What's the real difference between O'Keefe and other media?

No it isn’t. Altering the video and dubbing in different audio to make it appear as if people are saying things they didn’t really say is manufacturing news. That’s what your boy, "O’Keefe did.

I also haven’t seen anyone from network news trying to wiretap a US Senator’s phone, or planning to sexually assault a woman on a hidden camera as a “prank.”

O’Keefe engages in unethical practices, and examples of those practices being used by other media are abundant. The difference is that O’Keefe only engages in those unethical practices. He has never practiced legitimate journalism. Even FOX News which has no qualms about manufacturing news and outright lies occasionally airs some legitimate stories. O’Keefe intends to lie and commit fraud for personal gain, and maybe political motive, and nothing else.

I hate him, Fox, the Big Fat Idiot, that psycho Beck, and so many others that put me in the position of giving a favorable assessment of the rest of the news media in comparison. They are all awful, lacking in professional and ethical standards, and yet only a few like O’Keefe are purely malevolent, intending specifically, and solely, to decieve.

Your title asks of “media”, but in your OP, you switch to news and journalism. And yet you keep bringing up What Would You Do? and Ali G.

What Would You Do? is not news. It is Candid Camera with a pseudo-sociological bent. Why do you keep trying to depict it as journalism or news? What news stories have been investigated by What Would You Do? It’s no more journalism than To Catch a Predator is.

What Would You Do? also does not have a political agenda.

But Ali G? Really? Why would you even bring up Ali G? He’s clearly not doing any sort of news or journalism, any more than Borat was doing a documentary entitled “Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”

All of this really makes me wonder what your agenda is with this thread.

I’m confused. I’ve never seen *What Would You Do * and have only read brief things about Cohen’s work. Are these supposed to represent journalism? They sound more like entertainment. Is the OP suggesting that Okeefe and his actions are in the same category, and because they have X and Y standards, it’s correct to judge/view Okeefe by the same standards?

I could be wrong about WWYD and Cohen, but this comparison makes no sense to me.
ETA: What Hentor said.

I have no issue with a journalist / reporter disguising who they are with hidden cameras, etc. to try to catch people doing things that they should not. This could be Acorn helping a pimp, a gun shop openly allowing a straw purchase, etc.

I have significant issues with selective editing to make one thing look like another. This could be Fox using different footage on Wisconsin, Michael Moore playing timing games on Charleton Heston or a Bank with a free rifle, or what O Keefe appears to have done with Acorn.

This type of selective editing is too common, and bright lights should be shone upon it and those journalists SHOULD be hounded out of the profession. That rarely happens. To my knowledge Maureen Dowd is still carried, even if “Dowdification” made it into the lexicon.

This might be a little bit of a hijack, but I think the best way for Schiller/NPR to have handled this latest little subterfuge by that prick O’Keefe would have been to say,

“Umm, a lot of the Tea Party ARE racists. What’s the big secret? Why the hidden recording?”

When did O’Keefe ever “alter the video and dub in different audio to make it appear as if people are saying things they didn’t really say”.

They certainly didn’t do that in the ACORN case. Not even according to Scott Harshbarger, the lawyer ACORN hired to clear them of any wrongdoing. He noted that the tapes were “edited” but never suggested there was any falsification and it was noted that the full videos were available at biggovernment.com.

Were you referring to one of the other cases?

If so which ones with proper citations please?

I might agree with you about the newsworthiness of What Would You Do. But I have to report that it is a production of ABC News, for what that is worth.


Similarly, onthe NBC News and Sports link the Dateline link is right there between Nightly News and Meet the Press. So whatever we think of their journalistic merits, they are products of these networks’ news divisions.

And when I mention Ali G, it is because a frequent complaint made about O’Keefe is that he isn’t a journalist. I don’t think that matters much in the end. Bob Etheridge faced a couple of kids who weren’t journalists - that didn’t affect the repercussions of their tape. Ali G and Borat and Bruno have created controversy even though they (he ) were just trying to produce an entertainment product.

This is not a complaint frequently made about O’keefe. Nobody cares that he isn’t a journalist. That’s not what makes him gross. It’s doing thinks like faking the audios on the ACORN videos that makees him gross.

They are what they are but O’Keefe is making no effort whatsoever to make an unbiased accounting of the context of the conversation (which I have no interest in listening to, BTW).

If someone is to portray a hidden camera video of having substantive importance, then it is incumbent on them to do so fairly – to explain the context, to give someone an opportunity to respond to the issues, and so forth. Without context, it is disingenuous to say that “they are what they are.” Anyone who thinks that photographs or video is incontrovertible evidence of something is a sucker waiting to happen.

A covert recording for comedy purposes would surely be under a lesser obligation to do so, because by its very nature and definition, it is frivolous.

As far as comparisons to other stunts like this, I think the Buffalo Beast fake call is no different, and the What Would You Do program sounds like a psychological Fear Factor. No thank you.

You’re accusing him of things that ACORN hasn’t accused him of doing.

They commissioned a lawyer, Scott Harshbarger, the former Massachusetts AG, who examined the situation and concluded that the videos were edited and that there was no systematic problems with ACORN, he never accused them of “faking” audios or making it appear that people were saying things they weren’t saying.

