AP strains hard to discover shadowy conservative network behind O'Keefe and Giles; Update: NBC profiles O'Keefe

Turns out there isn’t one, but let’s say there had been. Let’s say Breitbart, Glenn Beck, and Roger Ailes had masterminded the whole thing and bankrolled it with a grant from Heritage or some other right-wing think tank. So what? How does that “complicate” the fact that they’ve got ACORN people on video conspiring to cover up child sex slavery? Even Jon Stewart’s sneering at big media these days for needing two twentysomething right-wingers to do their investigative work for them. And yet, not only does this piece drip with skepticism that O’Keefe and Giles did it all on their own, it’s freighted with the sense that there’d be something … untoward if conservative big media were found to be involved. Frankly, I think Stewart’s critique applies as well to Fox and the Washington Times as it does to the left: Why wasn’t conservative big media involved? This is the sort of thing that made “60 Minutes” a top ten show on television for decades.

[A]s far back as 2006 — well before the videos became a national sensation and conservative rallying cry — the fresh-faced O’Keefe and Giles connected with a pair of Washington conservative institutions that boast programs training ideological journalists.

Now, due to coordinated promotion of the undercover sting footage by influential players in the conservative media, Giles and O’Keefe have gone from part of the pack to movement superstars…

O’Keefe and Giles insist that no one helped them conceive, execute or finance their video project, which with remarkable speed has devastated the activist community service group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, commonly known as ACORN…

There’s no proof that a coordinated effort to commission the project, but O’Keefe and Giles did discuss it with several conservative activists starting at least a month before its Sept. 10 premiere. One key result of those discussions was phenomenal promotion…

Through a spokesman, Beck and his production company declined comment on any possible role in orchestrating the story’s roll-out. Michael Clemente, senior vice president of news at Fox News, said through a spokeswoman that he would not discuss how Fox got the videos because that would reflect editorial process. He did say that “Fox was not involved in the shooting or releasing of any of the videos,” and did not pay to make or air them.

They got Hannah Giles’s father on record denying that he had anything to do with it too, which is a great relief to those, I guess, who would have had to disregard everything they’d seen had they known that a — gasp — Townhall columnist was involved.

Meanwhile, in other ACORN news tonight, WaPo takes dictation from the group’s former CEO, who’s outrageously outraged that it might be seen as a “criminal enterprise” even though his own brother embezzled a ton of money from the group and he himself then arranged a “confidential repayment” to cover it up.

Update: Bonus fun fact about the AP: Given their choice of screencaps from the Big Government videos, I’m going to guess that the screencapper was (a) a male and (b) a big fan of Giles, IYKWIMAITYD.

Update: It’s come to this: Network news profiling the people who are doing their job for them.

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