Tag Archives: James O’Keefe

Wait, Wait, Don’t Film Me

James O’Keefe:

Project Veritas’ latest investigation focuses on the publically-funded media organization, National Public Radio.  PV investigative reporters, Shaughn Adeleye and Simon Templar posed as members of the Muslim Action Education Center, a non-existent group with a goal to “spread the acceptance of Sharia across the world.”

Matthew Boyle at the Daily Caller:

A man who appears to be a National Public Radio senior executive, Ron Schiller, has been captured on camera savaging conservatives and the Tea Party movement.

“The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people’s personal lives and very fundamental Christian – I wouldn’t even call it Christian. It’s this weird evangelical kind of move,” declared Schiller, the head of NPR’s nonprofit foundation, who last week announced his departure for the Aspen Institute.

In a new video released Tuesday morning by conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe, Schiller and Betsy Liley, NPR’s director of institutional giving, are seen meeting with two men who, unbeknownst to the NPR executives, are posing as members of a Muslim Brotherhood front group. The men, who identified themselves as Ibrahim Kasaam and Amir Malik from the fictitious Muslim Education Action Center (MEAC) Trust, met with Schiller and Liley at Café Milano, a well-known Georgetown restaurant, and explained their desire to give up to $5 million to NPR because, “the Zionist coverage is quite substantial elsewhere.”

On the tapes, Schiller wastes little time before attacking conservatives. The Republican Party, Schiller says, has been “hijacked by this group.” The man posing as Malik finishes the sentence by adding, “the radical, racist, Islamaphobic, Tea Party people.” Schiller agrees and intensifies the criticism, saying that the Tea Party people aren’t “just Islamaphobic, but really xenophobic, I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it’s scary. They’re seriously racist, racist people.”

John Hinderaker at Powerline:

Check out this stunning video, shot undercover by two associates of James O’Keefe. The two posed as representatives of an organization founded by the Muslim Brotherhood that is trying “to spread acceptance of Sharia across the world.” That, plus their expressed interest in making a $5 million donation to NPR, got them a meeting at a Georgetown restaurant with Ron Schiller, the outgoing head of NPR’s nonprofit foundation, and Betsy Liley, NPR’s director of institutional giving.

Hugh Hewitt:

I asked my booking producer to put in a request for NPR’s Vivian Schiller to appear on today’s program.  Her staff first demanded to know what we wanted to talk about and then, after being told it was her speech yesterday, tunred us down and cited Schiller’s travel schedule.

Of course NPR executives don’t want to face other than their Beltway journalist pals asking softball questions. And that was before this tape surfaced.  Incredible. (The subject of the undercover film is Ronald J. Schiller, whom the Aspen Institute just announced as a big new hire.)

If the GOP House leadership leaves one dime in the CPB’s account, it will be to their shame and it will not be forgotten by the base anymore than a failure to defund Planned parenthood will be forgiven.  The majority of Americans are fed up with feeding the hard left interest groups in this country, no matter how nice their bump music or how self-satisfied and insular their hard-left leadership.

Ann Althouse:

The pranksters were trying to trap Schiller into sounding anti-Jewish or anti-Israel, and I would defend Schiller for what he said in response to that prodding. What does look really bad, though, is his virulent hostility toward social conservatives and his twisted image of the people in the Tea Party movement. What’s completely predictable — we’re familiar with NPR — is the preening self-love of the liberal who’s so sure he and his people are the smart ones. Not smart enough not to get pranked, though.

Remember when Scott Walker got pranked the other day by a phone call purporting to be from David Koch? His opponents couldn’t get enough of calling him stupid for that, and even though he said nothing inconsistent with his public talking points and seemed the same as he is in public, they fine-tooth-combed his remarks to find little things they could blow up and portray as evil. Forget empathy and fairness — use whatever you find as brutally as you can.

Now here’s this choice new material from Schiller, giving conservatives the chance to punch back twice as hard (to use the old Obama WH motto).

