The only significant information in a recent Drudge-linked story about James O’Keefe is that he receives death threats, including one involving gasoline, plastic tubes, and one of his orifices. Naturally, the author of this hit piece on O’Keefe, Mike Spies, exhibits no curiosity as to the status of the federal investigation about the “gass” bomb threat. Spies probably knows by now that when it comes to federal criminal investigations involving James O’Keefe, it’s a one-way street.
The rest of Spies’ story, published at the previously unheard of Vocativ.com, is a textbook example of how conservative figures are victimized by snarky web bloggers who know how to make the most sane conservative figures look like nuts. No wonder folks like Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh know better than to let them in.
The story uses selective anecdotes to paint O’Keefe as a self-absorbed quasi-paranoid fringe nut. Examples of courtesy, as when O’Keefe offered a free signed copy of his book to the author, are the acts of a narcissist.
A copy of his book rests on the table. Unprompted, he takes a pen and autographs the inside cover. As he hands it over, a slightly embarrassed smile spread across his face. I check the inscription. “Veritas!” it reads, the Latin term for truth.
So much for being a thoughtful host.
But Spies often has no sense of proportion or propriety. O’Keefe tells me he first met the blogger at an event at the Four Seasons Hotel. General David Petraeus and Ambassador John Bolton were speaking to the Gatestone Institute. Spies showed up to the event in a black t-shirt, filthy jeans and hipster shoes — at the Four Seasons. He had to talk his way past the doorman because of his attire. Classy guy.
Spies’ preference for dark things extended to the photography sessions at O’Keefe’s. Spies asked O’Keefe to turn out the lights. Spies wanted morose lighting that matched his eventual headline – “what’s eating James O’Keefe?” The story would paint O’Keefe as a troubled, self-absorbed loner, and Spies wanted photos to match. Photos included stand-alone captions like “The Machine is out to destroy me.”
Selectively edited photography wasn’t Spies’ only hit device. He even went after James’ fans – most of whom “appear to be over the age of 50” at one event. Spies took issue with James doing what every single television news program has done for decades, save for the internet part:
The raw footage is edited for dramatic effect and then released on the Internet, set to explode like a firecracker.
One of the complaints the left reflexively uses against O’Keefe is that he “selectively edits” his stories. That’s a lie, oft repeated. His Project Veritas meticulously releases the full unedited recordings of any sting.
Instead, it was Spies who selectively edited his interviews with O’Keefe, an ironic shortcoming certain to receive almost zero attention.
For example, when Spies mentioned James’ legal fights with disgraced former United States Attorney Jim Letten, he made no mention of the prosecutorial corruption of Letten and his office in a high-profile prosecution of New Orleans police officers. He didn’t mention O’Keefe’s confrontation with the disgraced Letten after the controversy erupted. Instead, Spies only published O’Keefe’s quip – about his plans to go skiing in Tahoe the day he was arrested.
Telling the whole story about the rank corruption inside the New Orleans office of the DOJ wouldn’t have served the purpose of the story.
Spies tries to paint O’Keefe as a man whose time has passed, who doesn’t have it anymore. He’s the Tom Cruise of journalism. Yet when pressed about this in the interviews, O’Keefe rattled off a long list of recent stings that successfully drove the narrative.
O’Keefe talked about the resignation of Congressman Jim Moran’s son after video showed him colluding with voter fraudsters in the 2012 presidential election. O’Keefe’s stings got inside the Obama presidential campaign and exposed more efforts to commit voter fraud there. Had a Republican campaign engaged in the same conduct, it would have led the network news for days. O’Keefe’s stings led to the retirement of the president of the Wisconsin Senate this year. He had the #2 selling book worldwide. This year he exposed how Wisconsin Representative James Sensenbrenner doesn’t even know what is in his own voting rights bill to give Eric Holder more power over state elections. And O’Keefe’s videos appear regularly as part of congressional hearings.
None of this made the hit piece.
To Mike Spies, these are called inconvenient truths, and therefore never appeared in his story, a story which explicitly opined that James had lost his mojo.
But the real reason O’Keefe is hated so much by big government types, and why Spies naturally gravitated toward a hit piece, is because O’Keefe understands the mechanics of the left. Unlike so many others who talk and talk some more, O’Keefe takes action. He exposes the pressure points on the left, either when they co-opt a Republican congressman into doing Eric Holder’s bidding, or when exposing a culture of tolerance toward criminal voter fraud inside Democrat campaigns.
Perhaps O’Keefe should have known better than to expect fairness from Spies. Perhaps O’Keefe shouldn’t have invited him in. Perhaps James still clings to a forlorn hope that the left will see the value in his investigative journalism. James should pick up his well-worn copy of Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky and re-read Rule 12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” When you do the sort of damage James has done to the left, you won’t find any friends on the left dressed in sheep’s clothing, or dirty filthy jeans.