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No, honey, the rats are just playing a little rough.


Convicted scam video maker James O'Keefe and his "Project Veritas" (Latin for "Keep sending money, suckers") have finally unleashed the fruits of the group's "yearlong undercover investigation" of the "Hillary Clinton machine," and this time, he's uncovered enormous crimes that reach to the highest levels of government a couple of Democratic operatives who appear to admit to dirty tricks, depending on how the video was edited. As Bob Cesca points out at Daily Banter, O'Keefe has been caught lying, faking, and misleadingly editing so many times that there's virtually never any reason to give him the benefit of the doubt. Here's Cesca's summary of the pair of videos O'Keefe excreted onto the interwebs Monday and Tuesday (one might even say he dropped a deuce). We have watched the videos -- a terrific excuse for day drinking if ever there was one -- and Cesca pretty much nails it here:

O'Keefe and his team of Breitbart hooligans scammed their way into meetings with two Democratic Party operatives, specifically Scott Foval from Americans United For Change, along with Robert Creamer from Democracy Partners. The two consultants allegedly revealed that they not only orchestrated communications between the Hillary Clinton campaign and super-PACs via intermediaries including the DNC, but they also apparently coordinated dirty tricks to incite Trump supporters into violent outbursts.

This is the extent of the revelations -- that is if the content of the videos is to be believed, and it shouldn't be. Obviously. Why? Because James O'Keefe has yet to produce a single sting video that's held up to scrutiny.

So, here they are, in all their glory, "Rigging the Election" (catchy, original title!) Parts One And Two. The first one claims that pretty much all the violence at Trump rallies was provoked by Democratic operatives (apparently angry Trumpkins have no control over what they do with their fists), and that Scott Foval and Americans United for Change personally organized the rowdy protests that led to the cancellation of Trump's rally at the University of Illinois-Chicago back in March. The second video promises an in-depth expose of exactly how Democrats have engaged in massive voter fraud for over fifty years!!!!!

Notice the heavy use of jump cuts and sound editing, plus what appears to be outright bullshit, like O'Keefe's grave pronouncement at the end of the first video: "Corruption. As you can see, it's alive and well in our country, and you're paying for it!" That one's a real puzzler, seeing as how the videos focus on a couple of private political organizations, not government agencies. (Maybe they're 501(c)(3) groups, and thus tax exempt? Guess that would be "not altogether false.") Yes, they really make these two guys look bad, but remember, that's James O'Keefe's sole purpose in life.

We rather like O'Keefe's claim at the beginning of the second video that the only reason these videos haven't aired on TV stations around the country is that the stations fear retribution from a possible Hillary Clinton administration. Sure, they do! That, or they know who James O'Keefe is, and how he works.

The second video also includes a classic O'Keefe strategy, in which the "journalist" brainstorms with the mark a potential strategy for committing a huge voting fraud scheme. No need to present any evidence whatsoever that such a thing has happened, but they sure did talk about it a lot. Therefore, it must be happening.

So, how much malfeasance on the part of Hillary Clinton and the DNC has O'Keefe uncovered? About zero -- at most, he's caught a couple of longtime political players in groups that are not part of the Clinton campaign bragging about stuff they could do or could have done, with no proof that they've actually done it. It's really an elegant bait and switch: O'Keefe has been bragging about all his operatives inside the Hillary Clinton campaign, and he serves up two guys from minor progressive organizations. Which quickly fired the guys. Democracy Partners issued a statement Tuesday condemning both O'Keefe's group and the alleged dirty tricks shown in the videos:

Our firm has recently been the victim of a well-funded, systematic spy operation that is the modern day equivalent of the Watergate burglars,” the firm said. “The plot involved the use of trained operatives using false identifications, disguises and elaborate false covers to infiltrate our firm and others, to steal campaign plans, and goad unsuspecting individuals into making careless statements on hidden cameras. One of those individuals was a temporary regional subcontractor who was goaded into statements that do not reflect our values.

