The deposed ACORN leader, Bertha Lewis, has called James O’Keefe a “demon, liar and cheat” because one of his explosive video investigations unraveled one of the largest taxpayer-subsidized, left-wing cabals in 2009.
O’Keefe prefers the title of “disrupter” to sum up his life’s work, as he has perfected the art of exposing inconvenient truths through explosive, undercover video investigations.
James O’Keefe, 29, the enterprising founder and president of Project Veritas, is committed to speaking truth to power, in the tradition of historic investigative muckraker journalists. Nine years ago and 50 investigations later, O’Keefe looks back to realize he started being a “disrupter” at Rutgers University.
There, political correctness and liberal orthodoxy seemed out of control. His response was not to fight it head on, but to test and ridicule it with exposure. So, barely controlling his laughter with his Irish friends, he claimed to be offended by the Lucky Charms cereal served in the school’s cafeteria.
It was this theatrical, creative challenging of school rules that led O’Keefe to ultimately take down one of the largest and most prosperous radical groups in America, ACORN, in 2009. His videos exposing Obamacare navigators resulted in new Texas laws to crack down on their operation.
His exposure of bias at National Public Radio against the tea party and Republicans in the course of shaking down a faux Middle Eastern philanthropic organization caused the sudden departure of two senior NPR officials.
“There’s nothing political about, really, what we do,” O’Keefe explained in an interview. “We simply make people live up to their own principles.”
“I do nothing but report on what happens around me. It just so happens to be that the truth is more powerful than advocacy. And I don’t think many people in D.C. realize that,” he continued. “I think they spend most of their time pushing an agenda instead of going back to the basics. … Just talk about the facts, and I think you’ll get people to agree with you.
To those in power, a force like O’Keefe was a viable threat who had to be stopped and destroyed. In this exclusive video interview, O’Keefe discusses the extensive and continuing push-back and intimidation he has received for exposing powerful people, programs and scams.
But it was being falsely accused of sexual harassment that he describes as one of his most difficult.
“That was the one moment in my life when I truly contemplated giving up. I don’t want to be branded this way,” he said.
His colleagues and advisers told him, “They want you to give up. They are not calling you a liar anymore because that doesn’t do anything anymore. They can call you a liar 17 times, people kept resigning after your videos. They have to do something a little bit bigger.”
And O’Keefe has continued to rock the political boat.
Young conservatives are flocking to be trained in his program of investigative journalism. But his job is certainly not easy.
At this moment, people are trying to take me down,” he said. “That’s the world that I live in, and I’ll do my best to set an example for others so they’re not afraid.”
Watch Part 2:
O’Keefe’s book is entitled “Breakthrough: Our Guerilla War to Expose Fraud and Save Democracy.”
In Part 1 of this interview, O’Keefe discussed the pressures of journalism in 2014 and the culture of establishment media.
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