James Okeefe Ross Mantle 09

Exclusive: What’s Eating James O’Keefe?

Just about everything—from Hollywood hypocrites to his lack of recognition to "hit pieces" like this one

One afternoon in early May, James O’Keefe walks down the sidewalk in Manhattan’s SoHo district, a sense of purpose in his stride. A tall and bulky 29-year-old, he’s dressed in sleek sunglasses and a brown suede jacket, like a cool plainclothes cop in a crime show, but the side part in his reddish hair is classic Young Republican. Passing a stretch of bustling outdoor cafes, O’Keefe pulls out a cellphone and gives precise orders to the person on the other end: “Just park in front of the Mercedes on Lafayette, headed south.” In 15 minutes, O’Keefe, who made his name being a thorn in the side of the left, will attempt to entrap Chris Talbot, an associate of actress Susan Sarandon, in a Hollywood scandal.

O’Keefe is the head of Project Veritas, the nonprofit he says he created in 2011 “to revive investigative journalism,” though his definition of “investigative journalism” is unique. O’Keefe and his operatives prey on the ignorance of their marks, generally people associated with the liberal establishment, hoping to capture them on hidden camera saying something unsavory. The raw footage is edited for dramatic effect and then released on the Internet, set to explode like a firecracker.

O’Keefe’s rise to infamy began in 2009 when he and a friend, posing as pimp and prostitute, took down ACORN, perhaps the country’s most prominent advocacy group for the poor. Then two of O’Keefe’s operatives recorded an executive at National Public Radio in 2011 making derogatory statements about Republicans and the Tea Party, hastening the departures of the exec and his boss.

Filmmaker James O'Keefe and friend Hannah Giles, dressed in costume as a pimp and his prostitute, pictured at the Washington Monument.

But over the last few years, the explosions have been pretty small. Despite some splashy coverage, he’s been unable to generate the kind of media storm that accompanied his earlier work. O’Keefe, however, believes his current project will make waves.

The plans were hatched months ago, after O’Keefe learned a surprising fact: Matt Damon’s 2012 film Promised Land, which portrays the fracking industry in a negative light, was partially funded by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, a subsidiary of the United Arab Emirates state media company. Conservatives—namely the Heritage Foundation—smelled a broader conspiracy. The Arab Emirates is a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), and so, the logic went, given the threat American energy independence posed to their bottom line, the Emirates-based company must have a financial interest in keeping fracking unpopular in the United States.

Image Nation has also funded such movies as The Help, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Men in Black 3. There was no proof of any nefarious activity—and even if there were, it would be hard to imagine that a tiny indie film like Promised Land with a $15 million budget would have much of an effect. Nonetheless, O’Keefe was outraged.

A former colleague of O'Keefe's recalls him saying, “‘What I do is more important than what any governor in the country does.’”

And so he came up with an idea: O’Keefe would expose the injustice and prove that Hollywood liberals are corrupt hypocrites willing to collude with the enemy. He set up an LLC called Beacon International, a fictitious advertising agency that represents the business interests of a Middle Eastern client named Muhammad. On Muhammad’s behalf, Beacon reached out to various environmentally conscious filmmakers with a proposition: We will give you millions of dollars to create an anti-fracking movie, as long as you’re willing to cover the money trail.

O'Keefe's latest project targets anti-fracking activists in Hollywood.

Vocativ/Ross Mantle

O’Keefe admits to not having a deep knowledge about the environmental consequences of fracking, or the science of climate change in general—in fact, he has no position on it. Regardless, he had already completed one video that appears to ensnare several eco-conscious celebrities, including actress Mariel Hemingway, actor Ed Begley Jr. and director Josh Tickell. Now he wants the scalp of well-known liberal Susan Sarandon—O’Keefe sometimes refers to his targets as “scalps”—but first, he’ll have to go through her adviser, Chris Talbot.

A shiny black Escalade whips around the corner, and the rear door swings open to reveal a man called “Muhammad bin Rashidi,” who is actually an actor. O’Keefe introduces us. “Hello, Mr. Michael,” Muhammad says with a mild Middle Eastern accent. Sitting next to him is “Steve Sanchton,” a silver-haired man who will act the part of a representative from Beacon International, the fictitious ad agency. He smiles and nods.

I’m here to observe the last rehearsal before the sting. O’Keefe stands on the curb and quizzes his operatives on their backstories.

“So what are you guys gonna be talking about today?” O’Keefe asks. “What ground are you gonna cover?”

“Basically,” Sanchton says, “we’re gonna, uh…we want to keep fracking from getting a hold in North America.”

“OK,” O’Keefe says, waiting for him to elaborate.

“Because we’ve got some big money involved in Dubai and the Middle East,” Sanchton explains, specifying that Muhammad wants to put $4.5 million toward an anti-fracking film.

“Who else have you been talking to?” O’Keefe asks.

“Uh,” Sanchton says, glancing around as if searching for an answer.

Muhammad interjects, mentioning Tickell and Begley, as well as Ernest Hemingway, apparently forgetting that he’d met with the long-dead author’s granddaughter, Mariel. No one corrects him. “They agree to keep my name out of this, since I really don’t want my name to be involved. I just want my bottom line to be covered,” Muhammad says. “If you want to fix all the problems in the world, be my guest.”

