No, really: Conservatives consider this serious journalism. I s--t you not.
It's not exactly a satisfying coda to the last half-decade of conservative frothing about ACORN, the group apparently responsible for everything from Ohio voting patterns to the black helicopters that circle Rep. Louie Gohmert's head each night, but at least it's something: head tape-faker James O'Keefe, he of the pimp outfit and the heavily edited video clips accusing ACORN employees of everything from tax fraud to assisting in imaginary child prostitution rings, has agreed to settle a lawsuit by one of those employees for the not-insubstantial sum of $100,000. (And yes, this propaganda-peddling Breitbart-endorsed manchild actually has $100,000 to give someone, which should knock down that little fleeting feeling you just had on how perhaps how faking crimes by your political enemies via a bit of tape butchering in the ol' editing room had finally been proven to be not such a great career path. Turns out it pays great
, because conservatives are complete suckers.)
Juan Carlos Vera was one of the ACORN employees secretly filmed by O'Keefe and an accomplice as they pretended to ask advice on how best to hide their imaginary child prostitution ring or some such. O'Keefe edited the tape to make Vera appear to be sympathetic to their queries; unbeknownst to the tapers, however, Vera afterwards had immediately contacted police to report the possible "human smuggling." ACORN employees in other offices also either contacted police or found their story to be so obviously ridiculous as to be an obvious scam. Nonetheless, O'Keefe's edited, Breitbart-peddled tape made quite the splash in the media, with O'Keefe donning a "pimp" costume to conduct interviews as to how the nasty advocates for the poor were really criminal masterminds.
That the tape was faked, however, didn't matter: Vera lost his job as a result of the tape and surrounding media hoopla. He sued O'Keefe, who Wonkette reports finally settled the case this week:
[A]s Vera’s attorney Gene Iredale suggested to us in a telephone interview, O’Keefe’s willingness to pay this exorbitant sum is, by itself, a tacit admission of guilt. The sum is $35,000 more than James received from Andrew Breitbart for his “life rights” based on the top-shelf (derp-derp) quality of the ACORN videos in the first place. So, a limited amount of justice has been served.
It is also illuminating to know that O’Keefe and his handlers have determined that it was worth at least $100,000 to avoid publicly losing a court case, and thus further tarnishing the James O’Keefe “folk hero” fundraising brand with a guilty verdict directly related to sloppy journalism. If you do the math, this diversion of funds could have paid for two Project Veritas “investigations” on the scale of their seemingly never-ending Voter ID project last year.
O'Keefe will now be free to get himself arrested in other contexts while attempting to produce tapes "proving" other faked conspiracies, which counts for exactly as much "journalism" as conservatives can stand nowadays. (The other path to riches is to just cut out the middleman and have the government of Malaysia pay you outright for writing pro-Malaysian-government editorials in the press
, but not every conservative can suck that teat at once.) If the news isn't going the way you like, screw it—someone will pay you to fake some better
Note that while the tapes were proved a mere smear in short order, way back when, that hasn't stopped actual, supposedly non-insane Republicans in our government from continuing to obsess over the supposed plots involved. The just-released House Appropriation Committee's 2013 budget bill contains a clause demanding that ACORN, which no longer exists, receive no federal money (a fairly safe bet, what with that whole "no longer exists" thing). When it comes to fake scandals, these guys are obsessed.
Frankly, I think Vera should have held out for much, much more. As Wonkette points out, O'Keefe's merry band of misfits gets their money by fundraising through Richard Viguerie's direct-mail operation; I bet O'Keefe wouldn't have much trouble raising five times that amount from gullible aficionados of fake tapes. (Did I mention what suckers these people are? I really can't emphasize the sucker part enough. Huge.)
Ah well, save some money for O'Keefe's other victims, I suppose. Form an orderly line, everybody. He'll get to you in due time.