Ed Morrissey:

Maybe I’m getting inured to this kind of thing, but for me the big screaming headline from the latest James O’Keefe undercover video isn’t that high-ranking NPR executive Ron Schiller bashes conservatives, Republicans, and the Tea Party as “white, gun-toting … xenophobic … seriously racist people.” The big news for me comes when Schiller, who thinks he’s meeting with representatives from the fictitious Muslim Education Action Center (MEAC) to discuss a $5 million donation to NPR to help MEAC “spread Sharia worldwide,” that NPR would do better without federal funding.  Just before this, Schiller tells the two undercover reporters that federal funding only accounts for 10% of their direct funding, but a sudden end to subsidies for public broadcasting would close a number of their stations, which gives a little more clearer explanation of their financial dependence on taxpayers.

Nick Gillespie at Reason:

I agree with HotAir’s Ed Morrissey that the most-interesting takeaway from the latest vid from James O’Keefe (he of ACORN fame) is that Ron Schiller of the NPR Foundation suggests that the media operation would be better off without taxpayer subsidies. I suspect many if not most Reason.com readers will disagree with much of what Schiller and his colleague say, but they don’t come off so bad.

Coincidentally, NPR just put out this: Davis Rehm, NPR’s senior vice president of marketing, communications and external relations, has released this statement: “Mr. Schiller announced last week that he is leaving NPR for another job.”

Too bad the Muslim Education Action Center Trust is a fake organization — Schiller would have made a perfect spokesman for them.

Unbiased bonus from the same video: Climate change deniers compared to birthers and flat earthers.

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The O’Keefe Tapes: Part II

James O’Keefe at Big Government:

On April 27, 2010, I got a job with the United States Census Bureau in New Jersey. With a hidden camera, I caught four Census supervisors encouraging enumerators to falsify information on their time sheets. Over the course of two days of training, I was paid for four hours of work I never did. I was told to take a 70 minute lunch break, was given an hour of travel time to drive 10 minutes, and was told to leave work at 3:30pm. I resigned prior to doing any data collection but confronted Census supervisors who assured me, “no one is going to be auditing that that level,” and “nobody is going to be questioning it except for you.” Another Census supervisor only said he’d adjust my pay after I gave him a letter recanting my hours.

As to whether this is an “isolated incident” or if there are more Census videos showing more waste, fraud, and corruption, we’ll let you take a wild guess.

Andrew Breitbart at Big Journalism:

Today James O’Keefe and I had the privilege to go on ABC News’ Good Morning America to launch O’Keefe’s new set of undercover videos – the Census. While most of the feedback email of the contentious segment is running negative against George Stephanopoulos for emphasizing long debunked and retracted smears and for using the word “criminal” throughout the piece, what is missing is an acknowledgment of how courageous Stephanopoulos was to put O’Keefe and me on the air in the first place.

ABC NEWS and Stephanopoulos are not immune from partisan propaganda campaigns to ignore points of view that run counter to their already center-left mainstream media line. In fact, Stephanopoulos himself was the person who delayed the mainstream media’s report on the Clinton/Lewinsky story by stopping Bill Kristol in his tracks on ABC News’ This Week in January, 1998. He was also the political operative who internally attacked ABC News brass for booking former White House FBI agent and New York Times bestseller, Gary Aldrich. Twice Stephanopoulos tried to use his political skills to kill a story.

Today was different.

With foreknowledge of the Stephanopoulos’s treachery against his political ilk, Media Matters issued the following warning hours before our 7:30am appearance on Tuesday: “Memo to media: Do not trust Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe.” Because, by having us on, Stephanopoulos was defying his former key ally and Media Matters founder John Podesta’s wishes. Certainly, Stephanopoulos took the tack of the good partisan during the interview. But he allowed O’Keefe and me to refute his partisan talking points.

What conservatives want is a chance to tell their stories, not to ensure that those stories are always presented without criticism or skepticism. And by playing the skeptic and the critic, Stephanopoulos was allowed to do what he couldn’t do when he ran interference for his former boss, Bill Clinton: He launched the Census story.

Paul Chesser at The American Spectator:

After his sentencing in the Mary Landrieu phone caper case limited his travel to New Jersey, Big Government undercover video reporter James O’Keefe decided to see what the Census Bureau is up to in his home state. It looks like at least one region is looking the other way as employees falsify their time sheets.

Greg Pollowitz at National Review:

Get the popcorn, this is going to be good.