O’Keefe runs down the street and returns five minutes later. “Here’s $200 petty cash,” he says, handing the money to Muhammad.

“That’s not enough,” Muhammad says.

“How much do you need?” O’Keefe asks. “This is not the Beverly Hills Hotel—this is a cafe. Order him whatever he wants. Save the receipts. That way, when we get audited by the IRS, we cover our bases.”

“Is that a joke?” I ask.

“Probably half-serious,” O’Keefe says.

Moments later Muhammad bin Rashidi and Steve Sanchton head into the cafe, wearing hidden cameras. O’Keefe and I find an outdoor table at a restaurant down the block. He settles in and orders a goat cheese and beet salad, as well as a side of edamame. “I’m trying to eat healthy,” he says.

I ask O’Keefe if he’s trying to make a pro-fracking video. “I avoid characterizations. What I do,” he says, a look of heavy seriousness passing over his face, “is cinema verité.”

Toward the end of the meal, O’Keefe receives a phone call. “That is awesome news,” he says.  He hangs up the phone and turns to me. “They bought it hook, line and sinker. The whole fracking bottom-line thing.” He raises a hand to his face and laughs in amazement. “This story is going to be huge.”

***

Says O'Keefe: "The machine is out to destroy me."

Vocativ/Ross Mantle

Despite his willingness to invade the space of others, O’Keefe can be very cagey about his own. “I don’t know if I’m comfortable letting people into my personal life,” he says. “So far, you’ve been privileged to most things people just don’t see.” If this is true, then most people don’t get to see much.

One person who is intimate with O’Keefe’s world is a former associate of his, whom I meet one afternoon at a Starbucks in midtown Manhattan. He worked closely with O’Keefe for a year, until he was abruptly fired. Though he’s willing to speak on the record about his old boss, he asks to not be named.

“If you work for James, you have to believe in the James O’Keefe project,” he says. “James just believes in his ideas so much that if you ever said, ‘That’s absolutely idiotic,’ he took it very personally.”

He recalls that O’Keefe needed to be “shielded” from certain negative comments in emails or videos. “He got death threats all the time,” he says. “Some of them were very creative. One guy said, ‘I want to shove a gasoline nozzle up your ass and light a match.’” Before O’Keefe could read such messages, the former colleague would delete them. As much as O’Keefe loathed criticism, he lapped up any sign of affirmation. “He loved media recognition. He always had everything framed—all the covers of the papers. He loved the praise. But at the same time, he hated the media because he always felt like they weren’t giving him enough credit.”

This is the apparent paradox of O’Keefe: He both loathes the mainstream media and yearns for its attention and approval—but is also dead certain the cards are stacked against him. “Puleeze,” he tweeted in April. “If any reporter got as many scalps at private leviathans as @Project_Veritas got in govt, Nobel Prizes would follow.”

The former colleague recalls that O’Keefe once said to him, “‘What I do is more important than what any governor in the country does.’” At the same time, he adds, “James doesn’t have an ideology like Sean Hannity does. A lot of it comes from what would be entertaining, what would be viewer-worthy, what would be fundraising-worthy—the business side of it.”

But for O’Keefe, business is always personal. Before we part ways, the former colleague warns that O’Keefe maintains a constant level of paranoia. “He’s very, very defensive,” he says. “But James has been through a lot.”

***

O'Keefe made his name taking down ACORN and executives at National Public Radio.

Vocativ/Ross Mantle

James O’Keefe grew up in middle-class Westwood, New Jersey—an insular, solidly white community located less than an hour from New York City in the northeastern corner of the state. O’Keefe’s father is an engineer, his mother a physical therapist. Though he grew up in a conservative household, O’Keefe was not a particularly political child. He was an Eagle Scout, and while quiet and introspective, he loved musical theater. A talented dancer, he performed in plays and worshipped Michael Jackson, practicing moonwalking incessantly.

During his junior prom, he glided across the dance floor like the King of Pop himself. “And now wherever I go,” he says, “they ask me to do the Michael Jackson move.” It was his first taste of fame, and many people that have known O’Keefe agree that he cares very much about being famous. (He occasionally produces pop music with a friend, and moonwalks in music videos.)

In 2002, he enrolled at Rutgers University, where his public persona began to take shape. As a freshman, he was ill-equipped for life on a campus with some 30,000 undergraduates, nearly three times the size of his hometown. He had a hard time making friends, and seemingly desperate to connect with people, he created an online diary. The entries from that period reflect a boy who is becoming politically radicalized, but rather than dive headfirst into left-wing idealism, as one might expect of a young college student, O’Keefe seems to have cannonballed into Rush Limbaugh’s swimming pool.

In January of his freshman year, he wrote a post entitled “Tolerate This.” Written as a slam poem, O’Keefe attacked his classmates for not appreciating the heroic efforts of the sitting president: “Your ignorance thrives when you describe/Bush as a Texas cowboy running astray.”

