Hidden camera politics is the new creepiness

Hidden camera hatAll’s fair in love and war, correct? Today’s new creepiness: Video camera “stings” by your political enemies.

Now for only about $200 you can own your own video camera surveillance hat complete with USB cable! Yes, it’s that easy! That makes it so accessible any wingnut can make a go of it!

When TV news used the hidden camera trick to catch bad guy mechanics unnecessarily charging to replace new oil filters, that was not so bad. Those guys needed to be stopped and the people with the cameras were motivated mostly by journalistic standards.

When it is your political enemies, though, all bets are off. They don’t have any obligation or desire to adhere to basic principles of journalism.

By now most of us have heard of the recent uproar over the ACORN hidden camera “stings.” The videos were made by “conservative activists” James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles. In the videos O’Keefe poses as a pimp and Giles as a prostitute. They visit ACORN offices seeking advice on buying a house and how to report prostitution income on tax forms. They also ask for advice on how to set up a prostitution ring using underage girls from El Salvador. The ACORN employees (who have since been fired) made the very unfortunate mistake of attempting to give the pair legitimate advice when their response more properly should have been: Step the hell off!

O’Keefe must play one convincing pimp and Giles must play one convincing prostitute!

The hidden camera film has been effective, though. The U.S. Census dropped a “partnership” with ACORN after the videos and some federal funding was pulled.

Was the hidden camera activity legal? The ACORN sting filmmaker may face felony state charges. I’d be quite surprised if anything comes of this, and even if it did, I’m sure the partisan turned pimp actor would think it was worth it. Zealots usually have no problem being martyrs and tend to believe truisms like “the ends justifies the means.” In the meantime, the filmmaker may have other problems on his hands as ACORN sues O’Keefe, Giles and Breitbart.com (which put the videos online) for “illegal videotaping” in association with the hidden camera videos.

Whatever comes of all this won’t really matter. The political damage has already been done. This goes down as a victorious battle in the overall ongoing nasty war of the political spectrum.

My prediction? What is good for the goose is good for the gander. I have no doubt we’ll be seeing more tactics like these from both sides in the very near future. Personally I can’t wait to see behind the scenes footage of something like an Americans For Prosperity brainstorming session.

One thing seems clear. If someone shows up wearing a baseball hat and wants to discuss weird, shady and illegal stuff with you, I’d frisk ’em for electronics!

9 responses

  1. […] wrote about this James O’Keefe fellow back in September 2009 in a blog post entitled: Hidden camera politics is the new creepiness. O’Keefe posed as a pimp and got people at ACORN to say some unfortunate things to his hidden […]


  2. The ACORN episodes added to my continued outrage at all of the money being funneled to thuggish groups of all types. It’s too bad that these two had to be the ones to expose this. Newspapers and television stations are spineless. This used to be the sort of expose (the e needs an accent mark) they thrived on. Now, it’s all entertainment “news”. Who is looking out for us, the citizens? Not the people in charge nor the media, that’s for sure. I’m sorry I don’t feel an outrage at these tactics, just sadness that we didn’t have anyone in authority looking into this. Or they did look into it and looked the other way.


  3. Were there individuals within the ACORN organization who were apparently caught on tape making unfortunate comments? Yes, apparently. (Some have expressed concern that exonerating comments made by the same people caught on tape were conveniently edited out. In today’s world of things like fraud and photoshop you can never be too sure.)

    Even if true at face value, though, what does that prove about the organization itself? I say, “not much.”

    Any sociologist can tell you about experiments (since banned due to ethics) that alarmingly elicited frightening behavior among us humans. Things like getting people to administer lethal does of electricity to other humans in test conditions. Or things like the prison guard experiment where the assumption of certain roles by randomly selected subjects (prisoner and guard) caused shocking behavior traits in less than three days forcing the experiment to be terminated early.

    I doubt Mr. O'Keefe recognizes the ethics of sociological experimentation. More importantly, his results don't prove anything. I theorize that you could get similar results from any organization by inducing the right set of testing conditions.

    Just my opinion. 🙂


    1. I’d be interested in seeing those exonerating comments….I can’t imagine what they might say that could change the appearance of fraud. As for what does this tape say about the organization? I think it says that just about anyone can come in to the Acorn office and get federal money for any reason. 😉


      1. I think it was ACORN who expressed the concerns about what might have been edited out. I can’t imagine what it might be, either. Perhaps something along the lines of “theoretically” and “of course we would never assist anyone with something like that.” 🙂

        Obviously, if the “exonerating comments edited out” theory is true, ACORN would not have access to that footage.

        I think the videos had entertainment value but proved little else. I also think O’Keefe may have been breaking the law by making them in the first place.


  4. My main point is that it’s a shame that these amateurs were the first to reveal these scumbags. And they did reveal them rather easily. No members of the media ever had the spine to look into these scamsters. 😦


  5. I love these little faces! 🙂


    1. Yeah, apparently they are built in. 🙂


  6. […] Eat my camera, Congressman Posted: June 14, 2010 by shoutabyss in fail Tags: ambush, camera, confrontation, creepiness, james o'keefe, politics, video 0 Back in September 2009 I predicted shit like this was going to happen in my post Hidden camera politics in the new creepiness. […]


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