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The menace and idealism of James O'Keefe III punking liberal America one 'gotcha' incident after another.
by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
You've got to hand it to James O'Keefe.
The man is clever, determined, bold, gutsy.
And he's certainly dedicated, though what he does can be both immoral and illegal.
That doesn't seem to worry O'Keefe one iota.
He's a man on a mission... and he knows that every time he pulls off another punk, he not only achieves his specific objective; he gains more of the attention and resources of the greatest nation on earth, thereby enabling him to continue his unique endeavors.
And what's thrilling, he doesn't need a lot of money to achieve the results he wants; just the willingness of powerful people to talk honestly with him and to be what they so often are, indiscrete. Indeed, these indiscretions are ridiculously easy to get. Someone just needs to coax them, with hidden cameras at the ready.
James E. O'Keefe III is that someone.
And he's now very, very good at what he and his organization do.
O'Keefe (born June 28, 1984) is the elder of two children born to James E. O'Keefe Jr., a materials engineer, and Deborah O'Keefe, a physical therapist. He grew up in Bergen County, New Jersey, in a home that was politically "conservative but not rigidly so," according to his father.
He graduated from Westwood High School, where he showed an early interest in the arts, theater, and journalism. He achieved the highest rank, Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.
He attended Rutgers University in New Jersey, where he majored in philosophy and began writing a bi-weekly column for the university's student paper, The Daily Targum. He later founded the Rutgers Centurion, a conservative student newspaper with a $500 "Balance in the Media" grant from The Leadership Institute (LI), a non-profit organization that trains and places conservatives in government, politics, and the media.
Following graduation, O'Keefe worked for LI for a year traveling to various colleges to train students how to set up independent (conservative oriented) papers. He was good at this job, but LI was worried that what he was doing might imperil their non-profit status. O'Keefe was asked to leave LI, but not before he began to understand the purifying potential of video; namely catching his subjects while "breaking the law." It was the nubbin of his outrageous successes.
After attending UCLA Law School for a year, O'Keefe formed his own organization, Project Veritas (Latin for truth). Its stated mission is to investigate and expose corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions in order to achieve a more ethical and transparent society."
O'Keefe calls himself a "progressive radical"; others have used such descriptions as "guerrilla documentarian", "muckraker", "gonzo journalist". His "aha" moment came while studying labor organizer Saul Alinsky's insight, to make "the enemy live up to its own book of rules."
At Rutgers O'Keefe, now publisher of the Centurion, practiced his hidden camera craft by claiming the breakfast cereal "Lucky Charms" was insensitive to the Irish. It was typical undergraduate fare... but it helped O'Keefe master the technical aspects of video... as well as what would grab people's attention and advance his career.
His lucky charm proved not to be a cereal, but Planned Parenthood.
In 2006 and 2007, O'Keefe helped plan and produce a series of 7 undercover videos with pro-life activist Lila Rose. These showed several Planned Parenthood workers willing to circumvent state laws requiring that abortion clinics report statutory rape. The videos received national attention and showed O'Keefe just what was possible... if he selected his subjects carefully and helped them, on the camera of course, to be confiding and indiscrete. Planned Parenthood lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in public grant money because of what O'Keefe got their own officials to show and say.
Bingo! O'Keefe now had a winning formula...
ACORN undercover videos.
In September, 2009, O'Keefe and his associate Hannah Giles published edited hidden camera recordings in which Giles posed as a prostitute and O'Keefe as her boyfriend in an attempt to elicit damaging responses from employees of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), an advocacy organization for persons of low and moderate income.
The videos were recorded during the summer of 2009 and showed low-level ACORN employees in six cities purportedly providing advice to Giles and O'Keefe on how to avoid detection by authorities of tax evasion, human smuggling and child prostitution.
Reaction from federal authorities was immediate and punitive; the U.S. Congress voted to eliminate federal funding to ACORN. James O'Keefe was on his way, a man not content to sit around and wait for reform. Instead, he was determined to get it fast by a proven ability to get officials to be indiscrete; then releasing the tapes via the Internet and other media resources.
Now a personage of consequence amongst conservatives, O'Keefe was ready for more, a whole lot more.
Getting a job at the U.S. Census Bureau, he explained to his superiors that he was being paid for work he didn't do. They shrugged their shoulders and essentially told him to make the most of his good fortune. Because their response was on camera, he did, giving the Census Bureau the black eye he felt it roundly deserved.
O'Keefe in due course went on to something that really bothered him: the situation at National Public Radio and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. For years, conservatives had railed about the perceived liberal bias of NPR. But O'Keefe was about action, not just windy talk.
He aimed to bring them down... and he had a ridiculously easy way of doing so.... by getting NPR officials to confirm (always on hidden camera of course) their strong biases. They were happy to give him just what he wanted...
Ronald Schiller, then NPR's senior vice president for fundraising, gave O'Keefe's operatives one injudicious comment after another... indiscrete observations O'Keefe released at once, thereby bringing down Schiller and, just hours later, NPR's CEO Vivian Schiller (no relation), too. These were trophies conservatives en masse hadn't been able to deliver... but which O'Keefe got in a cake walk. Lots of eyes (and no doubt some checkbooks) were thereby opened, and O'Keefe's stock soared. It went even higher when he bumped off, almost as an afterthought, NPR executive Betsy Liley. Her indiscretion, on camera, was to suggest that a Muslim organization (again O'Keefe and his people) could probably make an anonymous $5 million donation the IRS need know nothing about. It was pathetic how fast she fell, leaving another gaping hole in NPR's much vaunted "impartiality".
O'Keefe's future looks rosy indeed amongst conservatives. He delivers what they want but can't get, thereby earning their admiration, even if his methods are often suspect, illegal, even cruel. In due course, of course, he'll go too far and become, for someone younger, bolder, more outrageous, the target himself. Hero though he is to some today, he will, at that moment, fall without a kindness from anyone, a fact which will embitter him for the rest of his long life. It often happens that way in politics, an unforgiving occupation.About The Author Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Attend Dr. Lant's live webcast TODAY and receive 50,000 free guaranteed visitors to the website of your choice! Dr. Lant is also the author of 18 best-selling business books. Republished with author's permission by Rawle Trim <a href="http://RawleTHomeBusinessCenter.com">http://RawleTHomeBusinessCenter.com</a>. Check out Facebook Maxed -> http://www.RawleTHomeBusinessCenter.com/?rd=mb6xLGpj
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