James O’Keefe, one of the two filmmakers, said he went after ACORN because it registers minorities likely to vote against Republicans: "Politicians are getting elected single-handedly due to this organization," O’Keefe told The Washington Post. "No one was holding this organization accountable."
That statement alone should be enough to prompt curious progressive minds to dig a bit deeper into this young Rove-in-the-Making, James E. O'Keefe III.
In the court of public opinion, thrust at us via Fox News and Breitbart, these videos that O'Keefe and Hannah Giles created seem to have offered up immediate 'proof' of ACORN's corruption, on the whole.
Verdict? Guilty until proven innocent!
After all, who wants to defend someone who condones and even appears to assist in the trafficking of teenage prostitutes? O'Keefe knows this. It's been his game for some time.
From Salon's Jeff Horowitz's 2005 article, "My Right Wing Degree," we find that O'Keefe has ties to the Leadership Institute, Morton Blackwell's group that gave us Karl Rove and Jeff Gannon:
Thirty-five years ago, Blackwell dispatched a particularly promising 17-year-old pupil named Karl Rove to run a youth campaign in Illinois; Jeff Gannon, a far less impressive student, attended the Leadership Institute's Broadcast Journalism School.
The Rutgers Centurion is a conservative monthly that got off the ground this fall with institute help. Rutgers student James O'Keefe founded the magazine after coming across a conservative publication at Tufts...The institute gave O'Keefe books on starting a publication, awarded him a $500 "Balance in Media Grant," and suggested never-fail places on campus to ferret out liberal excess. "They were really excited," O'Keefe recalls.
We also learn that O'Keefe has been accused of dishonest editing in the past.
A Political Gadfly Lampoons the Left via YouTube
Three years ago, Mr. O’Keefe said, he read "Rules for Radicals" by the left-wing icon Saul Alinsky, the Bible for many community organizers, including those at Acorn, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. He absorbed in particular Rule 4: "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules."
Gregory Walker Levitsky, a friend at Rutgers, said "what disturbed James as a student was the double standard applied to conservative groups and conservative causes."
"He likes making waves," Mr. Levitsky added. "But the hidden camera simply shows the truth."
Not everyone among Mr. O’Keefe’s acquaintances agrees. Liz Farkas, a Rutgers student who called Mr. O’Keefe "a nice guy and a loyal friend," said she grew disillusioned after he asked her to help edit the script of a Planned Parenthood sting.
"It was snippets to make the Planned Parenthood nurse look bad," Ms. Farkas said. "I said: ‘It has no context. You’re just cherry-picking the nurse’s answers.’ He said, ‘Okay’ — and then he just ran it."
Asked whether the left-leaning documentaries of Michael Moore do not do the same, Ms. Farkas said: "Michael Moore goes after the rich and powerful. James isn’t doing that. He goes after low-level bureaucrats and people who are trying to help low-income people."
The son of a materials engineer and a physical therapist, Mr. O’Keefe grew up in Westwood, N.J., becoming an Eagle Scout and starring his senior year in high school in the musical "Crazy for You." As a philosophy major at Rutgers, he founded a conservative monthly, The Centurion, that featured the Lucky Charms story and other efforts to expose what he saw as liberal absurdity or hypocrisy.
After graduating from Rutgers in 2006, he spent a year working for the Leadership Institute, a group based outside Washington that trains young conservatives on college campuses. Mr. O’Keefe was "very effective and very enthusiastic," said Morton Blackwell, the institute’s founder.
But Mr. Blackwell said Mr. O’Keefe was asked to leave because officials felt his video work might violate Internal Revenue Service rules barring nonprofit groups from trying to influence legislation.
DUer mzmolly, in her investigative journal at DemocraticUnderground, questions the veracity of the edited video O'Keefe has produced:
"I've never done anything wrong in my life." "They destroyed my family." ~ a tearful Juan Vera
Juan Carlos Vera, who claims he was trying to help people he thought were in danger, was fired by ACORN based upon the contents of a heavily edited, questionable video which can be viewed here:
Ironically, the video appears to bolster Mr. Vera's version of events. There is one statement that remains on the video, in spite of all the editing, that I feel substantiates the story presented by Mr. Vera. About 4 minutes into the video, Hannah Giles states ~
"the girls are coming this weekend, that's why we're in an emergency situation, that's why we like ran in here for help, because I wanna get them before the pimp has time to bond with them and you know, herd them away."
Mr. Vera said he was trying to help people in danger. The statement by Giles above, leads me to believe he's being truthful in this assertion.
In a press conference Thursday at ACORN's National City headquarters, Vera said statements he made in the video were taken out of context.
