The Jury Is In: James O'Keefe Is NOT A Journalist
Compared to the pending criminal investigation in which James O'Keefe's shop is alleged to have paid a couple of goons to steal Ashley Biden's rehab diary, a $120,000 civil verdict against the dipshit provocateur and his company Project Veritas is relatively small beer. And yet, a jury finding that what O'Keefe and his goon squad are doing is not journalism and is unworthy of the protections of the First Amendment matters. A lot.
In 2016, a Veritas operative named Daniel Sandini but calling himself Charles Roth — probably they chose a Jewish name by coincidence, right? — schmoozed Democratic firm Democracy Partners and, after wiring a $20,000 donation, asked for his "niece" to be given an internship. The "niece," a younger woman named "Angela Brandt," was actually another Veritas operative named Allison Maass. Maass then infiltrated the organization, recording all her interactions and removing documents.
The upshot of the operation was a heavily edited video in which Democracy Partners was accused of scheming to provoke violence by Trump supporters, something the organization adamantly denies. In 2017, Democracy Partners sued Veritas, Sandini, Maass, and O'Keefe alleging a raft of tortious conduct, including breach of fiduciary duty and illegally recording the plaintiffs.
O'Keefe responded with an anti-SLAPP motion likening himself to Upton Sinclair and Nellie Bly.
"From revealing the sad state of affairs at slaughterhouses to exposing medical fraud, America is a better place because of undercover journalism," he vamped. "When unorthodox journalists step in to demonstrate abuses in America’s asylums — like Nellie Bly did — or go undercover to show corruption in the American political process — like James O’Keefe does — the First Amendment must offer a serious defense against frivolous lawsuits designed to chill it."
Why, yes, that would be the same James O'Keefe who tried to lure a CNN reporter onto a dildo lube boat to make a secret sex tape to humiliate her. The one who pled guilty to entering a federal property under false pretenses after donning coveralls and a clipboard and trying to bug a Democratic senator's office. You know, the very real journalist who had to fork over $100,000 to an ACORN employee after filming him without consent for one of his slimy "journalism" projects. (That was Wonkette's scoop right there, you are welcome world!)
Would it shock you to learn that this free speech warrior and defender of the sacred right of journalists to practice their craft sued CNN and the New York Times for doing just that, and even had the nerve to threaten Your Wonkette for making BESMIRCH STATEMENTS which damaged his heretofore sterling reputation?
None of that is "journalism," despite O'Keefe's attempt to wrap himself in the mantle of people who took real risks to expose corruption and probably wouldn't piss on O'Keefe if he were on fire. Also not journalism, THIS, as described by the New York Times:
According to a Project Veritas email and trial exhibit, Mr. O’Keefe offered cash bonuses to his employees to obtain incriminating statements, and $2,500 bonuses if Mr. Trump mentioned their videos in the presidential debates later that October. The email is marked “highly confidential.”
Ditto for paying someone to steal the future president's daughter's stuff and then trying to leverage it into a sitdown with the candidate. ALLEGEDLY.
The motion to dismiss was quickly denied, and yesterday a jury found the group was engaged in fraudulent misrepresentation instead of actual journalism and assessed a $120,000 penalty. Because real journalists tell the damn truth, unlike O'Keefe and his band of lying chaos monkeys who do anything but.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.