The Project Veritas Ethics Train Wreck (So Far)…[Updated!]

Train-Wreck air

This was certainly inevitable. Project Veritas is an unethical journalism organization with a one-way bias (that’s to the Right, in case you have been studying loftier matters), meaning that it is not interested in truth or informing the public, but only the truth (maybe) that benefits a particular political agenda. But unethical people and organizations where the ends justify the means is a motto provoke unethical responses in the other direction—it is the ethics version of Newton’s Third Law—and that is where ethics train wrecks come from.

The ends of Project Veritas’s various unethical means have been revealing and valuable in many cases. A corrupt community organizing group, ACORN, was exposed, as it deserved to be. Planned Parenthood’s ghoulish lack of respect for human life was also exposed, with fewer consequences. It wasn’t really necessary for Corporation for Public Broadcasting executives to be gulled into saying for posterity that the taxpayer-funded company is progressive and biased because that should be screamingly obvious to anyone who isn’t biased themselves. But progressives (and those brainwashed by the progressive media) continue to gaslight critics with the Jumbo-esque “Bias? What bias?” defense of the indefensible, so this Project Veritas hit was satisfying, if not ethical.

Now, as we knew it would, those embarrassed or exposed by Project Veritas are striking back. The focus is President Biden’s troubled daughter Ashley’s diary, in which, among other things, she suggests that her father showered with her when she was a child. The diary found its way into the clutches of Project Veritas before the election, though it did not publish any of it. (Its explanation for this choice, that O’Keefe felt doing so would be seen as a “cheap shot,” defies belief coming from the King of Cheap Shots, but never mind.) Apparently, the New York Times’ investigation found, Ashley left her diary behind when she moved out of the home of a friend, and it was found by a woman named Aimee Harris, who moved in after Ashley left. {The Times feels it necessary to detail Harris’s personal and financial problems, which is completely irrelevant to the diary. That’s a real cheap shot. Her conduct is what matters in the report, not her problems.)

Harris, whom the Times makes sure we know “was a fan of Mr. Trump,” meaning she was by definition evil, learned that Ashley had stayed there previously and had left some things behind. Harris apparently found the diary.

Subsequent debates center on whether the diary was lost or abandoned. I don’t care about the legal haggling: Harris was ethically obligated to contact Ms. Biden and ask what she wanted done with it. The options for responses were a) “Sent it back to me”; b) “Destroy it,”and c) “I don’t care what you do with it.” Only c) would have entitled Harris to read Biden’s private entrees, or to give it to anyone but Biden.

Instread, Harris sent it to Project Veritas, which apparently paid for it, though who it paid is still unknown. She and whoever else was involved in the transaction thus launched the train wreck with Ethics Breach #1. O’Keefe says that his organization was sure that the diary was not stolen. It doesn’t matter ethically whether it was technically stolen or not: again, the group’s ethical obligation was still to ask Ashley’s permission to keep it, pass it along or publish it, none of which Project Veritas did. Ethics Breach #2.

Do pause here, however, and consider how often the respectable news media publishes illegal leaks, stolen documents and other information that fall into their hands. If one of Trump’s daughters had left around a diary that stated that he had showered with them when they were children and the Times, or Post, or CNN had the chance to publish it and “save democracy,” is there any doubt that they would have while swearing that “the people have a right to know”? Recall that Dan Rather still insists that it was not a “cheap shot” to use a forged document as his smoking gun proof that George W, Bush went AWOL while he was a member of the military, and that many of the same Democratic operatives who pose as journalists treat Rather as a broadcast journalism legend.

On Oct. 16, 2020, Project Veritas wrote to Candidate Biden and his campaign that it had obtained the diary (which PV disingenuously described as “abandoned”) and asked to question Biden on camera about the material it contained that referred specifically to him. “Should we not hear from you by Tuesday, October 20, 2020, we will have no choice but to act unilaterally and reserve the right to disclose that you refused our offer to provide answers to the questions raised by your daughter,” Project Veritas’ chief legal officer, Jered T. Ede, wrote.

There would be nothing unethical about this, if the diary really had been abandoned.

Biden’s lawyers then accused Project Veritas of engaging in an “extortionate effort to secure an interview” with in the campaign’s closing days, and told Mr. Ede that Project Veritas should treat it as stolen property. The lawyers were correct about that.

A conservative website, National File, published excerpts from the diary four days later. and the full diary two days after that. The mainstream news media ignored it, just as they chose to ignore Hunter Biden’s laptop. Ethics Breach #3. By this point, the diary was public, stolen or not, and by past standards used by journalist high and low, “fit to print.” Apparently the National File received a copy of the diary from someone at Project Veritas, who leaked it. Doing so was unethical: Ethics Breach #4. (Technically this was #3 and the media burying the story was #4, but who cares?)

