Oh, come on. Were you surprised?
I have been following politics for 30 years. In the short term, during progressive losses, it feels like the world is going to end. Some may feel that way about the Wisconsin union busting bill passing. Others felt that way when George W. Bush was elected. I felt that way when Reagan beat Carter. And certainly that seems to be the gut feeling every time James O'Keefe releases a videotape now. But come on, this guy is nowhere near that level of Chicken Little.
The reality is that, and I keep hammering this out, James O'Keefe is a failure. He's a one hit wonder with ACORN. I will explain a little bit about how his tactics work, and then I will tell you why he's a failure.
Here's what O'Keefe does:
1. Propose a big goal: Defund Acorn.
2. Videotape someone who tries to create an unethical relationship with a progressive group or individual.
3. Fail to get the progressive to bite on most of the outlandish things discussed.
4. Edit the tape to imply a certain tone because there is no "gotcha" moment.
5. Move audio around because the person who was videotaped will probably not remember the full conversation. In fact, the less video, the easier it is to manipulate.
6. Use misdirection to imply things not ever discussed. (Example: Say O'Keefe is a pimp)
7. Release the edited tape.
8. Enjoy the shitstorm.
9. Release a second tape that is not as strong as the first.
10. Release the first tape unedited that few will watch; why bother?
11. Fail to achieve the big goal.
#6 is to me the most important part of the deception. O'Keefe dressed as a pimp for promo shots but never told ACORN that. Lila Rose did it by saying a "pimp" walked into Planned Parenthood, but he said he was a "sex worker". Is that a porn star? Stripper? You may say "what's the difference?", but that's their claim, that Planned Parenthood is protecting underage prostitution.
Here's how O'Keefe fails. He got to #1 once and he's a one-hit wonder. He's the Dexy's Midnight Runners of muck journalism. Sure, he drags people through the mud, but look at how unhinged people on the Right already are. Are you trying to tell me that in this age of everything must be cut, there are moderate Tea Party members who are against defunding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting? Keeping that in mind, after ACORN, here is where he has failed.
1. Mary Landrieu. O'Keefe's goal was to prove that Landrieu blocked phone calls from Republican constituents during the healthcare debate. What happened? He got arrested. Fail.
2. O'Keefe's goal was what? Who knows? He ended up trying to show that the Census was involved with massive government waste. Census spokespeople pointed out that he didn't complain when he worked for them before, and he quit when they tried to do a security background check on him. What's a little misdemeanor? Fail .
3. Boatgate. O'Keefe's goal was to try to lure CNN correspondent Abbie Boudreau onto a boat to humiliate her. But one of his own staff members tipped her off. Fail.
4. In August of 2010, O'Keefe released a teaser video with the goal of bringing down Maxine Waters. No video ever surfaced. Fail.
5. Last month O'Keefe cohort Lila Rose released several videos with the goal of defunding Planned Parenthood. This week, the Senate blocked the bill 56-44. Only 16 Senators short! And three Republicans crossed the aisle. It's not over, but that's a big Fail.
So here we are with another video. And who does the research to find out the video has been edited? Who? The Blaze, Glenn Beck's website. Wow. They clench their teeth the whole time, but man is it revealing! It's here.
In it, we see all of the usual steps above. The goal is to defund NPR. They videotape NPR fundraising executives and pose as two Muslim men who supposedly have terrorist ties. They try to say some outlandish things and are rebuffed. They edit the tape and, as you will see, leave a HUGE doubt as to the validity of their audio. They use misdirection by having the narrator at the beginning say that MEAC is a Muslim Brotherhood front group. But that is never said in the tape. A LOT of edits.
My point is is this. Yes, they cause short term damage to progressive organizations. I would like progressive organizations to especially be more careful about getting punked. Whenever a Republican threatens to defund you, start looking for for pimps at the door. But the only danger to us on causes that the public supports is if we roll over. Because that makes us look guilty, and we're giving James O'Keefe the benefit of the doubt. Why?
In the end, James O'Keefe only wins with the confirmation bias crowd. Two weeks ago two polls confirmed that the majority of Americans support Planned Parenthood. The administration (via Jay Carney) have just said, even after this video was released, that they have no intention of cutting funds for CPB. For the next almost two years, we hold the executive and upper legislative branches of government.
Fight the noise.Updated by esby at Sat Mar 12, 2011, 12:28:37 AM
Thanks for the recs everybody! And thanks for the one poll vote for Yes Men!
Watch their docs if you want to see some astounding hoaxes from the left.