So it wasn't the Hillary Clinton campaign at all, but that's fine -- making the claims is all O'Keefe really needs to win credibility in the Wingnuttosphere. Dead Breitbart's Home For Free-Floating Rage is hyping these videos as the absolute proof that the elections are rigged, although perhaps somewhat cautiously, in light of the tendency for O'Keefe's "investigations" to fall apart with time -- the block of stories on the videos is at the very end of the Breitbart homepage:

The Washington Post notes Foval, the operative fired by Americans United for Change,

seems to overhype his successes. Reporters who covered the Trump UIC appearance found that students, not Americans United for Change, were responsible for the shutdown of the Trump rally.

On the other hand, O'Keefe does find one activist, Zulema Rodriguez, who "says on tape that she was there and 'did that.'" Conspiracy proven!

O'Keefe is an expert at turning pure bullshit into controversy, and even when he appears to catch people saying shocking or incriminating things, those audio and video snippets -- which have resulted in people resigning or getting fired -- often turn out to have been doctored. Another example from the Washington Post: in a 2011 "sting" of National Public Radio, deceptive editing completely twisted an NPR executive's words out of context:

Subsequent investigations found discrepancies between how the undercover journalists approached their targets and how they packaged what the targets said. In the latter case, then-NPR executive Ron Schiller quoted a Republican who viewed tea party activists as “racist.” The edited clip made it appear that Schiller himself held that opinion.

In a jaw-dropping 2011 interview with Bob Garfield on WNYC's "On The Media," O'Keefe said he thought the editing was perfectly fair, because "I think it’s also clear that he’s agreeing with them." So yeah, he's a real peach of a "journalist."

The thing with O'Keefe videos, as the Columbia Journalism Review said after the NPR "sting," is the stories James O'Keefe puts together tend to fall apart pretty quickly, as facts get checked and the full source videos are compared to the final, heavily edited product. To its credit, Glenn Beck's website The Blaze actually took apart the NPR story, demonstrating how O'Keefe had twisted things around and taken quotes completely out of context.

This time around, Project Vermin isn't planning on ever releasing the raw, unedited video:

“The reporting process and methods of Project Veritas Action are proven successful and effective and are the protected intellectual property and trade secrets of Project Veritas Action,” said Steve Gordon, a spokesman for the PVAction Fund. “This policy is in accordance with the practices of news organizations globally and is generally accepted as the professional norm.”

So no, they don't have to show you their raw tape. NBC doesn't, so why should they? Here's one reason, again from the WaPo coverage: already, one of the people seen in the second video, César Vargas,

claims that PVAction left out exculpatory video of the interview. “They have a transcript of our conversation to confirm I told them that voting twice was illegal,” Vargas wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. “I will not respond to Fox News or the trolls but let them have their field day of conspiracies.”

We're not defending Foval or Creamer -- they appear to be talking about some pretty sleazy stuff. But it's an O'Keefe joint, so "appear to be" is the key phrase there.

The process of the truth getting its shoes tied is starting already; White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday the videos

should be taken with “a whole packet of salt” because of what he said is his penchant for selectively editing footage to cast subjects in an unflattering light.

“I’ve been asked about videos that have come from this outlet in the past, and each time I have tried to urge people to take those reports not at face value," Earnest said. "Because despite what the name might suggest, these videos have not often revealed the truth."

“At this point, I would urge extreme caution in drawing conclusions on anybody’s character” as a result of the videos, Earnest said.

Not that fact checking, or O'Keefe's history of lying really matter all that much. He's got "proof" the election is rigged, and that's good enough for the Trumpsters. Expect Donald Trump to bring up this idiocy at tonight's debate -- and for him to keep talking about it even after it's debunked.

Oh, and as to that headline up there? We almost forgot: Wonkette broke the story of James O'Keefe paying a nice ACORN man one hundred thousand dollars for lying all over him. Because it's what he does.

[WaPo / Daily Banter / On the Media / Columbia Journalism Review / The Hill]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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