San Bernardino ACORN Press Release

September 16, 2009

ACORN Attack Videographer Caught in Manipulation

For Immediate Release: September 15, 2009

Contact: Brian Kettenring, Deputy Director of National Operations, ACORN (727) 692-7215

(San Bernardino, CA) — Today the videographer James O’Keefe’s hidden camera “interview” with San Bernardino ACORN organizer Tresa Kaelke, airing repeatedly on Fox “News”, including the Glenn Beck show, and on BigGovernment.com, has been caught out in an obvious set of lies and manipulations.

Ms. Kaelke, who was approached by the actors at the entrance to the small, one-person ACORN office, immediately felt uneasy and at a loss. With their provocative costuming and outlandish scenario, she could not take them seriously. So she met their outrageousness with her own personal style of outrageousness. She matched their false scenario with her own false scenarios.

“They were not believable”, said Ms. Kaelke of the two actors. “Somewhat entertaining, but they weren’t even good actors. I didn’t know what to make of them. They were clearly playing with me. I decided to shock them as much as they were shocking me. Like Stephan Colbert does – saying the most outrageous things with a straight face.While her sense of humor might not be funny to many people, the fact is that she spun false scenario after false scenario and the videographer ate them up.

For example, in response to the set-up by the filmmakers in which they say they are trying get the young woman away from her abusive pimp, she responds that she was abused by her former husband as well (true) and that she shot and killed him (false). He is very much alive and living near Barstow, CA.

However, this is taken as the gospel truth, not just in the film itself, but also by several “news” personalities, indicating that no journalistic standards were applied to making the video or vetting it for broadcast.

Further, as the actors repeatedly noted how nice she was being, Ms Kaelke responded, also repeatedly, that her “niceness” was just her, not ACORN.  “My supervisor would shoot this down like faster than a bat out of hell.”

When the actors talked about bringing 12-13 year olds in from another country, supposedly because they needed a lot of money fast for a political campaign, Ms. Kaelke said, “You are going to need it for a lawyer!”

These exchanges, which do not appear in the edited film put on BigGovernment.com, call into question the journalistic standards of the film and of any purported news organization that chooses to run them.

Ms. Kaelke, who did not know she was being filmed, is appalled that her defensive attempts to deal with an intimidating and troubling experience have been manipulated into an attack on her work helping low- and moderate-income families fight the foreclosure crisis, work for needed health care reform, and face the economic crisis in San Bernardino.   Ms. Kaelke is preparing a sworn affidavit to support her statement.  ACORN challenges Fox to show the complete, unedited versions of all of these inflammatory videos and allow the American people see the “truth”, the “whole truth”.

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ACORN is the nation’s largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, with over 500,000 member families organized into neighborhood chapters in 100 cities across the country.  Since 1970 ACORN has taken action and won victories on issues of concern to our members.  Our priorities include: better housing for first time homebuyers and tenants, living wages for low-wage workers, more investment in our communities from banks and governments, and better public schools. ACORN is an acronym, and each letter should be capitalized.  ACORN stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

ACORN’s website is at http://www.acorn.org.


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