Biden’s lawyers alerted prosecutors at the United States Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, which began an investigation and is now overseeing the case. FBI agents seized phones and electronic devices from people connected to the organization including O’Keefe. Ethics Breach #5! Even the now-thoroughly partisan ACLU found this crossed the line, writing in part, “the precedent set in this case could have serious consequences for press freedom. Unless the government had good reason to believe that Project Veritas employees were directly involved in the criminal theft of the diary, it should not have subjected them to invasive searches and seizures.” Of course, being biased and having forfeited all claim to integrity, the ACLU felt it necessary to denigrate PV, beginning its analysis by stating, “Project Veritas has engaged in disgraceful deceptions, and reasonable observers might not consider their activities to be journalism at all.” Ethics Breach #6, the smear tactic called “poisoning the well.” The ACLU’s job, or what it one considered its job, is to protect the rights of all Americans, savory or otherwise, from government abuses. Now it feel it must justify siding with “the bad guys” and make sure it slaps at them in the process to keep Team Woke happy. Yecchh.

Ethics Breach #7 is provisional: there is evidence that after the FBI took O’Keefe’s phone and others and searched it, some of the findings were leaked to the New York Times. Project Veritas, which already was suing the Times on its handling of other leaked documents, persuaded a federal judge to order the Department of Justice to stop extracting data from the phones and granted the request from O’Keefe’s legal team for an independent “special master” to be appointed to oversee the review of his devices. O’Keefe’s attorney Harmeet Dhillon told Fox News,

“We went to the court and asked the court to order a special master to review this information and not let the Southern District of New York prosecutors and the FBI look at it without somebody separating out this information,” Dhillon told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. “The government would not agree to do that voluntarily but we went to court and today a federal judge did order the government to stop looking at these phones. So ultimately, we’re going to get some answers as to what was reviewed and what they did with it….The DOJ has specific regulations about this. There’s also a federal statute called the Privacy Protection Act that protects journalists and their information from exactly this type of thuggish behavior that the DOJ has done in this case. And they have blown federal law, they blown the Constitution, they blown due process and civil rights and now they’re so easily communicating in some level for sure with the New York Times…”

O’Keefe adds,

“Project Veritas gave the diary to law enforcement to ensure it could be returned to its rightful owner. We never published it. Now, Ms. Biden’s father’s Department of Justice, specifically the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, appears to be investigating the situation, claiming the diary was stolen. We don’t know if it was but it begs the question: In what world is the alleged theft of a diary investigated by the President’s FBI and his Department of Justice? A diary?”

Well, that’s sort of accurate, but O’Keefe has flagged ab Ethics Breach #7 in there somewhere. It sure looks like a political use of law enforcement. How does even the theft of Ashley’s rate this kind of law enforcement activity?

But wait! There’s more!

Justice Charles D. Wood of State Supreme Court in Westchester County issued an order on November 18 requiring the The Times to cease further efforts to solicit or acquire attorney-client privileged material, including information related to Ashley’s diary, and also blocked the Times from publishing documents prepared by lawyers for the conservative group that the paper had acquired. The Times’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, has described the initial ruling as “unconstitutional” and “a dangerous precedent” for silencing the work of reporters.

Ethics Breach #9? The Times thinks so.

Well, if that’s #8, this is #10: the mainstream news media still hasn’t reported the part of the diary that Joe and the Democrats want to suppress, even though it’s already been published once.

_________________________
Sources: Fox News, New York Times1, 2: ACLU, Politico, Washington Post

4 thoughts on “The Project Veritas Ethics Train Wreck (So Far)…[Updated!]

  1. Maybe if/when the media is finally held accountable for their years of unconscionable lies, instead of going to prison, they will simply never be allowed to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, or whatever method they’re using to make their nefarious, or ignorant, or biased, or combination of all things unethical & incompetent heard/read/seen by the public) again.

    And if they do, well, off to the federal pen (no pun intended) they go!

  2. Well, that’s just depressing. I don’t think I can argue with it, but….then again, I guess that is one of the features of an Ethics Train Wreck. It fouls everything it impacts.

  3. “I guarantee that there is no political influence in any investigation conducted by the Justice Department, or the FBI, not just in this case, but in any case.” Barack Obama, 2016 re Hillary’s illegal server & emails. Who can forget when they tossed her house and Indicted her, just like they did with Trump’s supporters and minor enlisted personnel?

    Good thing the FBI wasn’t involved in illegally obtaining FISA warrants to facilitate the dems’ (Hillary again) Trump/Russia fraud. That would have been bad.

    It was good to see the FBI was as concerned about Hunter Biden’s wife stealing his pistol (and tossing it near a school) as they were about about this diary. Glad they don’t play favorites. Nice to know that the Secret Service made an effort to disappear secure Hunter’s fraudulent 4473 firearms purchase form and the ATF is following up on that crime. Pretty sure we’ll soon be hearing more about how that case is developing.

    Fair is fair; we can all rest easy with Merrick Garland now on the job to ensure that American Justice will continue to remain equitable and above all political influence. Yay.

    • Hilarious. Thanks. Yes, Ron Klain siccing the FBI on the media is the scariest aspect of this mess. Garland is making Clapper and Comey and Brennan and their ilk look like paragons of integrity. I’m beginning to think Garland is Mr. Vindictive. It’s as if he’s borrowed a movie script written by the left satirizing what Robert Bork would have done had he been appointed Attorney General.

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