Brian Darling at Redstate:

Earlier today, James O’Keefe revealed his latest work of investigative journalism.  O’Keefe produced a whistle blowing video and blog post showing alleged government waste at the U.S. Census in New Jersey.  What do the members of Red State Nation think about this latest act of involuntary government transparency on the part of James O’Keefe?  I say three cheers to O’Keefe for exposing how my tax dollars are wasted by the federal government.

Allah Pundit:

I’m intrigued to see the viewer response to this one, not because it’s shocking but because it really isn’t: It could be that we’re so cynically inured to the inevitability of waste in government that census workers getting paid for work they didn’t do will be a big ol’ yawn.

There’s also a question, presumably to be resolved in the next vids in the series, of whether census supervisors were cutting them some slack on their time cards simply because they were trainees, with more rigorous auditing to come once they became full-fledged employees.

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Oh Jimmy Mack, When Are You Coming Back?

Chris Good at The Atlantic:

James O’Keefe, the conservative filmmaker who posed as a pimp in video stings at ACORN field offices, has been arrested by the FBI at Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) office in downtown New Orleans, in connection to what appears to be an attempt to wiretap the offiice, NOLA.com reports:

FBI Special Agent Steven Rayes alleges that O’Keefe aided and abetted two others, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, who dressed up as employees of a telephone company and attempted to interfere with the office’s telephone system.

A fourth person, Stan Dai, was accused of aiding and abetting Basel and Flanagan. All four were charged with entering fedral property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony.

O’Keefe gained notoriety for his secretly filmed ACORN videos, which caused a firestorm of media intrigue surrounding ACORN after O’Keefe posted them on the Andrew-Brietbart-owned blog Big Government last year.

Michelle Malkin:

The Times-Picayune has not posted the full FBI affidavit, but the details they have are damning. This is neither a time to joke nor a time to recklessly accuse Democrats/liberals of setting this up — nor a time to whine about media coverage double standards. Deal with what’s on the table

Patterico:

UPDATE x3: OK, final word. I’m sticking out my neck and declaring that I think this will prove to be a big nothing.

I just don’t believe this guy was wiretapping phones or trying to do so. I really don’t.

It might not even have been an attempt to show how easy it would be to bug phones. Maybe there is another explanation. But I don’t think he was acting in a criminal fashion. I don’t.

You can quote me.

Rick Moran:

But this guy is no journalist – conservative or otherwise. He’s a glory hound. And, if these charges pan out, prove the adage that you’re only as good as your next spectacular. The nature of modern celebrity demanded that O’Keefe try and top his ACORN show. Taping the private conversations of Landrieu and spilling them out all over YouTube would have kept him on top of the heap.

Fortunately, the FBI had other ideas and now O’Keefe faces the prospect of doing hard hitting exposes about prison food.

What a dope.

Andrew Breitbart at Big Government:

Wait until the facts are in.

Mainstream Media, ACORN, Media Matters (all the supposed defenders of due process and journalistic ethics) are jumping to conclusions over the arrest today of James O’Keefe, with the clear intention to smear and, if possible, convict O’Keefe and his alleged co-conspirators in the court of public opinion in order to taint the “jury of their peers.”

The ACORN story was a huge black eye for the organized left and their allies and cohorts in the mainstream media. So they are relishing every minute of this breaking story, making it their top story – while they ignored the initial ACORN story until they no longer could.

MSNBC and other “news organizations” are even billing this developing story as “Watergate”. What do  Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow know? And when did they know it?

I’m sure they would like to believe O’Keefe is stupid enough to try to “wiretap” a sitting U.S. senator in broad daylight during office hours, while recording the entire sequence of events on his cell phone camera. And they’d like you to believe it, too.

But there is absolutely no allegation in the criminal complaint that “wiretapping” or “bugging” is any part of this case, just the charge that O’Keefe and the others entered Sen. Landrieu’s office in New Orleans “for the purpose of interfering with the office’s telephone system.”

Atrios

Tristero:

Heh. I can only hope the judge does a John Sirica, ie throws the book at him, and finds out exactly who’s been putting him up to this shit.

