Politics

5 questions with conservative activist James O’Keefe

Photo of Steven Nelson
Steven Nelson
Associate Editor

Last year, James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles made headlines and became heroes to conservative activists with their ACORN sting operation. O’Keefe (dressed as a pimp) and Giles (dressed as a hooker) found ACORN employees seemingly willing to facilitate shady dealings. The resulting uproar led to the demise of ACORN, at least as it then stood.

Since then, O’Keefe’s taken on the media, teachers’ unions, and the Census Bureau. After one botched stunt, O’Keefe was charged with (and later cleared of) trying to tap the phones in one of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s Louisiana offices. Most recently, he landed in hot water after he was accused of planning to seduce a CNN correspondent on a hidden camera — a charge O’Keefe denies.

O’Keefe recently agreed to answer 5 questions from The Daily Caller on his beliefs, his past, and his future:

1. Do you consider yourself an activist or a journalist? Can someone be both?

All good investigative journalism is adversarial. To not be an adversarial journalist is to be an activist for the subject you are supposed to be investigating. For example, reporters writing down what government officials say to them at press conferences isn’t journalism, it’s stenography. The NJ Star-Ledger rushing to call taped comments made by NJEA Associate Director Wayne Dibfosky “unsubstantiated” is not journalism, it’s damage control. The New York Times not assigning a reporter to the ACORN scandal until after the Congress defunds the organization isn’t journalism, it’s news suppression. The Washington Post running a front page headline proclaiming I wiretapped Senator Mary Landrieu is not journalism, it’s lying. Politico e-mailed dozens of “conservatives” in order to get two that criticized me, but wouldn’t disclose the others who would not. Is that journalism?

2. Do you have role models? If so, whom?

My grandfather; he could build something out of nothing.

G.K. Chesterton; his intellect, journalism, personality.

3. Is there someone on the political scene you would like to see run for president in 2012?

I would prefer to see the nation’s great leaders working at the grassroots level – I think you have greater liberty to affect social change outside of running for office.

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  • John

    annie, if I slimed you and I wasn’t accurate about you being a liberal then I stand corrected.

    I’ll keep a closer eye on who you are before I accuse in the future.

    It might have been something I read that was questionable to me.

    My comment was actually as whole for most of the radical liberals who don’t seem to have any understanding of journalism.

    I’m absolutely positive my comments didn’t sink in, but it’s worth the effort to crack a tough nut.

    So, if I lumped you in with these nuts and your not, I apologize.

    But I will remember your user name for now on for future reference.

    • The_anniebanannie

      “I’ll keep a closer eye on who”

      Yea…you do that.

      • John

        ok

    • des1

      I can save you the trouble of figuring it out. Annie has been here for a couple of years and is a solid Center-Right thinker. I’d guess she’s more Libertarian, but that’s just my take.

      I’m more Liberal than she is, and the Liberals around here think I’m Satan.

      • John

        “They” could be right.

        I haven’t read enough of you stuff.

  • The_anniebanannie

    “annie”

    Excuse me? I’d suggest you do a little more reading before you slime me….or are you just an a$$hole by nature?

    • riseabove

      Yea, wow. Didn’t even notice until you pointed it out. Geez, huh?

      Everyone: Annie doesn’t belong in “that” category!!!

      • The_anniebanannie

        Thanks! There is no greater insult than to call me a leftwing nutjob liberal. HAHAHH….*spit*

        • John

          I’m glad to see out of 4, one was really a right winger.

          So, my odds are better than any politician at 75% correct.

          Maybe I should run for office?

  • John

    To all the moronic liberal posters like craig, annie, poly, scorpioman etc.

    This individual just pointed out how a real investigative reporter gets the story.

    He gave a good look at the differences of what the media thinks and hands off to sponge idiots as yourselves as reporting.

    People like yourselves hate to admit there is always a slant and/or a bias to reporting, it’s journalism 101.

    But your to ignorant to educate yourself and would rather spew illiterate posts or responses to articles which accentuates your stupidity.

    You’re to stupid to see, you too have bias to whom you also prefer James O’Keefe or Julian Assange.

    You liberal dummy’s think the world revolves around you rejected perverse moral system.

