Several weeks ago, James O’Keefe, the “gotcha” entrepreneur of Project Veritas, saw his organization embarrassed, when one of his undercover operations was blown apart by their target – The Washington Post.
After attempting to trick WaPo into printing a false story about a woman’s claims that Roy Moore impregnated her at 15 years old and convinced her to have an abortion, all they really managed to do was prove that rather than being “fake news,” the Washington Post are meticulous about gathering details and assuring accuracy of their stories.
Project Veritas, that saw its high point when they busted ACORN, has scrambled for the next big sting, ever since. Often left to flame out when their methods prove inadequate, or in some cases, corrupted and deceptive.
One trick pony knows one trick.
Considering O’Keefe is pulling over $300,000 for his efforts, you can understand the desperation to remain relevant to donors.
A new report from the New York Times discusses some of those big money donors. At least one of them is sitting in the Oval Office, right now.
In fact, a few days after Donald Trump announced his candidacy, in June 2015, O’Keefe paid him a visit at Trump Tower, eager to show him his latest video project, aimed at discrediting Hillary Clinton.
From the NYT:
The footage, widely dismissed after it was released some weeks later, showed officials from Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign appearing to accept a payment for campaign swag from a Canadian woman at a Clinton campaign rally — in violation, Mr. O’Keefe contended, of election laws barring campaign contributions from foreigners.
Mr. Trump had been promoting Mr. O’Keefe’s work for years and a few weeks earlier had donated $10,000 from his foundation to Mr. O’Keefe’s group. At the meeting in his office, Mr. Trump praised the new video and pledged more money. As the campaign progressed, he pointed to other videos as evidence of his false accusations that Mrs. Clinton paid people to cause violence at Trump campaign rallies, and since his inauguration he and his team have continued to highlight Mr. O’Keefe’s work as evidence of the president’s repeated claims that the news media is peddling “fake news.”
Except O’Keefe has been proven to be a creator of “fake news,” himself, even facing legal consequences because of his sometimes shady methods.
This latest cringeworthy attempt at creating scandal out of thin air is just one example.
Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell called out O’Keefe and his organization for the WaPo debacle. O’Keefe has puffed up, publicly, defending the failed sting.
Privately, though, he seemed bothered by the backlash. He wrote a personal letter to Mr. Bozell, a longtime critic, “asking him to clarify his intentions.” Mr. Bozell said he responded “I’m all in favor of undercover journalism to expose fraud, corruption and the like,” but added, “That’s not what you did this time. You presented a fraudulent accusation and tried to get The Washington Post to fall for it.”
To be fair, Bozell’s organization is a competitor, of sorts, and tends to pull bigger donors, because donors seem to trust MRC more.
The Mercer family, which donated $25,000 to Project Veritas through a front group in 2012, subsequently soured on Mr. O’Keefe. The family concluded that Mr. O’Keefe’s periodic successes did not justify his ignominious failures, according to an associate of the family, which has emerged as a leading funder of groups backing Mr. Trump and his allies.
Still, O’Keefe is pimping his connection to the president in his new book, “American Pravda: My Fight for Truth in the Era of Fake News.”
There’s that term again, and if I’d been pinched for being fake the way O’Keefe and his organization has, I’d not use it against any other organization.
O’Keefe’s relationship with the president began in 2013, when Trump first started considering a run and decided he should probably cultivate a few relationships with conservatives, if for nothing more than appearances.
Mr. O’Keefe said this week that his group complements — and also stands to benefit from — what he called “synergies” with Mr. Trump’s efforts to undermine the media, which the president has called “the enemy of the American people.”
Just keep those checkbooks open, folks. As long as there are people willing to see the First Amendment and a free press as a bad thing, people like Trump and O’Keefe can benefit.
And isn’t that all that matters?
For instance, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, used a June press briefing to urge Americans to watch a secretly recorded Project Veritas video of a CNN employee appearing to question the network’s coverage of the investigation into Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia. “I think if it is accurate, I think it’s a disgrace to all of media, to all of journalism,” Ms. Sanders said.
I think there’s enough disgrace to go around on both sides. O’Keefe is just taking advantage of the moment.