On Wednesday, conservative activist and controversial video sting artist James O’Keefe made an appearance in Cannes during the Film Festival with a new, secretly recorded 20-minute video that he said exposes the hypocrisy of two environmentalist documentarians and two Hollywood actors.Except we already knew what the "sting" in the movie was going to be, because the people supposedly being "stung" all figured out the con as it happened. He was trying to prove that evil Hollywood environmentalists are in league (?) with Middle Eastern oil tycoons (??) to promote their message of evil non-pollution (???). Bear with me here, this goes deep into yet another one of the far right's most cherished fever dreams, something about all scientists and environmentalists being in on a conspiracy to trick us into not using up all our oil at the Fastest Possible Rate. But the setup for the supposed sting was so terrible that the primary target taped all his interactions with the O'Keefe minions, figuring them for scammers.
“We have them caught in total deception,” [filmmaker Josh Fox] says. “This phone call reveals exactly how they work. They willfully portray it in the wrong light. They edit it so it sounds like you said something that you didn’t. Luckily I had the full tape.”Please read below the fold for more on this story.
Mariel Hemmingway and Ed Begley, Jr. were drawn into a lunch meeting with the supposed Evil Oil Tycoon. The result was farcical:
Hemingway, who is also an author and environmental and fitness advocate, was immediately suspicious, noting that the man was wearing cheap pants and shoes. “That was the most ridiculous meeting I’ve ever been a part of,” she told me. “He was trying to speak broken English in his bad-actor way…I was told I’d been vetted by some prince and I was an approved celebrity that could be brought to a meeting.”So O'Keefe has essentially devolved (is that the word?) into setting up Jackass sketches against his targets and using that to prove that, well, you can set up Jackass sketches against people. Smooth move, there.
Begley, a longtime environmentalist who owns a wind turbine and relies on a bike and electric car, told me he was so wary of the gathering that “I was actually looking for something that might be a camera when they came in.” He noticed that “Mohammed” was wearing a watch with no hands or digital display that must have contained the camera. [...]
“Mohammed said a lot of crazy stuff, like ‘I have three wives,’” Tickell recalls. Hemingway and Begley say they could barely understand him.
I think—at least I hope—that we've reached the point of diminishing returns for this particular con artist. You can only pull the same move so many times before even the most gullible figure out the act; the days when O'Keefe can use his edited tapes to get people fired seem to be over, because at this point everybody knows the tapes are edited into works of fiction. He'll probably still make the occasional appearances on Fox News, though, because those people will believe anything.