People, walk in off the street and announce themselves as "the telephone company guys." While one telephone company guy "manipulates" a telephone in a manner one witness described as being "suggestive," the other "telephone company guy" repeatedly demanded to know the location of the closet "where the telephone sound goes to next."

Meanwhile, a third member of this tele-terrorist gang had taken position in his mother's basement across town. From this dark lair he... um... did something...and whatever it was, it was bad enough to get him arrested by the FBI.

While his minions wrecked havoc upon the local landlines, their leader monitored the operation's progress from a car parked a few blocks away. To passing pedestrians, the gang’s leader (code named “Super Fly”) appeared to be just another purple-fur clad, high-heeled ‘70's-era dope hustler in a pimped-out Caddy Eldorado with an i-Phone. But the hand held device that this former undercover operative nervously fingered was no mere cell phone. A gift from someone deep inside the RNC known only "Dick Cheney" the bright red device bristled with killer apps. With just a few taps of a finger he could sink the president’s approval rating, replace Conan O’Brien with Joe Biden, or even "de-friend" you from every Facebook account. Just ask Chris Dodd how that feels. And then a cop knocked on the window of his Honda Civic, woke him up, and arrested him too.

On second thought, this story sounds more like:

-Techies’ Attempted “Prank” Thwarted By Suspicious Hall Monitor – Accused Face “Serious” Detention

Posted by: spd rdr at January 27, 2010 08:11 PM

spd, that was even funnier than the President's SOTU remarks so far.

Only difference is that you were intentionally funny :p

Posted by: Cassandra at January 27, 2010 09:20 PM

I did say that I don't accept what the propaganda organs tell me until I've done my own leg work. And this is one of the reasons why.

Always beware of believing things because there's a benefit to believing it is true or if there is a fear motivating the belief.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at January 27, 2010 10:21 PM

spd rdr-
the guy across town was listening in on the action via walkie-talkie, which the construction worker guys had turned into a transmitter by wrapping a rubber band around the toggle.

Posted by: Foxfier at January 27, 2010 10:26 PM

Always beware of believing things because there's a benefit to believing it is true or if there is a fear motivating the belief.

That might make sense if the example I gave involved anyone believing or accepting anything. But it didn't :p

What I said was that there's a big difference between uncritically accepting an initial report and passing judgment on someone's guilt before all the information is in (as Murtha did with Haditha) and saying:

"Yikes. We don't have all the evidence yet, but if it turns out to be true that Ymar bounced innocent kittens for no apparent reason, the fact that we're on the same side wouldn't cause me to overlook such a heinous act." :)

Notice that in the second instance, no one has pronounced Ymar guilty of kitten bouncing. They just articulated a general principle: "Rahm Emmanuel says Ymar bounced kitties. If he did, that would be Bad. And not just bad, but wrong/bad as a general principle."

Posted by: Cassandra at January 27, 2010 11:21 PM

So, Ymar....

When did you stop bouncing kittens?

*running away*

Posted by: Cassandra at January 27, 2010 11:25 PM

I wasn't responding to what you wrote in your post here.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at January 27, 2010 11:27 PM

Hey! Don't knock kitten-bouncing until you've tried it! It can be fun for two hours if you have a passel of kittens. (If you only have one kitten, it loses its bounce after the first four or five times.)

If you want to become a world-class kitten-bouncer, I strongly suggest using long-haired kittens. I could get all scientific about it but I won't. Suffice it to say the long hair absorbs some of the energy that would dissipate and then returns that energy. And you get a higher bounce, and likely a couple extra bounces before the kitten quits bouncing back.

Oh, before I forget, you'll need to strap the legs to the body or the kitten won't bounce the first time.

Posted by: John Hitchcock at January 27, 2010 11:48 PM

"We are all entitled to our own opinions, but only the lamestream media are entitled to their own facts."

A.K.A.: "Spin"...

Posted by: camojack at January 28, 2010 03:37 AM

Did they go into the telephone closet to manipulate the phone some more, or was it just a freebie peep show?

How kinky is that? A threesome? Or was Hannah trying to pass as a man?

Inquiring minds...

Posted by: Cricket at January 28, 2010 05:25 AM

I sure hope there turns out to be a great explanation for what O'Keefe's guys were doing. So far I'm kind of drawing a blank. Best case: they were hoping to get some video footage of a phone ringing (someone trying to call Landrieu to complain about the Louisiana Purchase) and office staffers refusing to answer it. Eh -- a little lame -- but possible. So I'm going to be thrilled if it turns out that none of these guys had any kind of equipment on their persons that could qualify as bugging devices. And I guess if they had, there would have been some mention of it in the indictment. At some point, the prosecutor will have to explain what the "felony" was that they entered the office under false pretenses to commit. I hope O'Keefe has really first-rate defense counsel.

Posted by: Texan99 at January 28, 2010 09:55 AM

Texan99-- more likely, they were hoping to record the phone not in use, while someone tried to call it and got a busy signal.

Posted by: Foxfier at January 28, 2010 10:47 AM

That could be right. It must be fun working in Landrieu's office lately, huh?

Posted by: Texan99 at January 28, 2010 11:26 AM

spd rdr-
the guy across town was listening in on the action via walkie-talkie, which the construction worker guys had turned into a transmitter by wrapping a rubber band around the toggle.

Posted by: Foxfier at January 27, 2010 10:26 PM

I'd bet that Saturday Night Live would offer a bundle for a transcript of that!

Receptionist: Good morning. May I help you?

James Bond #1: Good morning. I'm Ralph Kramden, and this is my partner Ed Norton. We're just two guys from the telephone company.

James Bond #2: Yep. Just two guys from the telephone company. That's me and Ralphie-boy.

R: Which one?

Ralph: Which one what?

R: Which telephone company?

Ralph: Which telephone company? Oh, you mean which company we work for. Tell her which company, Norton.

Ed: You sure want me to tell her which company we work for, Ralph? We're supposed to be from the telphone company.

Ralph: (quietly, through clenched teeth) Just tell her what telephone company we're from, Norton, or it's bang zoom to the moon with you.

Ed: Ok! I gotcha, Ralphie-boy. No need threaten my magnificent physicality. Look, lady, you know that TV commercial where the people are walking around with pictures of maps over their heads? the one were some people have a blue map following them around and the other ones have a red map? You know that commercial?

R: Yes, I've seen it.

Ed: Well, we're from the telphone company with the red map.

Ralph (screaming): OH FOR GOD'S SAKE, NORTON!!! We're from the company with the red map? Have you lost your mind? DO YOU EVEN HAVE A MIND? Why I oughtta....

Ed: OW!! Quit it, Ralphie! Quit or I'm telling Alice about the fifteen bucks you lost playing poker with Dick Cheney!

R: Security to the front desk! Security to the front desk!

Posted by: spd rdr at January 28, 2010 01:35 PM