Defense #1: Some of the ACORN people were "playing along" with what they thought were pranks.
Rebuttal: Even if this is true, ACORN still looks unethical on many levels. I saw no hints of "playing along" in any of the videos.Defense #2: ACORN was responding to unethical practices of banks during the housing crisis.
Rebuttal: Two wrongs don't make a right. Moreover, the root causes of the housing crisis probably lie within government, not business. Check out the 1994 hearings on Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac.Defense #3: James O'Keefe had racist motives for creating the videos.
Rebuttal: The O'Keefe-as-racist meme gained traction through a Washington Post story written by Darryl Fears and Carol D. Leonnig. The Post later made a retraction. Andrew Breitbart spoke to Leonnig before the article came out, and he predicted accurately that she would unfairly inject race into the story. (Go to 1:05 of the video.)Defense #4: "Hapless" ACORN employees were caught in a politically motivated sting.
Rebuttal: Breitbart dismantles the "hapless" (a.k.a. "dumdum") argument very effectively (go to 2:30 of the video).Defense #5: ACORN has done good things in the past.
Rebuttal: Even if ACORN has done "amazing" work elsewhere--a contention that I have doubts about--the pimp videos should serve as a wake-up call that triggers skepticism and scrutiny of all ACORN operations, past and present.