David Weigel at The Washington Independent:

O’Keefe had become a conservative media star since the ACORN sting. I just talked to Lisa De Pasquale, director of CPAC, who said that O’Keefe, along with co-stinger Hannah Giles and Andrew Breitbart, is (or was) under consideration for the annual conservative conference’s coveted Reagan Award.

Mike Flynn, the editor of Big Government–where the ACORN videos originally appeared–told me that the conservative news site had no knowledge of what O’Keefe was up to.

“We had absolutely no clue what he was up to,” said Flynn, “and now you see why! It’s a complete surprise to us. We’ll just see what happens.”

John Cook at Gawker:

And, of course, Fox News, which was one of the outlets that pushed hardest to turn O’Keefe into a folk hero, is taking the position that this Landrieu office incident is a story “that probably needs a lot of context and a lot of looking into” before anyone jumps to conclusions. Unlike, say, videos of a white boy in garish pimp clothes which are prima facie evidence of … something.

Lindsay Beyerstein:

Stan Dai is one of the four men arrested with a failed attempt to bug Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office.

I did some research. Ten bucks says this is the little (would-be) bugger:

STAN DAI, Lisle, Ill., attends The George Washington University majoring in Political Science. He is editor-in-chief of The GW Patriot, an alternative conservative student newspaper, a Club 100 Activist of Young America’s Foundation, and an Undergraduate Fellow on Terrorism of the Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies. He is co-founder of GW’s Students Defending Democracy, a volunteer on several political campaigns, and active in the GW College Republicans and GW Colonials for Life. He was a 2003 Honorable Mention in the U.S. Institute of Peace Essay Contest.

One Stan Dai was listed as the Assistant Director of the The Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence (ICCAE) at Trinity (Washington) University. The ICCAE says it prepares young people for careers in intelligence.

(Original reporting, please credit Lindsay Beyerstein.)

Pareene at Gawker:

And Breitbart playing dumb about the activities of his newest pet conservative media darling strains credulity. First of all, O’Keefe was Tweeting that he was up to something. If O’Keefe was truly a free agent, wandering the nation taking down liberals on his own time and selling the videos to the highest bidder, then sure, Breitbart didn’t know. But O’Keefe’s on the BigGovernment payroll.

Read this interview Breitbart did with Hugh Hewitt yesterday. Breitbart says the last time he talked to O’Keefe was “weeks” ago (but less than a month ago). Hewitt asks how much Breitbart paid O’Keefe for the ACORN video:

HH: And are you free to tell me how much you pay him?
AB: I’ll…perhaps at another date, but he’s paid a fair salary.
HH: Is he…so he is an employee?
AB: I’m not sure that’s technically the thing, but yes, he’s paid for his life rights. And he’s, you know, he’s still…we reserve the right to say yes or no to any of the stories that he puts up on our site as we do to any other contributor who comes to the site.
HH: Will it be a mischaracterization to say he was working for you when he went about this?
AB: Well, I mean, no. He was not involved in anything that was related to Big Government, or Breitbart.com.
HH: And I think that’s the key thing. Lots of people work for lots of corporations, and do dumb and sometimes illegal things that are not within the scope of their employment. And this was not within the scope of his employment.
AB: Yes, absolutely. That is absolutely the case.

So… Andrew’s websites pay O’Keefe a salary and have right of first refusal for the work he produces as an “independent filmmaker.” But the work he did when he attempted to film himself and his friends sneaking into the office of a US Senator to tamper with her phones does not count as work done for Andrew’s sites. (I guess because it wasn’t finished?) Lots of people do illegal things “that are not within the scope of their employment,” sure, but O’Keefe’s job is actually sneaking into places under false pretenses and filming it without permission, for Andrew’s websites.

