When Undercover Activism Meets Journalism

My latest at The Daily Beast concerns Le Affair ACORN.

Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite:

As a First Amendment extremist, I’d prefer that anyone doing journalism, of the citizen or professional variety, be exempted from wiretap laws. My guess is that the benefits of that approach would outweigh the costs, though I acknowledge the latter, and that reasonable people might disagree.
So here I propose a less sweeping piece of legislation: it ought to be legal for any citizen of the United States to record any elected official or employee whose salary is partly or wholly paid with taxpayer dollars, whether he or she is a police officer, an esteemed United States Senator, or a lowly community organizer. That rule would help undercover sleuths keep government and the enterprises it funds accountable, whether through ideologically motivated activism, journalistically motivated investigative reporting, or whatever mix arises in this new era of democratized media.

Do click through — Tina Brown demands your eyeballs!


Oh my Lord, the San Bernardino ACORN office is staffed by a woman openly talking about the pre-meditated murder of her abusive husband, and offering to murder again if anyone exposes the underage brothel the undercover filmmakers are planning to run.

And that isn’t even the worst of what she says!

One so far unremarked upon but remarkable aspect of these videos is how adept the people at these offices are at gaming the system. Honestly, I’d never have believed it all. I’m predisposed to think there is some low-level corruption going on in these kinds of organizations, having gotten that vibe being around them as a local reporter, but this is immorality and poor management on a level that shocks me anew with each video’s release.