James O'Keefe made a name for himself in 2009 with his deceptively edited, secretly recorded, and now discredited ACORN videos. Since then, he has pleaded guilty to entering Sen. Mary Landrieu's Louisiana office under false pretenses. Now reports say that O'Keefe attempted to “punk” a CNN reporter by luring her onto a boat “filled with sexually explicit props” and recording the encounter. Media Matters looks back at the praise conservatives have previously heaped on O'Keefe.
Media conservatives declared O'Keefe “deserve[s] a Pulitzer” for deceptively edited ACORN videos
Breitbart: O'Keefe “is already well on his way to being one of the great journalists” and deserves a Pulitzer. On the September 10, 2009, edition of Fox News' Hannity, BigGovernment.com founder Andrew Breitbart said of the ACORN videos, “It was two intrepid -- a 25-year-old by the name of James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles. She wants to be a journalist and I think James is already well on his way to being one of the great journalists.” Breitbart added that “I'm just here to tell you that James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles are heroes for doing this because we all knew that this is what happens at ACORN, to a degree.” Breitbart further stated of O'Keefe and Giles on the September 14 edition of Hannity, "[L]et me tell you. I've never been more proud of two people in my entire life." In a September 21 Washington Times column, Breitbart further wrote, “At the very least, filmmaker James O'Keefe and actress Hannah Giles deserve a Pulitzer Prize for their expose of deep corruption and unspeakable immorality at the ACORN housing division. But more important, I won't rest until they receive a grant to continue their partisan artistry from the National Endowment for the Arts.”
Beck: Giles' “partner in crime” O'Keefe is “courageous.” Glenn Beck hosted Hannah Giles, who helped produce the videos, during the September 10, 2009, edition of his Fox News program and stated, “I talked to you on the radio program earlier today. I encouraged you not to expose yourself anymore. I think that you are a very courageous person. I think your partner in crime here, or exposing crime is also courageous.” (All television transcripts were accessed via the Nexis database.)
Hannity: O'Keefe is a “pioneer in journalism.” Sean Hannity stated during the September 14, 2009, edition of his Fox News program, while hosting Breitbart and Giles, “Hannah, you are -- you have taught the media a lesson. You should be very proud. Andrew, you've always been a brave, you know, pioneer in journalism and same with James O'Keefe.”
O'Reilly: “Frank and Conyers should be giving Ms. Giles and Mr. O'Keefe congressional medals.” Bill O'Reilly stated on the September 23, 2009, edition of his Fox News program, “Congressman Frank of Massachusetts and Congressman Conyers of Michigan want Congressional investigators to see if the undercover duo broke any federal laws. In addition, they want to find out exactly what ACORN is guilty of and they want to examine the group's housing opportunities agenda.” O'Reilly added, “In my opinion, Frank and Conyers should be giving Ms. Giles and Mr. O'Keefe congressional medals for exposing corruption that apparently the Feds were not able to expose.”
Michael Flynn agrees O'Keefe is a hero, says O'Keefe is owed “an apology and also a thank you for rooting out these employees.” BigGovernment.com editor in chief Michael Flynn stated during the September 10, 2009, edition of Hannity, “You know, it really -- and I really think, I mean, to bill [sic] on what Andrew said about them being heroes, I mean, I really think ACORN owes a big apology to the Mr. O'Keefe. This morning they put out a statement, you know, charging him with gotcha journalism and said he was committing defamation.” Flynn added, “And then a few hours later, apparently, doing their own investigation, realizing there was truth to what Mr. O'Keefe reported they fired these employees. So they definitely owe Mr. O'Keefe an apology and also a thank you for rooting out these employees.”
Coulter: O'Keefe and Giles are “so magnificent.” Appearing on the September 11, 2009, edition of Fox News' Hannity, Ann Coulter said of O'Keefe and Giles, “Those were the two most unbelievable pimps and prostitutes I've ever seen. She has perfect skin, gorgeous hair. Oh, and I really liked the fur coat. I love that.” She added, “These young right-winners [sic], they are so magnificent. Why can't they -- they be the Republicans in Washington?”
Lowry: O'Keefe deserves “award for impactful guerilla journalism.” In a September 15, 2009, post titled “ACORN” on the blog The Corner, National Review editor Rich Lowry wrote: “If there's an award for impactful guerilla journalism, O'Keefe, Giles, and Breitbart should win it.”
Examiner.com's Dupray: “Looks like a Pulitzer might be in order.” In a September 15, 2009, Examiner.com post, “DC Republican Examiner” Bill Dupray stated, “The big takeaway here is not even that ACORN is a bunch of criminals, it is that it took two conservative investigative journalists to do the job of the entire main stream media. Looks like a Pulitzer might be in order.”
Wallace featured “fascinating character” O'Keefe as “Power Player of the Week.” During the September 27, 2009, edition of Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace named O'Keefe the “Power Player of the Week,” and stated, “Rarely does a piece of investigative reporting get such a big and quick response, and rarely is the undercover reporter such a fascinating character.”
Steven Clark: O'Keefe should be “immunize[d]” for his “heroic efforts” in producing ACORN videos. Attorney and frequent TV legal analyst Steven Clark stated on the October 2, 2009, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, “What I hope the attorney general will do is immunize these two filmmakers for their heroic efforts and put them on the witness stand so at least they can testify as to what's going on out there. I doubt you will see them prosecuted. I hope they look carefully at what they were doing before they did it. They put themselves in harm's way here because of the bigger problem that they saw with ACORN.”
Bolling on ACORN videos: “I'm all for this, you know, dressing up and catching them.” Fox Business Network Happy Hour co-host Eric Bolling said to O'Keefe on November 20, 2009, “I'm all for this, you know dressing up and catching them doing things that are frankly illegal, immoral and unethical.” Bolling went on to characterize O'Keefe as an “investigative journalist, just like, remember, 'To Catch a Predator.' ”
Fox Business' Willard: "[E]verybody applauds" O'Keefe. Also on the November 20, 2009, edition of Happy Hour, co-host Cody Willard said to O'Keefe, "[O]ne of the things -- I think everybody applauds you in going after people that are, I don't know, helping prostitutes and pimps and child trafficking happen on the planet instead of, I don't know reporting that type of stuff. But I got to ask you, you know the money that goes into ACORN, we're talking about $100 million here and there, what not, why did you choose ACORN as the target when there are, I don't know, much bigger targets, for example, say Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street bailouts, all kinds of other corruption out there?" Willard later added, “James, I tell you what, man, little brother is watching big brother. Orwell had it wrong. That's the man right there” and told O'Keefe to "[r]ock on, man."