As an upperclassman, life improved markedly for O’Keefe. He found likeminded friends and formed a small, conservative circle, developing an outspoken political voice. He started a provocative conservative journal called The Centurion with a $500 grant from the Leadership Institute, a group based in Washington, D.C., that trains young conservative activists, journalists and future politicians. (Its alumni include Mitch McConnell and Ralph Reed.) The journal was an anachronism, recalling the neocon spirit of the early ’80s. Its chief targets were political correctness, multiculturalism and affirmative action.

“James and his friends were very bright, but they had no idea what they were talking about,” says James Livingston, who was the paper’s faculty adviser. “I thought [O’Keefe] was an arrogant little shit, but I found him fascinating. What makes him think he’s so right?”

Around the same time, O’Keefe produced his first videos. One captured an affirmative action bake sale, in which he charged whites more than blacks for goods. Another video targeted what he called “The New McCarthyism.” Apparently, a food truck on campus was censored for giving sandwiches names such as “fat bitch” and “fat dyke.” Though not exactly an unreasonable move on the school’s part, O’Keefe believed it was an example of the liberal machine stepping on the constitution. In response, he and a few friends, pretending to be members of the Irish Heritage Society, complained to an administrator about the presence of Lucky Charms cereal in the cafeteria, claiming that the leprechaun on the box was offensive. Based on campus rules, they argued, it should be banned. For those who were on O’Keefe’s side, the video highlighted the absurdity of the university’s position—anyone could ultimately claim offense to anything.

After graduating college in 2006, O’Keefe went to work for the Leadership Institute, where he conducted training programs and on his own time pursued more stings. Staunchly opposed to abortion, O’Keefe trained his sights on workers at Planned Parenthood, and ran afoul of the Institute’s rules—as a tax-exempt nonprofit, it has to avoid trying to influence legislation taking positions on controversial issues. O’Keefe was given an ultimatum: quit the stings or quit the Institute. He chose the latter.

Not long after, O’Keefe took on ACORN in 2009 with his friend and fellow-conservative activist, Hannah Giles, who was then just 20 years old. She came to him with the idea to pose as a prostitute, and in several videos they ask low-level workers how to start a brothel that would employ underage hookers. The sting remains O’Keefe’s most impactful to date. The videos were featured on the website of Andrew Breitbart, the conservative attack dog who for a while was O’Keefe’s mentor, and were viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

James O'Keefe, the producer of "ACORN Revealed: The Philadelphia Story," takes part in a press conference at the National Press Club on Oct. 21, 2009, in Washington, D.C. 

Getty Images/Win McNamee

ACORN had been in the crosshairs of the Republican Party for years—its demographic skewed Democrat—but it had never been the bogeyman it was made out to be. In an essay that accompanied the videos, entitled “Chaos for Glory,” O’Keefe, then 25, erroneously claimed that the organization controlled elections and received “billions in tax money.” In fact, almost all its funds came from private donations, which dried up less than a year after the videos’ release.

On the day ACORN closed its doors forever—April 1, 2010—the California attorney general, which investigated ACORN following the release of the videos, issued its findings. The conclusion was damning: “The video releases were heavily edited to feature only the worst or most inappropriate statements of the various ACORN employees and to omit some of the most salient statements by O’Keefe and Giles.”

"To talk about what I show is to lend credibility to me. And people hate me too much to want to give credibility to me, right?”

Over the next two years, O’Keefe became mired in controversy. He was arrested in New Orleans and received three years probation for entering Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu’s office under false pretenses. In his 2013 memoir, Breakthrough, O’Keefe recounts the brief period he spent in jail. “A nightmare day in windowless cages had shrunk my will to nothing,” he writes. “Plus, I had a plane to catch. I was supposed to go skiing at Tahoe.”

The NPR sting in 2011 marked O’Keefe’s comeback. It was a coup to prove bias in the media, but he was again accused of selective editing. Incensed, he encouraged people to watch the raw footage—he always releases the raw footage—and decide for themselves. To his great surprise, he was condemned by Scott Baker, the editor-in-chief of The Blaze, Glenn Beck’s website. He stated that O’Keefe uses “editing tactics that seem designed to intentionally lie or mislead about the material being presented.”

Mug shot of James O'Keefe 

U.S. Department of Justice

Since then, he’s gone after Medicaid, Obamacare and voter ID laws, but he continues to be dogged by accusations of dishonesty and bad faith, which to him is a grave injustice. He likes to point to David Corn, Mother Jones’ Washington chief, as a genuine example of media hypocrisy. Corn won a prestigious award in 2012 for releasing the infamous Mitt Romney “47 percent” video. “Why is that acceptable?” O’Keefe asks, wondering how that clip was any more ethical than his own work.

***

O'Keefe at his home in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Vocativ/Ross Mantle

The day before the Chris Talbot sting, O’Keefe is scheduled to speak at a conference on energy policy sponsored by the Gatestone Institute, a conservative think-tank based in New York. Several dozen attendees sit at round tables in a small banquet hall off the main dining room, all of them dressed in Capitol Hill drab. O’Keefe prepares his PowerPoint presentation while an Irish documentary filmmaker finishes a pro-fracking talk with the ultimate kicker: “Environmentalists are destroying the dreams of poor people!”