UPDATE: Chris Good

Allah Pundit

Jonathan Turley

UPDATE #2: James O’Keefe’s statement on Big Government

Ed Morrissey

Chris Good at The Atlantic

David Weigel at Washington Independent

UPDATE #3: Ben Stein at The American Spectator

Patterico

David Weigel at Washington Independent

UPDATE #4: Chris Good again, on the prosecutor’s withdrawal

More Patterico

UPDATE #5: Max Blumenthal at Salon

Larry O’Connor at Big Journalism

David Weigel at Washington Independent

UPDATE #6: David Weigel at Washington Independent

Max Blumenthal

Frank Ross at Big Journalism

Lachlan Markay at Newsbusters

UPDATE #7: Charles Johnson and Conn Carroll debate Salon/O’Keefe at Bloggingheads

UPDATE #8: Justin Elliott at TPM

UPDATE #9: More Elliott at TPM

David Frum at FrumForum

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Create Chaos For Glory, Then Add Nuts

James O’Keefe at Big Government:

The scenario we posed the ACORN Housing employees in Baltimore is due to the application of similar power tactics. We gave ACORN a taste of its own medicine.  ACORN was alleged to be thug-like, criminal, and nefarious.  This criminal behavior was evidenced by a video of Baltimore ACORN community organizers breaking the locks on foreclosed homes.  Instead of railing against their radicalism, it is best to bring out this type of radicalism. Hannah Giles and I took advantage of ACORN’s regard for thug criminality by posing the most ridiculous criminal scenario we could think of and seeing if they would comply–which they did without hesitation.

Additionally, instead of focusing on foreclosure itself, which has become seemingly as politicized as abortion, we focused on crimes more difficult for the left to defend: trafficking of young helpless girls and tax evasion. The first group represents the severely disadvantaged, the second a threat to the distribution of wealth.

While manipulation or entrapment occurs when people are encouraged to do things they otherwise wouldn’t, the pre-set trap is their own.  These tactics allow the viewer to see ACORN’s soul; their playing field and their morality, out in the open.  Their system is based on conflict and change for its own sake.  This system is based on totalitarian principles and class war techniques. These people understand pressure, power and self-interest.  When the Baltimore employees saw we were shady dealers, their instincts clicked in, as we were prime recruits.

ACORN has ascended.  They elect our politicians and receive billions in tax money. Their world is a revolutionary, socialistic, atheistic world, where all means are justifiable.  And they create chaos, again, for it’s own sake.  It is time for us to be studying and applying their tactics, many of which are ideologically neutral.  It is time, as Hannah said as we walked out of the ACORN facility, for conservative activists to “create chaos for glory.”

Michelle Malkin

Moe Lane at Redstate:

What actually happens is that they get a crash course in Tax Fraud and How To Set Up A Brothel 101: links are to videos, in case the above doesn’t load (their servers must be getting hammered, for some reason).  Transcript here: you will find that your jaw steadily drops more and more as this goes on.  They didn’t blink at the prostitute bit (just reclassified it as entertainer, and walked through useful deductions): they didn’t blink at the underaged El Salvadoran prostitutes thing (just worked out how many could be claimed as dependents without things getting flagged); and they didn’t blink on the request for advice on avoiding a former pimp (they just gave some, which didn’t include “Call the cops” and “Stop being a prostitute”).

After a certain point, you will ask yourself if this can possibly be for real.  Breitbart did, himself.  This, in fact, pushes the very limit of the Too Good to Be True envelope – but the videos are simply too good to miss.  Plus, ACORN’s screams of outrage are diagnostic: they’re essentially claiming that when asked, other offices didn’t give out tax advice on running illegal underage brothels.

Ed Morrissey:

How do these ACORN community organizers express their concern for the downtrodden Salvadorean teens impressed into prostitution by this would-be madam and prospective politician? “They don’t even exist.” “Call them ‘exchange students’.” “Train them to keep their mouths shut.” Neither of the two bat an eyelash at human trafficking while advising them to evade taxes and prosecution for their crimes.

Despicable.

Meredith Jessup at Townhall

UPDATE: Conor Friedersdorf at The American Scene

UPDATE #2: On the NY Acorn, Ed Morrissey

Megan McArdle

Michelle Malkin

UPDATE #3: Jon Stewart

Scott Johnson at Powerline

Allah Pundit

John McCormack at TWS

UPDATE #4: Michelle Malkin

Ed Morrissey

On the other side, Glenn Greenwald

UPDATE #5: Zach Roth at TPM

Adam Serwer at Tapped

UPDATE #6: Jake Sherman at Politico

UPDATE #7: Talking Points Memo

UPDATE #8: Patterico

Founding Bloggers

UPDATE #9: Jerry Brown, the Attorney General of California

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