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Context, lies and videotapes: The real Acorn story

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Last week, California Attorney General Jerry Brown released the results of his investigation into the Acorn sting videos by right-wing activists James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles. The two posted videos that supposedly showed O'Keefe and Giles getting advice from Acorn workers in various state offices on running a prostitution ring involving girls who'd been snuck across the Mexican border. The uproar led Congress to cut off support for Acorn, a community organizing group that worked in poor communities, and crippled Acorn's funding operation. On April 1, Acorn shut down its field offices.It turns out the O'Keefe and Giles expose, at least in California, didn't hold up. Attorney General Brown wrote: "Things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality....Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting room floor."We invite you now to compare sting videos as played and replayed on Fox to the original footage on which Brown based his decision.After the jump, Rachel Maddow's take:

From Maddow on the Tuesday show:

The unedited video tapes released by the California Attorney General's office last week clear ACORN employees in California of any criminal wrongdoing.

They do not clear ACORN offices in other parts of the country. And we've talked about ACORN's real various misdeeds before on this show -- including having an executive who embezzled funds, and some other problems. This is not meant to excuse what ACORN has done wrong in the past.

But the huge tide of negative publicity that followed these videotapes and the coverage they got on Fox? Was bull pucky. It was a dishonest political stunt that bears no resemblance to journalism and no resemblance to the facts. But it worked. This big organization serving poor people and registering thousands of voters and advocating for a higher minimum wage has been shut down -- means be damned, in the end it worked. Who do you think is next on their list.