A middle-aged woman then takes the microphone and introduces O’Keefe, calling him “great” and “completely reckless.” The excitement in the room swells. Most people here appear to be over the age of 50, and in this milieu, he’s the closest thing to a rock star.

O’Keefe, dressed in a snug navy blue suit, waits for the noise to die down before launching into a pitch for Project Veritas and its work. He proudly plays a ringing endorsement from Rush Limbaugh: “James O’Keefe, maybe a good description, a good analogy,” he says, “would be to compare him to the special forces of the conservative movement, infiltrating enemy lines and becoming amongst them, and getting them on video tape being who they are.”

O’Keefe is a confident, if not occasionally strident, speaker who remains poised and articulate—the fruits of his theater background. Turning to his latest project, he explains the concept of the investigation and introduces a video featuring documentary filmmaker Josh Tickell, who directed Fuel, a film about finding alternative energy solutions to oil.

There are phone conversations and a meeting at the Beverly Hills Hotel—Tickell does, in fact, want to make an anti-fracking movie. Muhammad agrees to provide him with $4.5 million, and Tickell agrees to keep his name out of the production credits, understanding that Muhammad cares only about his “bottom line.” When Tickell says reassuringly, “We have no moral issue,” the audience bursts out laughing.

Tickell even offers to bring on board environmentally conscious celebrities, including his friends Mariel Hemingway and Ed Begley Jr. O’Keefe’s eyes light up and he cuts to a drinks meeting where Begley and Hemingway appear to happily accept Muhammad’s terms for seed money. The audience applauds and cracks up with delight—the video proves Hollywood’s plot against America.

O’Keefe tells the audience they’ve now witnessed the power of his investigations firsthand. “We’re about to drop a bombshell on Hollywood,” he reminds them before getting to the point. “This is one of the best places to donate your money to—Project Veritas. And we are tax-exempt, so if you have any questions about that, let me know.”

After the event concludes, there is a rush to get face time with O’Keefe. A tan woman in a blue leather jacket looks at him longingly.  I stand next to Austin, who does not give me his last name. He’s friendly, short and a natural schmoozer. “I’m, like, James’ body man,” he says. “Fundraising guy—whatever you want to call it.” He’s responsible for passing out copies of O’Keefe’s memoir, in addition to collecting business cards.

An older woman with swimming blue eyes wants O’Keefe to investigate health care consultants. “I’m interested,” he says. “I just wish I could clone myself.”

She looks at him sympathetically. “You can only save the world one piece at a time.”

At another point, a bald man asks O’Keefe if the mainstream media pays attention to his work.

“Nobody will ever talk about what I show,” O’Keefe says. “Because to talk about what I show is to lend credibility to me. And people hate me too much to want to give credibility to me, right?” O’Keefe starts to get himself worked up. “For the most part, every time I break a story, I’m operating with a negative handicap times a hundred.”

The bald man seems confused.

“On Saturday they were getting drunk at the White House correspondents dinner,” O’Keefe informs him. “They were cocktailing with those in power!”

By the time the conversation ends, the room has cleared out—it’s time to leave. Walking toward the exit, O’Keefe seems to relax. He’s done tending to his fans.

As we make our way through the opulent main dining room, O’Keefe makes it clear that he’s familiar with the place.

“Larry King was eating here,” he says.

Adds Austin, “James had a better seat than Larry King.”

***

O'Keefe makes pop music in his spare time and moonwalks in music videos.

Vocativ/Ross Mantle

Toward the end of May, O’Keefe and his team travel to the Cannes Film Festival to debut the Josh Tickell video. “We wanted to go to the belly of the beast, and that was where all the Hollywood people were congregated,” he says. Dressed in a slim-fitting suit and midnight blue tie, O’Keefe showed the footage to a room of about a dozen people at the Majestic Hotel, very near the festival but still down the street. When no one was around, he posed for a snapshot on the red carpet.

On May 20, the video goes live on the Internet, embedded in a story by the Hollywood Reporter. Tickell releases his own video in response. He admits he was “royally punked,” but makes clear that, regardless of what happened, he already had plans to make an anti-fracking film, and when they entered into an agreement with Beacon, it was only because they retained full creative control over the movie. “We thought to ourselves, oh, the irony,” Tickell says. “We’ll use the funding from an oil company to make a film that promotes green energy.” Hemingway and Begley, for their parts, maintain they didn’t agree to anything.

Two days later, the story takes a surprising twist. Toward the end of O’Keefe’s first video, he shows a snippet of a phone call with Josh Fox, the filmmaker who directed the anti-fracking documentary Gasland. To the viewer, it appears he’s been punked, too. But as it turns out, Fox was onto the sting from the beginning, when he was first contacted in December. In an essay written for The Daily Beast, he revealed that he’d been recording O’Keefe’s people the entire time. “We have them caught in total deception,” Fox says, referring to how O’Keefe cut out Fox’s refusal to cover up the source of the seed money. Then he lambasts the Hollywood Reporter for carrying the video in the first place.

That same day, I receive a call from O’Keefe, who is on his way back from the airport. He’s irate about The Daily Beast article. “The machine is trying to destroy me,” he says. “It’s almost fascist how [Josh] Fox could get angry at the Hollywood Reporter for running this story. That’s fascism. This,” he points out, “is the most important thing in your story.”

