Back in September 2009 I predicted shit like this was going to happen in my post Hidden camera politics in the new creepiness.
Sadly I was right. 😦
This wasn’t a hidden camera but it sure was an in-your-face camera. Lots of little James O’Keefe wannabes running around out there now. Cameras are cheap and everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame without having the prerequisite talent and/or putting in the work. Welcome to the 21st century.
Prepare yourself for a lot more of this sort of thing.
James O’ Keefe, who brought the world the famous pimp videos of ACORN, is expected to enter a plea before a federal magistrate regarding misdemeanor charges on Wednesday, May 26, 2010. He is accused of entering federal property under false pretenses regarding a stunt he pulled in the offices of Senator Mary Landrieu.
Originally faced with potential felony charges in regards to the incident, a guilty plea to the misdemeanor charge is expected to avoid jail time for O’Keefe and his co-defendants.
James O’Keefe AKA “The ACORN Pimp” is a man who has popped up on my radar in the past.
O’Keefe was arrested earlier this week for attempting to interfere with a Senator’s telephone and released on $10,000 bond.
He tweeted about his arrest the other night:
“I am a journalist. The truth shall set me free.”
Journalist. Truth. Interesting word choices. Perhaps those will apply once he get hired by FOX News? You know, the only thing that scares me more than partisan scoundrels is the true believers. At least the scoundrels know they are bad. Re-read the quote above. This dude thinks of himself as a crusader of truth. Gag me!
To get your 15-minutes of fame I think there are three likely approaches:
- Excel at something
- Be lucky/unlucky (right place at the wrong time, etc.)
- Use a cheap gimmick
Mr. O’Keefe is definitely a #3 kind of guy. His shtick is to make video and audio recordings of people without their knowledge and consent. A tactic which, by the way, has put him on the receiving end of some lawsuits. He was sued by ACORN last fall and again sued just last Thursday by an ACORN employee featured in one of his videos.
By the way, isn’t it generally illegal to make an audio recording of someone without their knowledge and consent?
- In 2006 O’Keefe got his start with hidden camera exploits by teaming up with a pro-life activist and having her pose as a 13-year-old pregnant teenager. His target: Planned Parenthood. His ploy: Trying to get representatives to say his friend should lie in order to qualify for abortions.
- In 2007 O’Keefe continued targeting Planned Parenthood, this time pretending to be a financial donor with very specific desires, namely that his donation would be limited to performing abortions on minorities because, as he put it, “the less black kids out there the better.”
- In 2009 O’Keefe went after ACORN and hit the big time while posing as a pimp seeking smuggling and tax advice for women posing as his prostitutes.
- On Monday, Jan. 25, 2010, O’Keefe allegedly attempted to tamper with the phone of a Senator in a federal building and was subsequently arrested. He was charged with entering federal property under false pretenses to commit a felony after they told an aide to the senator that they needed access to the office’s main phone line.
On Tuesday, January 26, 2010, O’Keefe and his three accomplices appeared in federal magistrate court, all wearing matching red inmate jumpsuits from St. Bernard Parish Prison. Apparently this was one time in his life when the camera wasn’t capturing his every move. Too bad. I have been unable to find his mugshot or a photo of him in his dashing inmate garb. The U.S. Magistrate Judge allowed the four men to be released on $10,000 bond each. If convicted, O’Keefe faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Woot!
It is unclear why Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu was targeted, but it could have something to do with her support of health care legislation currently in Congress. I’ve also heard that her phone line may have been busy a lot. Maybe she was blocking the calls of some protesters?
So, aside from being a sneaky, nefarious douchebag, and proving that he supports the concept “two wrongs make a right” (a favorite theme among the “ends justifies the means” crowd), what, if anything, have we learned from Mr. O’Keefe’s tactics and previous successes at capturing video of people making unfortunate statements?
O’Keefe’s pattern has been clear. He enters a facility or offices under false pretenses, in disguise or pretending to be something he’s not. He surreptitiously creates video and audio records of repeated attempts to get persons to make damaging statements. The audio portion of his efforts may even be illegal. He initiates the situation, selects and places the actors, sets the stage, and actively tries to illicit the responses he’s after. If law enforcement personal attempted tactics such as these against random people (no probable cause) their results would rightly be challenged and most likely invalid. Can you say “entrapment?”
Be that as it may, let’s examine the results O’Keefe obtained. He is persistent. He hits and hits and hits again until, lo and behold, he’s able to catch a few persons making statements they shouldn’t have. As a person with an agenda his targets are “across the aisle” organizations. He certainly isn’t going out of his way to make organizations he is friendly with look bad.
Yes, he has captured some unfortunate statements, but what has he proven?
- Did he prove that Planned Parenthood was a corrupt organization or that individual persons said things they shouldn’t have?
- Did he prove that ACORN was a corrupt organization or that individual persons said things they shouldn’t have?
- With repeated efforts, could you eventually catch something like this in almost any organization on planet Earth?
- Do his findings have any meaning based on the deceptive tactics he employs?
Law enforcement can’t operate using O’Keefe style tactics. Perhaps private citizens shouldn’t be allowed those tactics, either.
By the way, O’Keefe and his ACORN hating cohorts claimed that every ACORN office they visited was complicit. A police report proves that’s a lie. At least one person at ACORN that was targeted by O’Keefe “asked the filmmakers to leave the ACORN office in Philadelphia and called the police after the filmmakers asked suspicious questions.”
Crusaders of truth don’t lie. The ends don’t always justify the means. Two wrongs do not make a right. His parents must have left that stuff out during his formative years. No wonder his daddy is defending him and saying stuff like O’Keefe only used “bad judgement.” Said daddy to the media, “I know my son. My son wouldn’t attempt anything illegal.”
Bad parenting oughta be against the law! Next time try teaching some morals and values, dad.
I 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 camera. He enjoyed his 15-minutes of fame and then some.
Now Mr. O’Keefe is back in the news. As Reuters puts it: Activist accused of tampering with senator’s phone.
This is a breaking story and details are still sketchy. But it seems O’Keefe just might have gone out and bought himself a heap ‘o serious trouble. A little organization known as the FBI would now like a bit of his time. I feel pretty sure that the authorities will take a rather dim view of attempting to interfere with a Senator’s phone in a Federal building. Indeed!
Of course, O’Keefe is innocent until proven guilty. But if this story pans out, score another victory for truth, justice and the American way. Oops. “The ends justifies the means.” Yep. That’s better. If he’s guilty, no doubt we’ll see a crybaby book extolling the virtues of “how to root out corruption by breaking the law.”
Some people just ain’t got no sense. Or morals. Or ethics. Again, allegedly.
If convicted, the four face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a $250,000 fine, the FBI said.
Oh Lord, please hear my humble prayer!
All’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.