    You prefer to follow a lie at all cost, so long as it slants or is bias with your own perverse moral system.

    I’ve never heard of the guy until this report, but with an open educated mind and a little research I’ve come to respect O’Keefe.

    He actually makes more sense than morons like yourself and I personally enjoyed the article.

    The converse to that, is you liberals only find fault because it removes the filthy blanket that cloaks the perverted morality of the left and anyone else who is trying to get away with doing evil to this end I applaud O’Keefe.

    Everyone seems to think that someone else’s hideous perversion makes their’s a little more tolerable.

    Its still evil no matter how you slice it.

    So get over it and just admit it was an enlightening observation of the media and their tactic.

  • Brad Friedman – The BRAD BLOG

    “O’Keefe (dressed as a pimp) and Giles (dressed as a hooker) found ACORN employees seemingly willing to facilitate shady dealings.”

    You couldn’t even make it to sentence #2 without an egregrious error, Daily Caller?

    O’Keefe did not “dress as a pimp” during any of his secretly taped (and then deceptively edited) videos of ACORN workers, nor did he represent himself as one to those workers.

    This has been a known fact since December of 2009, but you are still reporting it inaccurately a full year later, even though NYTimes corrected there reporting months ago (http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7755), Hannah Giles admitted he never dressed as a pimp with ACORN employees (http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7708) and their employer Andrew Breitbart admitted as much (http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7719) — as well as a number of official investigations by law enforcement which found the same (http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7780) and that the only laws broken were likely by O’Keefe and Giles.

    If you must give a known scam artist an uncritical platform to continue his scam on the American people, the least you guys can do is get *your* part of things accurate. Please correct the record. Thanks.

    • riseabove

      Well if the New York Times wrote something then it must be gospel. Thanks SO much for enlightening us! I mean, where on earth would we be without historians like yourself to guide us through the murky darkness?

      Oh, while you’re here….perhaps you could explain why a black representative at a Welfare Office wayyyyy back in the late 80′s gave me, a recently unemployed white woman an unbelievably hard time while applying for food stamps when the waiting room was chockful of seemingly able-bodied minorities wearing leather jackets and sporting gold jewelry? Why do you think that was? Could it be that I was an unsuspecting target of her wrath? Maybe she thought middle-class, white working taxpayers had no business receiving government benefits? Maybe this whole reparations-gaming-the-system thing has been going on for decades right under our noses but has only recently been exposed? Do you think that could be it or was that incredibly aggravating ordeal just a fluke? Hey, I know! I’m probably lying, right? I prolly made it all up. Yea, that’s it. I made it up because I’m an ignorant, racist, astroturfing, nazi, gun-toting, bible-thumping, redneck hillbilly. Whew, good thing we cleared THAT up, huh?

      • Brad Friedman – The BRAD BLOG

        @riseabove

        I’m sorry that I fail to see how your perception of being treated poorly by someone you consider to have been racist in the 80′s makes it okay for The Daily Caller to misreport on the scam that O’Keefe and Breitbart lied about thirty years later. It certainly tells us a great deal about you, however. Best of luck with that.

    • des1

      “O’Keefe did not “dress as a pimp” during any of his secretly taped (and then deceptively edited) videos of ACORN workers, nor did he represent himself as one to those workers.”

      You’re a liar (and a moron). I find it funny that you are attempting to sell your pissant little blog by coming on here and saying stupid, easily provable lies. Seriously dude, go somewhere that you can be successful. I hear they don’t expect much at the Daily Kos.

      http://bigjournalism.com/patterico/2010/03/02/debunking-some-emerging-acorn-liberal-myths/

      What a freaking half-wit….

      • des1

        In case you’re too stupid to understand how to click on a link…

        ” James: So, I can be the one who ah, I have documentation right? So, I can, I can be the one basically put up the house for it and she can perform tricks in the house.

        Acorn 3: Yep.

        James: Okay, and well all those girls too? All those, there’s like 10 girls? There’s ten El Salvadoreans. . . .

        Acorn 4: If you buy the home, you have no knowledge of what’s goin’ on in that home. He’s just [garble] the landlord.

        Acorn 3: You have no knowledge of what’s goin’ on, you just the landlord.

