Saturday, September 19, 2009

Acorny Sentiments

As a recent book on Digital Media and Democracy points out, Internet grassroots media production doesn't necessarily foster progressive politics. A case in point is the recent attention being paid to the online videos of James O'Keefe, who describes himself as an "activist filmmaker," while also using the language of Hollywood "credits" and work "directed, scripted, produced and acted in." Although his work at Veritas Visuals has been getting a lot of airtime on Fox News and other networks for seeming to show a pimp and prostitute being advised about how to falsify documents and hide assets in an ACORN office, he previously boast of creating "a series of undercover videos showcasing racism and statutory rape at Planned Parenthood in 2007 and 2008" and other work for This piece on the "YouTube right-o-sphere" from TechPresident points out that equations between right and left-wing muckraking are part of the rhetoric surrounding the films. As one conservative media operative says, "I couldn't help thinking, this is the Abu Ghraib of the Great Society." Even an interview with O'Keefe in the Los Angeles Times acknowledges that some might have merely been playing along with the spoof, which is one of the dangers of putting in such an over-the-top performance. Meanwhile the website of ACORN itself is dutifully recording its own investigations and censures.

Now ACORN is suing the video's creator for unauthorized filming.

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