George Graham

Sex, Lies and Videotape



They say the camera doesn’t lie but you know the people using cameras can and do. Especially video sleuths. They edit those tapes to make a case, and often the fraud goes undiscovered until it’s too late to undo the harm that’s been done.

Remember the ACORN “scandal”? Back in 2009, a sneaky “reporter” posed as a pimp and, abetted by a teenage accomplice, made videos that supposedly showed ACORN employees advising them to get around US laws.  The resulting brouhaha provided cover for right-wing politicians to get ACORN defunded.

After exhaustive investigations, law enforcement officials concluded that the ACORN workers had committed no criminal activity and that the videos were “heavily edited” to create a misleading impression. And the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported there was no evidence that ACORN workers had misused government funds or participated in the criminal activities represented in the videos.

But by the time the “sting” was debunked, it had done its dirty work. ACORN, an innocent voter registration group, was no more. And thousands – perhaps millions – of poor Americans who might have had the chance to vote were disenfranchised.

A few years later the same sneaky tactics were used in an attempt to destroy Planned Parenthood. “Undercover” video sleuths tried to entrap employees of the women’s health group into giving advice to – you guessed it – a pimp and a prostitute. But the scheme backfired. The healthcare  group’s president sent a letter to the U.S. attorney general describing the visits and asking for an investigation.

Obviously, the anti-abortion fanatics who have their hearts set on eliminating Planned Parenthood were not deterred.

They’re back again with their cameras and their editing equipment. This time, they taped Planned Parenthood executives supposedly making deals to sell human tissue harvested from abortions. And the tapes have caused widespread outrage. Politicians like Ted Cruz are exploiting the “scandal,” threatening to shut down the federal government unless Planned Parenthood is defunded.

Now, it turns out the video “evidence” smearing the women’s health care group has been tampered with. Experts examining the tapes have found “cuts, skips, missing tape, and changes in camera angle.”

I suspect that when the dust settles, the Planned Parenthood “scandal” will turn out to be just another staged video production. But by that time, Planned Parenthood, which does so much valuable work in so many areas of health care for women, will have gone the way of ACORN.

Click for more on the Planned Oarenthood tapes.

Click for more on ACORN.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for