        Acorn 4: You have no knowledge of what’s goin’ on, I’m just keeping it real – your just the landlord.

        James: I’m just the landlord.

        Acorn 4: You’re just the landlord.

        James: But, but, but…

        Acorn 3: We know she’s your girl friend, but we’re talking about your career. How far you trying to go?

        James: I’m using the money that she’s getting, you know what I mean?

        Acorn 3: Okay. But you don’t know where its coming from.

        Hannah: It’s cash.

        James: I, I, I personally know where its coming from.

        Acorn 3: Right, but when the police ask you – you don’t know where its coming from – that’s what we’re trying to tell you.

        James: All right.

        Acorn 3: We’re looking out for you. . . .

        Hannah: And I want him to be successful and why I’m working so hard and bringing these girls in so when he does run for office he has unlimited funds.”

        • Brad Friedman – The BRAD BLOG

          @des1

          Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with what a pimp is? You do understand that your unverified partial transcript is the one offered by O’Keefe himself, right? As taken from tapes that some 4 different independent investigations have found to have been highly edited and even had audio replaced in part after the fact. That’s just one of the reasons, of course, that none of these workers were ever indicted or found to have committed any wrong doing.

          Nonetheless, even if we take your text at face value, you realize that the reason the ACORN worker was talking to O’Keefe about his “career” is because he had represented himself as a college student, hoping to run for political office, not as a pimp. (Which is also why he dressed in khaki slacks and an oxford shirt during his illegally video-taped private meetings with ACORN employees, as opposed to the “pimp” get-up he scammed you, and apparently Daily Caller, into believing he was wearing.)

          If you don’t mind being scammed, then O’Keefe is a great guy to follow and Daily Caller is a great site to read! It’s been days since they published inaccurate information and they haven’t bothered to correct it.

          They must regard their readers as chumps who don’t deserve accurate reporting, I guess.

  • craigiri

    >1. Do you consider yourself an activist or a journalist? Can someone be both?

    Well, I guess that depends. Since I am funded 100% by a known liar and manipulator of right wing news, I guess you could call me whatever you want. You see, I am PAID to be a certain way, and as long as Andrew Breitbart continues to pay me big time – and promise to take care of any legal problems – I’ll keep on doing what I am doing.

    After all, a real job and real word does not allow for shooting music videos dressed as a pimp. Hey, sooner or later…after my third wife and a batch of various kids, I will be able to take the grandkids on my knee and show them that music video and say “this is your grandpa”. I mean, what else could a fully enlightened human being aspire to in life?
    Thanks for asking, though.

    • UdontSay

      Thank you comrade at Media Matters.

      Since this organization cannot gain credibility nor an audience for its grand work at message crafting and dubious fact finding organically, it is important that otherwise idle people like you continue to place such strategic comments in unwelcome locations.

      Have confidence that our mission will succeed one day. In our glorious digital age, it IS possible to create truth from spin by inundating cyberspace with our words. Eventually they WILL be viewed as fact after being found so frequently in search results. Your efforts in conjunction with those of media outlets who promulgate our messages are the fuel for our eventual victory.

      Keep up the good work.

      As a reward, expect my next contribution early in the new year.

      With deepest appreciation,
      George S.

      • riseabove

        And there’s no shame anymore at getting your hand caught in the cookie jar. Nope. Have to defend them and make up all kinds of excuses and if that doesn’t work then try desperately to discredit the person(s) who caught them. Classic criminal mindset.

        “Huh, Officer? I didn’t do it. What do you mean you have me on camera robbing a liquor store? It wasn’t me. You must’ve tampered with the tape or sumpin’ cuz I was home all night! You set me up! It’s all your fault! You’re racist or sexist or [insert whatever-ist]!”

        Do you REALLY think the search engines will eventually exonerate ACORN??? LOLOL OMG! That’s the best thing I’ve read at the Daily Caller since the last best thing I’ve read at the Daily Caller!

    • des1

      “Since I am funded 100% by a known liar and manipulator of right wing news, I guess you could call me whatever you want.”

      Hey dumbass, he didn’t start working for Breitbart until after the ACORN tapes.

      Seriously, how can you continually prove yourself to be such a complete moron with no grasp of the facts and not be even remotely embarrassed.

      Just pathetic….