January 28, 2010

Thug Journalism

Remember the whole Acorn brouhaha last summer, stirred up by the questionable journalism tactics of James O'Keefe and his troupe of actors? It turns out he has less regard for journalism and the law than even previously thought.

New York Times is reporting: "After Arrest, Provocateur's Tactics Questioned." He was arrested trying to tamper with the phone system at Senator Mary L. Landrieu's district office. It's not yet been revealed what the nature of this tampering was, or whether they can prove there was wiretapping involved, but the fellow has definitely stepped into a mess that calls not only his tactics, but the trustworthiness of his journalism into question. Perhaps acting like a shock radio jock and putting it all in print is not the path to journalistic integrity after all.

This latest transgression is bad enough that prominent conservative movement media folk are distancing themselves from his recent work after cashing large paychecks last summer riding the wake of his Acorn story and generalizing wildly on it, weaving scary liberal boogieman campfire stories.

Campus Republicans can be an angry bunch, but they That NYT story reveals O'Keefe's narrow view of journalism:

"James always said, 'Journalism is putting a camera in someone's face until they do something stupid,' " said Cain Barry, who worked with Mr. O'Keefe at The Centurion, a conservative publication at Rutgers, until Mr. O'Keefe graduated in 2006. "A lot of people wanted to follow what he did."

In this case, nobody even had to put a camera in the guy's face before he did something really stupid. We just had to wait a few months.

Posted by James at January 28, 2010 8:13 AM
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When I first saw this story, I had to read it twice to be sure that I understood it correctly. (That seems to happen a lot lately. Ted Olsen and Cindy McCain fighting to overturn Prop 8?) His tactics were downright cartoonish.

Posted by: Julie at January 28, 2010 9:29 AM

Politics makes strange bedfellows.

Posted by: James at January 28, 2010 9:53 AM

A cool outcome would be if they were able to get warrants for searching his place for evidence and unearthed the unaltered ACORN footage.

Posted by: briwei at January 28, 2010 9:58 AM

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