***

Project Veritas finally releases the Chris Talbot video two weeks later. O’Keefe had seemed almost giddy about the Talbot interview that afternoon in SoHo, and promised me I had “quite a scoop.” But when I watch the edited version of the video, there seems little to get excited—or angry—about.

Talbot appears to be doing his job, cautiously vetting Muhammad bin Rashidi and Steve Sanchton. Not only does he not agree to anything, but he also advocates for transparency, rather than covering up the money trail. O’Keefe himself appears at the end of the video, lambasting Josh Fox in an odd editorial addressed directly to the camera.  “Are you a progressive or a fascist?” he asks.

The question almost perfectly characterizes O’Keefe: In his world, everyone outside of his orbit is a potential threat. It’s a difficult place to live. He’s fighting the masses in a quixotic battle, chiding them for not recognizing his great virtue while begging them to recognize his great talent. There’s no place for fun, and human connections are distorted. By the time the video ends, it’s hard not feel sorry for the guy.

A few days earlier, I meet O’Keefe at a Mexican restaurant near his office in Westchester County, New York. (“I don’t want you in my office,” he told me beforehand.) Poking at a steak, he says, “I’m almost expecting a hit piece at this point. Here’s the problem—there’s two scenarios: Number one, you’re fair and everyone hates you. Cause I’m not asking you to give me the benefit of the doubt. I’m only asking you to be fair, and everyone will hate you for being fair—I just want you to know that. All of your friends will hate you.” As it happens, he never offers a second scenario.

Later on, I ask O’Keefe about how he views his current work.

“We can change everything,” he says. “I really [believe that].”

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.

Respond Now
  • Never heard of O’keefe(sp?) and couldn’t care less about his delusions of the world out to get him. 

  • I don’t even know why they bothered with this hit piece on O’Keefe. He’s a nobody know and all stories like this do is to resurrect his name for another 5 minutes. The only thing he’s really known for was the whole ACORN thing. Now look at what he’s up to. Taking down the real A-Listers like Muriel Hemmingway, Ed Begley Jr. and “some guy who knows Susan Surrandon”.

  • Until you wrote about O’Keefe I don’t think anyone has heard of your web site.  You leftist crack me up.  James has done nothing but expose hypocrisy and fraud. You leftist get so upset when something goes against your group think.  It doesn’t matter if people completely debunk anti-fracking movies with fact, or if organizations like Acorn are designed to defraud the government to get more people dependent on the Marxist Democrats.  Truth never matters to you Progressive Marxist. The problem is that you live in a utopian world that doesn’t exist.  I wouldn’t care if it wasn’t that you only hurt yourselves but you hurt the entire world.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Truth? When Glenn Beck’s producer thinks another Conservative is shady and editing video to misrepresent the truth, then you got a real liar on your hands. I’m glad O’Keefe is around to keep people on their toes, but for everything he’s done, he really hasn’t done anything Ashton Kutcher didn’t think up first.

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      • Thank you for pointing this out.  I just read The Blaze article you referred to. O’Keefe did not do a good job of being fair and balanced.  He did shade a few points.  He also posted all the video for all to see and make up their our own minds. As Glenn says do your own homework. O’Keefe did reveal NPR’s poor judgment. I did not find O’Keefe reaction to The Blazes article. But the goal of seeking the truth did happen. O’Keefe’s story was clearly flawed but to say he is a liar is a far stretch. The good part is we could easily get all the information.  I wish there where more Becks and O’Keefes out there.  We are all flawed that is the beauty of dialog. Dialog of different views is just what liberals hate, for they only except one view. They follow the Rules Of Radicals and isolate and marginalize any who differs from their view.

  • Mike Spies is an a**hole.

  • James O’Keefe is man of ideals and vision. This mean and twisted article is nothing but a leftie takedown of a magnificant and underappreciated messiah for truth and a Hero for the Christian, American way. The dirty rotten liberals are out to destroy him with their lies and slander. He is selfless, devoid of any ego or self interest and his only mission is to find the ‘veritas’ (truth) in the fact that the politically correct liberal media establishment is corrupt and secretly in bed with the Muslims that are intent destroying America, the pure values of Christianity and enslaving the white race.

  • Whoa someone’s really jealous of James O’Keefe. When you deal in hate and lies, there is really no place for you to go Mikey, but down.

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  • I find it more than intersting that O’Keefe is now a “hatchet man” but 60 Minutes was doing this to the Right for 30 years, and they also called it “investigative journalism”. What a pile of hypocritcal, typical Leftist puke…

  • There is unrest in the forest, there is trouble with the trees, for the maples have no sunlight and the oaks ignore their pleas!

  • ,ACORN—” erroneously claimed that the organization controlled elections and received “billions in tax money.” In fact, almost all its funds came from private donations, which dried up less than a year after the videos’ release.OK now i understand this POS website…goodbye

  • Ego stroking at it’s finest, which is hard to do with the other hand occupied.

  • LOL, you think it’s anachronistic to be against political correctness and affirmative action? Both of those things are pissing people off as much or more than ever and the Supreme Court is becoming more opposed to affirmative action every time the issue comes up.

