Much has been written regarding the ACORN underage-prostitution-brothel-human-smuggling-tax-evasion... scandal (see all ACORN references in the links below) uncovered by James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles. The two went undercover to pretending to be a pimp and prostitute respectively. They then went around the country to different ACORN offices admitting either/both participating in or the desire to engage in illegal activities. While the hidden video and audio rolled they heard ACORN worker after ACORN worker offer advice on tax fraud, under age prostitution, and human smuggling. With evidence in hand, they went to Andrew Breitbart to help them distribute the videos and formulate a plan. The plan, which worked perfectly, was to release the videos slowly to watch as both ACORN and their supporters lie and distort. The next video would disprove the last lie and give ACORN and their supporters another opportunity to lie and distort. The next video disproved those lies; and so on.
The effect was enormous and quick. ACORN went from being the 'darling' of the Democrats and untouchable by Republicans and conservatives; to being untouchable in the other sense of the word by the Democrats. An organization that was eligible for $8.5 Billion before the release of the tapes, saw both branches of Congress blocking public funds, and the IRS and Census cuts ties with the group. ACORN is now under investigation by multiple branches of the government, both federal and state. ACORN, who had just weeks before reached new heights of power and influence, is now in taters trying desperately to recover while facing the real possibility of total collapse.
All of that was somewhat of a review of recent events. Most people end the analysis there. That is, the importance of the story is that ACORN has been crippled. I believe that the real importance of the story is that we have moved into a new era of blogger influence. For years, bloggers have been able to a serious impact on politics. Drudge (of Drudge Report), HotAir.com, and Glenn Reynolds (of Instapundit.com) (and others) are able to push stories. Charles Johnson (of LittleGreenFootballs.com) was instrumental in 'Rather-Gate' forged document scandal. More recently, Jim Hoft (of GatewayPundit.blogspot.com) was instrumental in the Van Jones controversy and eventual resignation. In those examples, as with the vast majority of cases were blogges have made a significant impact, the bloggers either helped push a story, did some research, or uncovered 'lost or forgotten' documents/videos. In this case, James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles actually went out and created the content. They also did it with a pittance of a budget and with no real support.
This is not to diminish the accomplishments of the aforementioned bloggers who were pivotal in a story. It is just to say that we have moved into a new era where bloggers are no longer relegated to push a story or research for content, but can actually create it. With this new 'citizen soldier/journalist' ability, there could be a significant 'chilling effect' on crime. Generally, the notion of a chilling effect is in reference to free speech and is not only considered bad but unconstitutional. A chilling effect with regard to crime is at the opposite end of the spectrum or a very good thing. In the future, workers for an organization will not know if the person they want to help break the law is really just an undercover blogger. This means they will be much less likely to help someone break the law; as I mentioned, a very good thing.
Past related posts: (see ACORN label for the latest)
Berman Post: ACORN Employees in Baltimore Give Advice to Pimp on Tax Evasion And Child Prostitution
Berman Post: ACORN Employees in DC Give Advice to Pimp on Tax Evasion And Prostitution
Berman Post: Coverage of ACORN's Latest Scandal
Berman Post: Census Bureau Cuts Ties With ACORN
Berman Post: People Facing Prosecution in ACORN Scandal Are ... The People Who Exposed Them!?!
Berman Post: Complete Audio of ACORN Employees in DC Give Advice to Pimp on Tax Evasion And Prostitution
Berman Post: ACORN Employees in NY Give Advice to Pimp on Tax Evasion And Prostitution
Berman Post: Patricia Jessamy, The Person Who Decides Who to Prosecute in The ACORN Scandal, is an Avid Obama Supporter / Contributor
Berman Post: Johanns Amendment #2355 to H.R. 3288 Passes - Senate Votes to Defunds ACORN Housing
Berman Post: Lack of ACORN Scandal Coverage in MSM, And Obama's Connection to ACORN
Berman Post: ACORN Was Operating Illegally in Maryland?
Berman Post: ACORN Employee in San Bernardino (California) Give Advice to Pimp on Tax Evasion And Prostitution
Berman Post: RICO Charges Warranted Against ACORN?
Berman Post: Jon Stewart Skewers The Main Stream Media Over Ignoring ACORN Controversy
Berman Post: ACORN Employee in San Bernardino (California) Give Advice to Pimp on Tax Evasion And Prostitution (Part Two)
Berman Post: Andrew Cuomo And Christine Quinn Moving to Freeze ACORN (NY) Funding Pending an Investigation
Berman Post: ACORN Orders a Halt to Any New Intakes Into ACORN's Service Programs Pending Completion of an Independent Review
Berman Post: Gibbs Calls ACORN Employees' Conduct "Completely Unacceptable"
Berman Post: ACORN Employee in San Diego (California) Give Advice to Pimp on Human Trafficking And Prostitution
Berman Post: ACORN Employee in San Bernardino (California) Give Advice to Pimp on Tax Evasion And Prostitution (Part Three)
Berman Post: ACORN Employee in San Diego (California) Give Advice to Pimp on Human Trafficking And Prostitution (Video)
Berman Post: House Passes H R 3221 by a Vote of 345-75 to Defund ACORN
Berman Post: "ACORN’s Internal Audit is a Sham"
Berman Post: Leno Skewers ACORN
Berman Post: Minnesota Governor Orders Stop All ACORN Funding
Berman Post: "ACORN Funded Prostitution Zone"
Berman Post: Breitbart - 'Release Method of ACORN Videos Designed to Show Lying / Corrupt ACORN And Media
Berman Post: Doug Giles Talks About His Daughter's ACORN Expose
Berman Post: Obama is For an Investigation Into ACORN, Says it is Something he Has Not Followed Closely
Berman Post: Bertha Lewis on Fox News Sunday
Berman Post: Power Line Blog Defends James O'Keefe
Berman Post: Justice Department Inspector General Launches Limited Internal ACORN Probe
Berman Post: Alfonzo on "The Squiraliness of ACORN"
Berman Post: ACORN's Tax Issue
Berman Post: ACORN Scrubbed From Serve.gov Site
Berman Post: Washington Post Runs a 'Correction' For an Unfair Attack Against O'Keefe
Berman Post: IRS Cuts Ties with ACORN
Berman Post: ACORN Sues James O'Keefe, Hannah Giles And Andrew Breitbart
Berman Post: IRS Files Two-Million Dollar Lien Against ACORN
Berman Post: Congress Makes it Extra Clear That ACORN Will Get no Funds From Them
Berman Post: Treasury Inspector General Agrees to Review ACORN
Berman Post: Senate Makes it Extra Clear That ACORN Will Get no Funds From Them