Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller this week again lent its support to conservative videographer James O'Keefe as he set out to blow the whistle on an almost non-existent balloting problem; citizens impersonating other people at the polling place. The Daily Caller excitedly touted O'Keefe's “bombshell” report available “exclusively” at Carlson's site.
In this case, O'Keefe and his colleagues set out to show how easy it was to obtain a ballot at New Hampshire polling places by giving the name of a recently deceased voter.
But like his most recent undercover efforts, O'Keefe's New Hampshire sting has generated very little traction within the mainstream media. That may be in part because questions were immediately raised as to whether O'Keefe's New Hampshire team was the one guilty of breaking election laws by illegally obtaining ballots.
From Media Matters:
Now election officials and election law experts are suggesting that he may be implicated in another illegal scheme. They say that in attempting to create an undercover video showing how easy it is to commit voter fraud, James O'Keefe's associates may have run afoul of those laws themselves.
Ironic, we know. Trying to highlight rare bouts of voter fraud, O'Keefe may have broken the law by committing voter fraud. Specifically, O'Keefe and his team may have broken the law by falsely identifying themselves at the polling place, as well as by failing to get both parties to consent to be videotaped.
So yes, another O'Keefe production that appears to be riddled with legal jeopardy for O'Keefe himself. So how has The Daily Caller handled that turn of events regarding the story it “exclusively” sponsored? Answer: The Daily Caller has done as little as possible to address the issue of whether O'Keefe's team broke the law. Which means The Daily Caller, as with O'Keefe's NPR sting last year, has acted more like O'Keefe's publicist than as journalists.
For instance, from one of its O'Keefe updates this week, this was the entirety of The Daily Caller's reporting about the activist's questionable methods:
O'Keefe said his operatives didn't break the law and didn't vote even when they successfully obtained ballots.
Oh, well if O'Keefe says he didn't break the law it must be true, right? Note that the article didn't try to inform readers why election experts think O'Keefe may have broken the law. Nor did The Daily Caller inform readers that multiple New Hampshire officials had gone on the record demanding O'Keefe and his colleagues be prosecuted.
From the New Hampshire Union-Leader:
“They should be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. When I was in the Senate, I always heard, 'This never happens.' This is proof this happens,” said Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.
“People who pull stunts like this should be prosecuted,” Nashua City Clerk Paul Bergeron said.
The thing is, we've seen this weak act before, where The Daily Caller dutifully covers up O'Keefe's tracks; tracks that run right through The Daily Caller.
Last year, the site proudly presented O'Keefe NPR sting operation, boasting about its exclusivity and daring critics to punch holes in O'Keefe's operation, in which he claimed to have captured NPR fundraisers bad mouthing conservatives. Well, critics soon did punch holes in the enterprise and the entire sting collapsed when it was discovered O'Keefe, yet again, had used dishonest editing to misrepresent what actually transpired while his video cameras rolled.
And what did The Daily Caller do in response to the story it had co-sponsored? The Daily Caller did nothing. It simply ignored the fact that the NPR story that it had so proudly presented had been thoroughly debunked.
Fast-forward ten months, and the same sloppy story is playing out again.