  • Wow, let’s portray O’Keefe as only interested in himself. The man is doing ‘journalism’. But so-called journalists don’t recognize it anymore. And we, are fawning ‘fans’. Hatchet, hit piece indeed. So clearly one.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Wow… weird grammar. You have it.

  • “The raw footage is edited for dramatic effect and then released”Oh, you neam like NBC did the Zimmerman tape?  Gotcha!

  • This is a liberal hatchet job. They have to kill any one that challenges their choke hold on the media.  It’s past McCarthyism, way scarier than that.

  • I stopped after the “journolist” wrote of O’Keefe bringing down ‘ACORN, perhaps the country’s most prominent advocacy group for the poor’ without explaining that multiple ACORN offices were caught giving advice on how to set up underage sex trafficking.  This is a hit piece, and deserves nothing but contempt.

  • Not much “hit” in this. The author writes “in fact” but does not back it up.  

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Ummm… He directly quoted his subject and aquaintances. How would you like him to back it up. Personally invite you to sit in on the interviews he did? I don’t see O’Keefe saying that he was misquoted.

  • o’keefe is the bomb. this “reporter” did everything to make him out to be a “typical”, paranoid, righty…again, so typical. o’keefe, 10, reporter, 1.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • “the bomb”. Haven’t heard that since the 90s.

  • O’Keefe is among the top five journalists in this country (along with Matt Drudge).  They do the hard work the others won’t because the others are just propagandists for the Left.  

  • If you like O’Keefe, you’re gonna love TruthDecals.com”Declare War on Political Correctness!”

  • So when NBC edited the tapes of George Zimmerman in order to make him appear to be a racist in the killing of that high on drugs potential burgler, that was ok, but when O’Keefe is doing real journalism to expose the anti-fracking Hollywood elite, that is journalistic malpractice

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • So I guess everyone walking home at night is now a potential burgler. Or does that just apply to black teenagers?

  • O’Keef for Prez ’16!!!!

  • When you’re attracting a lot of moths it means the light is on. HW in overtime to CYA with their machine. Keep hitting them where they live James. They’re obviously squirming.

  • When CBS “did it” they were leaders in a brave new world of journalism, but now O’Keefe and Veritas are entraping?  Go get ‘em James!

  • It’s funny but you never see the MSM release their raw footage like O’Keefe does.  Why is that?  Could it be they’re hiding their bias?

  • A VERY brave young man.  Godspeed O’Keefe.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • Godspeed?????  Which god are youtalking about.  Be specific please.

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      • Probably the one you don’t believe in!

      • What are you?  A douchebag?

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      • +
      • Airbag

      • Most defiantly not your God, Carl Marx and his new Messiah, Obama. But you already knew that…

  • Slant much?

  • I hope he exposes all the liberals who practice dishonesty, deceit, arrogance, elitism and lawlessness.  More power to him!

  • Does the fact bother you that he has balls and you liberal men don’t?

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    • Sweetheart It’s sad you “simpel-folk” don’t understand the difference between balls and boneheads.  Thank you 

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      • Not true!  O’keefe has balls, while YOU are obviously a BONEHEAD!  You Are Welcome!

      • Richy  We’re sure you do know the difference “cream puff”.

    • You show a lot of interest in men’s balls. Sniff.

  • and the bozoloons just hate it when anyone dares to turn their OWN tactics against them …………….. TYPICAL FOR THE THUGS FROM THE OBAMAMOB OF AMERICA HATERS

  • I love and respect James O’Keefe. I only wish other journalists were as brave as he is.

  • To bad we don’t have an O’Keefe to investigate the I.R.S.!!!!

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    • Investigate the IRS for what??? You “simpel-folk” are so cute. Thank you. 

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      • The latest? Investigate the sudden “loss” of Lois Lerner’s emails. Put down that kool-aid and open your eyes…or is the welfare, food stamps and other Obama freebies to much for you to give up? Go occupy something. 

  • Very telling and common is the one short sentence about being an Eagle Scout. It’s almost dismissive or sometimes a veiled attempt at an insult. Most have no idea the amount of effort, initiative, and self discipline it takes to climb that mountain at that age.

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    • So now whittling box cars and helping old ladies cross the street takes great effort initiative and self discipline? This is the Scouts we’re talking about, not the Special Forces.

  • #1: Liberals are just mad they get caught. #2: His “lies and editing” are at least no worse than the liberal media, namely the NBC affiliates.

  • hmmmm…sounds like a little jealousy here…and some sour grapes perhaps..   If he had turned out to be a extreme lefty…this would be a success story…

  • You know what the other scenario is, You aren’t interested in being fair.O’Keefe knows this, he was proably just trying to be nice.-KenLaserGuidedLoogie.com

  • Nice hit piece Vocativ!  You should change your name to left-wing activist!  You’re attacking O’Keefe, but said nothing of the despicable things left-wing liberals said and done to others who don’t agree with their ideology.  I’d bet you get your propaganda directly from Mother Jones and Media Matters, right?  You’re really lame!  We need people like O’Keefe to point out left-wing hypocrisies on a daily basis!

  • You are the guys that reprint Media Matters stuff about school shootings without checking any of the data, yes?  This isn’t a hit piece if you have no credibility.  Sorry, maybe one day when you grow up like real journalists.