Could you please provide the appropriate cite that shows where you heard something so demonstrably false because it’s always good to be aware of unreliable sources?

Colbert has in the past prompted politicians he’s interviewing to say some outlandish things, such as “I enjoy cocaine.” There’s a lot of cajoling and reassurances beforehand that it’s just for fun. Is the footage of the politician saying that, with all the coaxing cut out, simply what it is and it speaks for itself?

One of the most famous stings of all time is the *Chicago Sun-Times *partnership with the Better Government Association operation of The Miragebar, which used everything **Mr. Moto **cites.

But there were a couple of differences.

The big difference is that no one involved in the sting ever offered or induced anyone to do anything. They simply documented the shakedowns, extortions and strongarm tactics used by the city inspectors, cops and various other city employees.

The other difference was that the BGA had been around for a half-century, had a history of going after both Democratic and Republican corruption and worked with all kinds of media (including the Tribune.)

The other thing to remember is that, even at the time (1977) the Mirage tactics were extremely controversial among news organizations. The *Sun-Times *was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for its stories. BUT, they didn’t win precisely because the judges were split over whether undercover hidden-camera investigations were ethical journalism.

So it may be correct to say O’Keefe’s tactics (if not his motives) are a “media staple” but they aren’t universally accepted.

O’Keefe has an agenda it seems, much more than any biased leaning traditional news organization.

That said, after reading the transcripts of the supposed unedited ACORN videos it seems like atleast two locations were knowingly giving advice to a pimp and prostitute about salvadorian prostitutes coming into the country.

He’s bad because, in my opinion, he hasn’t earned the publics trust, but because there is a poltically biased organization like FOX, they jump at his videos.

Now gentelemen, to be fair, there is an instance of a major news organization faking videos of a supposedly journalistic nature: Dateline NBC faked videos of GM pickups exploding on impact for one of their stories. And of course, everyone was OK with that because they were a mainstream media org … wait … what’s that, Kenneth? They actually caught hell over it? People were fired wholesale, there was a huge controversy? Really?


Gee, it’s like many people disapprove of tactics like O’Keefe’s.

Show me where O’Keefe “faked” footage.

As said, ACORN doesn’t accuse him of using faked footage, so I don’t see how the above example is remotely relevant.

Why don’t you read this:

Report by California Attorney General on Acorn(warning pdf).

It is quite explicit on everything that O’Keefe did. I don’t find any evidence that he dubbed audio, but he spliced in different scenes, cut out audio, made it appear that things were said that were not, lied outrageously, and made everything look as damning as possible even in cases where there was nothing done wrong. The guy is a creep. He makes Michael Moore look like Walter Cronkite.

I think this thread is dumb; if you can’t figure out the difference between what O’Keefe does and the “tactic(s) used by other news organizations” (quoted from the OP), you have more ignorance than I can fight. The same goes for those people who can’t see the difference between Michael Moore’s reporting and the “tactic(s) used by other news organizations”. O’Keefe has just taken it to a whole new level.

Thank you for the link.

I’ve already read the former Massachusetts Attorney General’s report on the scandal, which was conducted after being hired by ACORN.


Furthermore, I’m not a fan of O’Keefe nor do I think he or Michael Moore are journalists in the same way that the 60 Minutes people are.

However, I was responding specifically to charges altered the audio to make it appear that people said things they didn’t say, which, as you are conceding is a completely baseless claim.

The closest that happened was that during one interview, they had issues with the audio due to technical difficulties and that interview wasn’t one of the juicier ones(I.E. the Baltimore and DC interviews). Harshbarger doesn’t challenge the claim that they had technical difficulties so I’m not sure why you’re claiming they deliberately “cut the audio”.

In fact, it’s worth noting that both the California AG’s report and the Harshbarger report(which was contracted by ACORN and therefore, if anything would go out of it’s way to protect ACORN) concluded that several ACORN employees behaved incredibly inappropriately and, as a result of their behavior, were terminated.

Furthermore, Harshbarger concluded the interviews essentially occurred as they were presented with the only caveat being that promotional parts of the videos, where O’Keefe strutted around dressed up like a 70s pimp was misleading since O’Keefe was dressed far more conservatively in the offices, though Hannah Giles, was dressed the same. Also, in none of the interviews did O’Keefe explicitly claim to be Giles’ pimp, though that could very reasonably be inferred in some of the interviews.

Frankly, I think the fact that O’Keefe didn’t go in there dressed up as a 70s pimp makes ACORN look worse. When I first saw the videos I thought, “Well duh, the whitest guy in the world comes in dressed up like Superfly claiming to be a pimp. Of course they obviously thought it was a gag and decided to play along.”

Again, ACORN’s own attorney isn’t claiming they used fake footage or made it seem that something happened that didn’t so it’s wrong for anyone here to make such claims.

Difference between Okeefe and other news, they report it don’t create it. They are in theory without an agenda. Does anyone think Okeefe did not have one? Does anyone think Brietbart doesn’t have one?
These right wing hacks have nothing in common with the news.

At least Glenn Beck is agenda-free!