The increasingly lame defenses of James O'Keefe

Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

I'd wager there aren't many people right now who would count themselves among James O'Keefe's supporters -- at least, far fewer than there were before he was arrested for entering Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office under false pretenses with the purpose of committing a felony. But what friends he does have left are doing their damndest to exonerate him in the court of public opinion. The problem is they clearly don't have a whole lot to work with.

Andrew Breitbart -- O'Keefe's patron and mentor -- got the ball rolling with the absurdly concocted smear that the U.S. attorney's office and the Justice Department conspired with the media to "frame" O'Keefe while he sat in a jail cell (a theory that O'Keefe himself did much to undermine). Breitbart's evidence for this allegation has been, well, nonexistent, though he would like to think that U.S. attorney Jim Letten's recusal from the case shows that he's on the right track. Unfortunately for him, Letten recused himself the day after the arrests were made -- days before Breitbart's conspiracy theory took shape.

And then there's Hannah Giles, O'Keefe's partner in the undercover ACORN "pimp" videos, who posted a missive on BigGovernment.com this morning lauding her colleague's actions in New Orleans for "strip[ping] away the MSM's mask of neutrality, revealing the bias below." Giles also informed us what she's learned from the whole situation: "the MSM is the primary force of the Democratic Party. If the MSM is lying to you, guess who else is? Someone has to feed them stories. Time and time again the MSM has been caught in a self-created web of lies, and the vast majority of these reports do one thing, and that is mask the true, ugly face of liberalism."

You can try and recast O'Keefe's arrest as some sort of heroic exposé of the mainstream media's alleged bias, but here's the thing -- there are great sectors of the right-wing new media that devote every waking moment to "exposing" the "bias" of the media, and they do so without getting arrested. She's praising him for risking jail time in order to achieve something the bias sleuths at NewsBusters claim to do (ineptly, I might add) every day. That's not "citizen journalism," that's stupidity.

Giles also accuses Landrieu's office of "vastly exaggerat[ing] the situation" and writes that "Landrieu's overreaction to O'Keefe's video project ought make [sic] the public wonder what the heck is actually going on in the office." According to Giles, the "overreaction" and "exaggeration" Landrieu is alleged to have engaged in was a statement from the senator reading: "This is a very unusual situation and somewhat unsettling for me and my staff. The individuals responsible have been charged with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purposes of committing a felony. I am as interested as everyone else about their motives and purpose, which I hope will become clear as the investigation moves forward."

So the senator is unsettled and curious as to why four men were arrested in her office, and accurately stated the charges filed against the alleged perpetrators. This counts as an "exaggerated" "overreaction"?

Anyway, Giles wrapped things up with a swipe at conservative blogger Michelle Malkin for, in Giles' words, "call[ing] for an example to be made out of [O'Keefe], and instructing other young journalists to not follow in his footsteps." There's not much that Michelle Malkin and I agree on, but we're on the same page when it comes to not teaching kids to get arrested in the name of political activism posing as journalism.

Person
Andrew Breitbart, James O'Keefe, Hannah Giles
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