  • Mr Spies,What you failed to recognize is that James O’Keefe has accomplished more results from his work in the six years after Rutgers than 99.9% of journalist accompplish in lifetime!Now, that is something worth writing about?

  • So if he did **exactly** the same things in the same way but targeted conservative groups and Republicans, he’d be a modern day liberal hero.I would start a discussion about hypocrisy but liberals have long ago become immune it; decades of “ends justify the means” have killed any semblance of open mindness and equal treatment.

  • : In his world, everyone outside of his orbit is a potential threat.Sounds like they are talking about democrats.

  • At least he is doing something, lame stream media are just fluffer a for Dems.

  • As is typical, attack the messenger and ignore the message. OKeefe is doing the job the MSM refuses to do.

  • I hope James does a piece about New Orleans’s political machine :)

  • “There was no proof of any nefarious activity” – as if that’s the standard when lefties criticize anything funded by oil companies or KOCHKOCHKOCHKOCH!!!”O’Keefe admits to not having a deep knowledge about the environmental consequences of fracking, or the science of climate change in general” – and Matt Damon does?”This is the apparent paradox of O’Keefe: He both loathes the mainstream media and yearns for its attention and approval” – unlike, say Barack Obama?”“James and his friends were very bright, but they had no idea what they were talking about,” says James Livingston, who was the paper’s faculty adviser” – also a leftist pinhead who compared OWS to the American Revolution: http://politicsandletters.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/occupy-wall-street-ii-q-a-from-rutgers-media-relations/That's a lot of hypocrisy and unintended irony for one blog post. Spies has real talent.

  • After reading this I like him more than ever. He would just as quickly take down some Republicans doing illegal things as he would ACORN.

  • This kid’s doing god’s work.  I hope he never quits.  Incidentally, it must irk the author of this self-described “hit piece” to no end.

  • Maybe its because “you” damn journalist are not doing your jobs.

  • Wish there were 1,000 more like him.

  • All you lefties, please underestimate him.

  • The only point Spies has to make is that he doesn’t like James O’keefe — and that point is clear from his 1st paragraph, in which he takes O’Keefe’s hair-parting style as a right wing ideological marker.  Here’s a summary of this article’s content: “There’s a lot of stuff to show O’Keefe has a conservative motive and orientation.  Isn’t that creepy?!”

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    • Basically. If you start a piece as a self described “hit piece” stop.

  • Luckily for Mr. O’Keefe, they say that truth is the ultimate defense…..

  • All the major networks and local newscasts do the same kind of journalism. Ever seen Dateline NBC? Ever seen To Catch a Predator? Ever seen Shame On You (in NYC) or any of the thousand local variations on that theme? They catch bad businesses using hidden cameras and bogus customers.O’Keefe is simply using the same tactics that mainstream journalists have been using ever since the hidden camera was invented.

  • Evidently O’Keffe is landing his hits hard, fast, and effectively — otherwise why would Mike Spies (what a stupid nom de plume) bother with this peurile drivle?  

  • There no news worth noting in this attempted hit piece. Epic Fail.

  • vocativ, thank Matt Drudge, because nobody has heard of you otherwise….

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      1. Bingo! You don’t always get the audience you want, and sometimes you don’t want the audience you get; but hey — numbers are numbers.
  • Okeefe rocks. You’re barely qualified to do his laundry. Trying to make brownie points with some of the Hollywood crowd Okeefe exposed?? Amateur!

  • His voter ID pieces were awesome.  He went to a number of polling places armed with obituaries and was given ballots for dead people.  He didn’t vote with them, just wanted to show how easy it is to do.  Seen on a tombstone:  All my life I voted Republican, but since I died I vote Democrat.

  • O’Keefe is Clark Kent.

  • I recognize that the writer of this piece wants to make an effective case against the claims of O’Keefe and the idea of veritas, as an ethic, not a company name. The author is, however, performing for his demographic in a way that moves money on the table from one side to the next, and is fighting the same battle O’Keefe is, just from his point of view. Both should drop the veneer of self righteousness and just live with the fact that each side of this argument, the great divide between liberals and conservatives, is a free for all blood match and may the best man win. There is no “right” here in toto, just some “right.” I would rather have O’Keefes in the world than not, and I find the article tiresome in the writers relentless condescension.

  • Mr. O’Keefe, simply feeding the libs a little of their own medicine. I love it, that is justice.Rich in New Mexico. 

  • tl;dr – Lots of whining disguised as ‘delving deep into O’Keefe’s world’Blah blah blah…

  • “preying on the ignorance of their marks?”   Are you frickin’ kidding me.  What O’Keefe and his merry band of investigators do is catch lazy, intolerant and people (many whom are on public payrolls or receiving large government grants) engaging in criminal behavior.  He’s taken up the mantle of what the fourth estate used to do in this country before they totally went into the tank for Obama and the entire liberal agenda.

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    • CORRECT! Brian Williams et al should be in prison for their role in the biggest crime/scam (Obama/Jarret) in the history of America. JAIL

    • I have yet to see him catch anyone doing anything criminal! Nice try though

  • O’Keefe’s paranoia about a liberal attack machine seems well founded after reading the “objectivity” on this article.  ACORN was good for the country?  There is no hypocrisy in environmentalists working to enrich oil sheiks?  It’s incredible.