The now-former ACORN worker said he was merely trying to help the pair because he thought they were in danger.
"I never done anything wrong in my life," Vera said. "They destroyed my family."
I believe Juan Vera. I would like to see ACORN reinstate his position until a full investigation (including a review of all unedited tape recordings involved) can be completed. ...
Of particular concern is the discrepancy between the content of the video - the manner in which it has been edited - and the transcripts of O'Keefe's video:
For those who are interested, the transcripts can be found here:
And the video, here: http://biggovernment.com/...
Note, too, upon watching the video and reading the transcript, it is apparent, as Mr. Vera himself claims, that there was an obvious language barrier, which brings to question whether he really understood what the couple was asking of him. On edit, of importance, too, is the fact that Vera did contact the National City police to report this couple.
Of interest to me is who may have helped O'Keefe and his scantily dressed sidekick, Hannah Giles. That prompted me to dig a bit on my own:
Did The Leadership Institute fund James O'Keefe in his recent ACORN project?
Posted by Emit on Sat Sep-19-09 06:58 PM
The Leadership Institute trains over 400 students in conjunction with the 9/12 Project March on Washington.
This past Friday, September 11, 2009, the Leadership Institute trained over 400 students in conjunction with the 9/12 Project March on Washington. Tea Partiers from around the country came to the JW Marriott, across from Washington, DC’s Freedom Plaza, and learned grassroots techniques that will make them more effective "online, on the ground, and on the Hill." This training was heavily promoted by FreedomWorks, the grassroots organization that launched the efforts that brought hundreds of thousands of activists to DC on September 12th to protest against the wasteful spending in Congress.
Hmmmm, and they train college students to set up groups on campuses - Blackwell himself said in a video on their wesbite that they have provisions in place for all 4-year colleges across the country via their just released CampusReform project. See the project's website here: http://www.campusreform.org/...
Hmmmm, what else do they train for and fund?
Did The Leadership Institute fund James O'Keefe in his recent ACORN project?
"O'Keefe insists that he and Giles's work was done independently and rejects liberal suggestions that the videos were bankrolled by conservative organizations. He does, however, acknowledge receiving help and advice from a conservative columnist and Web entrepreneur."
He's been with the Leadership Institute for some time. The Leadership Institute helped James O'Keefe found The Rutgers Centurion, a conservative monthly magazine, after he was fired from the Daily Targum.
It would be plausible that the recent ACORN project of his was an effort assisted and funded by the Leadership Institute. Maybe it was even the Institute's own idea. This needs to be researched.
I mean, look what was available to O'Keefe and Giles...
Via Leadership Institute's website:
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* MiniDV Camera
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* 2 15ft. XLR Audio Cables
AVID NON-LINEAR EDIT SUITE
* AVID Nitrus DX HD (March '09)
* Media Composer SD
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In an earlier Kos diary, reference is made to O'Keefe "thanking" the Leadership Institute for "a $4000 monitor to make his movies..."
First, recent history. James O'Keefe founded The Rutgers Centurion, after he was kicked off the main Rutgers student paper. As documented in a 2005 Salon Article O'Keefe got the money and technical know-how for the paper from The Leadership Institute, a right-wing organization specializing in campus astro-turf grass-roots. By the way, the Leadership Institute also funds O'Keefe's video work: as shown by this post where he thanks "LI" for a $4000 monitor to make his movies.
Looks like O'Keefe's blog has been scrubbed, so I was unable to verify that information first hand.
At a minimum, James E. O'Keefe III needs to release all unedited versions of his tapes. All of them. Only then can these ACORN workers be judged.
UPDATE: Thank you all for the recs!
And thank you wanderindiana for adding this info:
Google result evidence of scrubbed info
Feathers of Steel: July 2006
Feathers of Steel. Thursday, July 06, 2006. Dixie Special thanks to the 4000 dollar 60 inch HDTV monitor LI bought me to produce and edit movies. ...
liberabit.blogspot.com/2006_07_01_archive.html - Similar
Unfortunately it was not cached, but it holds the magic statement. Nothing on archive.org's Wayback Machine as robots.txt file blocked search engines' crawlers.
UPDATE: I would like to give a special shout out to mzmolly, Turborama, starroute, Beaverhausen and other DUers who have been asking questions and digging deep into O’Keefe and the Leadership Institute this weekend. This O'Keefe character needs to be exposed for what he is!
UPDATE: I just replaced one of my own links (To the "A Political Gadfly Lampoons the Left via YouTube" story), because when I clicked on it myself, I got a virus alert. Don't know what that was about, but I hope others do not experience the same thing.