James O’Keefe calls himself an investigative journalist, but that’s not what he is. A real investigative journalist would look for the truth, whichever political party a particular set of uncovered and inconvenient facts happened to make look bad.O’Keefe is only interested in getting dirt on Democrats and their allies.
A real investigative journalist would also follow, or know he was supposed to follow, or at least make some effort to follow, the tenets of journalism ethics, which frown on using trickery, lies and surreptitious recording to obtain stories. This is all O’Keefe does. His oxymoronically named Project Veritas uses people posing as someone they are not, spouting misrepresentations, to obtain video evidence of corruption in the bowels of political activism…Democratic political activism, that is. Recently, O’Keefe got various supporters of and volunteers for Allison Grimes—you know, that former Democratic National Convention delegate for Barack Obama running for U.S. Senator under the banner of Democratic Party in Kentucky who refuses to say that she voted for the current Democratic President?—to opine that that the candidate’s vocal support for the coal industry was a sham. As always with O’Keefe’s stings, the dedicated Daily Koses huffed and puffed and explained why the videos were misleading (the usual excuse is that the victims “caught in the act of being themselves,” as Candid Camera creator Allen Funt used to say, were “going along” with O’Keefe’s sham. This was also the excuse of many of the Congressmen filmed taking bribes in the Abscam sting. It is not persuasive.)
It’s a pretty sure thing that O’Keefe was on to something valid, just as he was on to something valid when he tricked an NPR exec into raving about how much he hated conservatives, and when he got some ACORN employees to demonstrate the kind of loose ethics that poorly trained zealots tend to display when a community organization operation gets too much money and continues to be run by amateurs. Most recently, O’Keefe caught various progressive activists enthusiastically endorsing voter fraud in Colorado.
O’Keefe’s theme is a good one: he targets areas of unethical conduct that the mainstream media refuses to investigate because their Democrat friends and allies deny the conduct exists. ACORN was a true cesspool of corruption; my favorite was the ACORN board treasurer who embezzled millions but was allowed to keep his job because he was ACORN’s founder’s brother. The media ignored the trail of rotten ACORN crumbs anyway, because the group registered voters for Democrats. Similarly, anyone who is fair and listens to NPR regularly knows that it is 1) excellent and also 2) smugly, relentlessly left in its choice of stories and coverage of them. Never mind: good liberals deny that NPR is biased. “Voter fraud? What voter fraud?” is the mantra of the mainstream media, because Democratic voting blocs have long been more prone to voting early and often than Republicans, and Democrats know it. In such a complicit journalistic culture, a James O’Keefe was inevitable.
But this O’Keefe cheats. Not only does he employ unethical methods to get his targets to admit what he suspects is true, he also likes to edit the raw footage, and discard the tapes in which liberals display integrity and honesty.
He is, in short, scum. He is scum, however that has been created from the muck of mainstream journalism, equally unethically if not so scummily, taking sides. Over the weekend, Bob Woodward of Watergate fame said…
“The reality now in my view that in the Obama administration, there are lots of unanswered questions about the IRS, particularly. If I were young, I would take Carl Bernstein and move to Cincinnati where that IRS office is and set up headquarters and go talk to everyone.”
This true scandal has been revealing itself drip by drip for almost two years now. OK, Woodward and Bernstein are old, rich and no longer like Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, and Ben Bradley is dead. Why has no other team of real, public minded investigative reporters set out to get to the bottom of the IRS mess? The answer is that the vast majority of Woodsteins today have convinced themselves that there is no scandal, and if they suspected there was, don’t have the integrity or the guts to trace the evidence to the White House, if it happened to lead there. Everyone hated Nixon, after all: Woodward and Bernstein only had to worry about being wrong, not being right. A 2014 equivalent that brought down Barack Obama’s Presidency, however, would be as popular in the American journalism community as Ebola.
Thus the job falls to James O’Keefe and his ilk, which means that even if he found a a handwritten order from President Obama to the IRS saying, “Cut the legs out from under those tea party groups before the 2012 election!,” it would have no effect. The mainstream media wouldn’t report it, and at least half of the public wouldn’t believe it. If O’Keefe had any integrity, it would be different. If he had any integrity, he would be employing his unethical tactics to expose conservative groups, Fox News, lying GOP candidates and conservatives who favor voter fraud, as well as his targets on the left. He doesn’t have integrity, though. If he had integrity, he wouldn’t be James O’Keefe.
The absence of objective, non-partisan truth-seekers in the media leaves a vacuum filled by the likes of O’Keefe, polarizing journalism further and transforming it into a weapon of propaganda rather than a tonic for it, as journalism is supposed to be.
Oh…that quote from Bob Woodward?
It has only been reported by the conservative news media.
[Read American Journalism’s Integrity Death Spiral, PART I: Illegal Voters and “Stonewalled” here.]