  • Well, after being bored to tears half-way through the first paragraph, I reckon I’ll turn to somethng more interesting. Like Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

  • O’Keefe seems to be doing what Mike Wallace used to do on 60 Minutes. 

  • We can most certainly see that Mike Spies doesn’t care for O’Keefe or his work.  If O’keefe were a liberal conducting these stings against Conservatives, the mainstream media would trip over themeslves praising him and O’Keefe would win all kinds of awards.  

  • O’Keefe’s stings are not “infamous”, they’re famously effective at catching liberals being abject hypocrites, or telling ugly truths they normally don’t volunteer in politically mixed company.

  • Heroes come in many shapes and sizes and often not appreciated in their time….

  • The left is a cancer of liberty.

  • lengthy. if there was a point, i forgot by the time i finished it.

  • “O’Keefe and his operatives prey on the ignorance of their marks”.While I’m sure there’s some ignorance in the mix of folks O’Keefe targets, hypocrisy is the actual rotten core he’s exposing.  He does it well, and he is a much-needed antidote to the “luxury” of that hypocrisy enjoyed by the liberal elites.

  • Time for O’Keefe to do an undercover investigation of your boss, Mati Kochavi, a dual Israeli/US citizen with questionable loyalties to the United States and ties to the Mossad.

  • “What’s eating James O’Keefe”Not really sure, but one thing is clear: James O’Keefe is “eating”at Mike Spies.

  • What a nice pathetic hit piece you did on O’Keefe. This article is filled with nothing but snide condescension and half-truths. Congratulations Mr. Spies, you have earned your invite to the liberal inner circles. Just don’t call yourself a journalist. Like the rest of the MSM, you’re nothing more than a self-important propagandist with an axe to grind.

  • Nice attempt to spin it against O’Keefe, but he’s basically a thin Micheal Moore with less editing and more truth.

  • I love Mr Okeefe. He’s probably one of the last true journalists in America.

  • I was waiting for the hit piece to start, and then the article ended.

  • Obviously this author is frightened of James O’Keefe, just like I was before I “woke up” from the enforced hatreds of my former political party (which is so full of graft, corruption, theft, destruction of the American Black family, as well as destruction of any family this plundering set of organized political criminals can destroy).

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    • Sounds like a Neal Rauhauser friend. Are you, Mike Spies?Because there was no explanation of the planted mug shot either, just stuck in the middle of this “article”.

  • Could you write a more boring article? I doubt it.

  • tl;dr

  • I stopped reading when the author started to editorialize that fracking is bad.  Frack yesterday, frack today, frack tomorrow and frack til the well is dry. I highly recommend the movie fracknation.  

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    • Thanks for your comment, but nowhere in the piece do I state or allege that fracking is bad. I only refer to the anti-fracking activists targeted by O’Keefe. 

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      • the underpinning of your literary license clearly rests in one of two positions there Mike – either #1) you are indeed anti-fracking, as well as on the target side of every other O’Keefe expose’ or #2) you are opposed to the mischief behind his ways.  I suspect it is indeed #1 based on the verbosity of your piece which suggests an agenda. But if it is indeed #2, perhaps you believe the literary license of a conservative needs to be more limited than that of a liberal?

    • Not to mention the author’s mischaracterization of the demise of Acorn. Denial much?

  • I love O’Keefe!  Kepp it up, buddy!

  • Has author Michael Spies ever described the subject of any other articles as being from “an insular, solidly black community”? 

  • An attempted lefty hit job on O’Keefe.  Like being hit in the face by a butterfly. Woo. woo. What a thing.The great thing about libs is that for all their bluster and noise you can brush them away like a damp cloth.

  • I am anti fracking because of what it can do to underground water sources. If there ever was a clean alternative to oil we would never see it. It would be crushed under a mountain of bureaucracy.

  • Love you.

  • Well that was a lot of nothing.

  • Anybody else old enough to remember when 60 Minutes did stuff like this? After a while, they gave up and became part of the lapdog Ministry of Truth. I guess Morley Safer didn’t like the idea of getting a gasoline nozzle shoved up his backside and then lit.

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    • It’s amusing, the truth to this author is a self described “hit peice.”  How can you downplay Acorn’s influence when they were routinely proven to violate law after receiving millions in federal funding (not just private donations as our authors emphasizes).  Even in the “objective peice” there is a pervasive liberal slant which is ultimately Veritas’ point… That is the true irony of this article.

  • Love your twist on his definition of ‘investigative journalism.’  He’s doing exactly what every investigative journalist does.  They go undercover to expose fraudulent, and dishonest activity within companies and organizations who have no idea they are on camera.  He hasn’t redefined investigative journalism, the MSM has.

  • It’s a real shame we can;t rely on the press to show the corruption. Thank god for citizen journalists like OKeefe. 

  • Doing the job that the DNC shills in the MSM won’t.

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    • Keep fighting the good fight! The socialist establishment hates you but (the logical and intelligent side) have your back my friend.

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