Mar
02
2012

How Breitbart Got Away With His Lies

Andrew Breitbart (cc photo: Gage Skidmore)

Kudos to Paul Farhi of the Washington Post (3/2/12) for talking about the obvious deceptions and inaccuracies in right-wing publisher Andrew Breitbart's work: News organizations found, for example, that the ACORN videos–which purported to show a young Mr. Breitbart ally named James O'Keefe posing as a pimp seeking advice from the organization about how to establish a brothel and evade taxes–actually presented a heavily edited account of what had happened. An investigation by the California attorney general's office concluded that O'Keefe had added footage of himself and an ally dressed in flamboyant costumes that they had not worn to ACORN's […]

Feb
22
2012

Media's Weird Ethics: Pretending to Be Someone Else Is Worse Than Facilitating Global Catastrophe

There's a popular verb in headlines about climate researcher Peter Gleick's admission that he used trickery to get damning documents out of the climate change-denialist group the Heartland Institute: "Activist Says He Lied to Obtain Climate Papers" (New York Times, 2/21/12); "Scientist Peter Gleick Admits He Lied to Get Climate Documents" (L.A. Times, 2/21/12); "Climate Researcher Says He Lied to Obtain Heartland Documents" (WashingtonPost.com, 2/21/12). What you wouldn't gather from all these pants-on-fire condemnations is that there is a long and honorable tradition, from Nellie Bly feigning madness to expose mistreatment of the mentally ill to the Chicago Sun-Times' Mirage […]

Mar
17
2011

Blaming the Internet for Reporters' Gullibility

USA Today has a long piece (3/17/11) by Martha Moore about video hoax artist James O'Keefe's NPR project. The article does a pretty good job of running down the deceptions in O'Keefe's video. That's good. This, however, is not: The video follows a long, if not always honorable, tradition of muckraking exposés. It also is a stepchild to the political tactic of tracking an opponent with video until a gaffe occurs, then capitalizing on it. The sting's impact was magnified by the quick dissemination-without-scrutiny that is a hallmark of Internet-driven media. O'Keefe's video has nothing to do with muckraking. And […]

Mar
15
2011

NBC Still Doesn't Know About O'Keefe's ACORN Hoax

From Wednesday's NBC Nightly News (3/9/11), courtesy of reporter Lisa Myers: We last saw O'Keefe wearing a fur coat and playing a pimp when he managed to take down the liberal group ACORN. No we didn't. As should be well-known by now, O'Keefeused footage of himself wearing a "pimp" costume in his ACORN videos–but didn't wear the ridiculous costume during his "undercover stings." Media accounts acted as though he did, though–it took a lot of effortto get the New York Times to finally admit its errors on this count. If reportersdon't know these facts, they're bound to get fooled by […]

Mar
14
2011

NPR Unstung? Once Again, O'Keefe Shows He Shouldn't Be Trusted

After his fraudulent ACORN videos, the lesson media should havelearned aboutright-wing "citizen journalist" James O'Keefe is not to trust him. But they didn't, so here we are with his NPR stunt, which allegedly shows NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller saying mean things about the Tea Party in a meeting with phony Muslim Brotherhood-connected donors. But it appears that, once again, O'Keefe's videos are not be what they seem. The first serious questions about them were raised on (I swear!) The Blaze, a Glenn Beck-affiliated website. Over there, Scott Baker pointed to a few problems (3/10/11). In one part of the video, […]

Mar
11
2011

Stinging NPR: James O'Keefe's Big Nothing

He's back. Right-wing activist James O'Keefe's latest "work" is an undercover video that shows representatives from afake Muslim charity trying to make a $5 million donation to NPR. The "Muslim" donors-to-be meet with two NPR development officers. In the ensuing conversation, as all the media coverage explains, one of thetwo–Ron Schiller–expresses critical views ofRepublicans and the far-right Tea Party. Schiller is an NPR fundraiser, with no journalistic role there.While itwasn't wiseto share his personal views at a lunch, it is the sort of thing that people do all the time. So why does anyone care about this? Because O'Keefe–and countless […]

Feb
02
2011

Pimps and Prostitutes…Again?

In late 2009 and early 2010, right-wing activist James O'Keefe concocted a story that got widespread media coverage. The tall tale went like this: O'Keefe and his associate went to offices affiliated with the community organizing group ACORN in order to solicit advice on running a brothel and evading taxes. The problem was that nothing much like that actually happened. As FAIR summarized (Action Alert, 3/11/10): O'Keefe never dressed as a pimp during his visits to ACORN offices, seems to never actually represent himself as a "pimp," and the advice he solicits is usually about how to file income taxes […]

Sep
29
2010

James O'Keefe, Now Even Creepier

You may remember James O'Keefe as the video hoaxter who fooled media into thinking ACORN gave tax advice to a man wearing a pimp costume (FAIR Action Alert, 3/11/10). Or as the miscreant whose attempts to interfere with Sen. Mary Landrieu's office phones got him arrested (Extra!, 4/10). Now O'Keefe has a new claim to fame as the guy who tried to turn sexual harassment into reality TV. CNN is reporting today (9/29/10) that one of its reporters, Abbie Boudreau, was the target of a bizarre, misogynistic scheme by O'Keefe's video production team–"Project Veritas"–to lure her on to a boat […]

Jun
02
2010

Stephanopoulos Hypes ACORN Hoaxers

ABC's Good Morning America got an "exclusive" with ACORN video hoaxters James O'Keefe and Andrew Breitbart on June 1. Here's how host George Stephanopoulos set up the segment: James O'Keefe became a media sensation after he and a friend posed as a pimp and prostitute and secretly recoded ACORN workers giving them advice on how to cheat on their taxes. As FAIR noted in an action alert to the New York Times, O'Keefe didn't "pose" as a pimp–he didn't wear his absurd "pimp" get-up when he went in to ACORN offices, and in almost every case he presented himself as […]

Jan
27
2010

Maybe Anti-ACORN 'Pimp' Should Have Listened to His Friends

An interesting catch from Think Progress (1/26/10)–from an interview conducted last year by Fox News' Chris Wallace (9/27/09) with pretend pimp James O'Keefe: WALLACE: O'Keefe says he wants to do more undercover films, and he has some targets in mind. He says his friends always tell him the next sting will never work. O'KEEFE: I disagree with them. I think that I'll come up with a new strategy and I'll get them to say yes. This was, of course, before O'Keefe and three of his friends were arrested while apparently trying to wiretap the phones of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu. […]