EDITORIAL : Guerilla prankster James O’Keefe is as much an investigative journalist as I am Lord of the Dance.
He was full of bravado after he and his crew — posing as students from William Paterson — gave the manager of a Wayne bank an oversized $5,000 check as a donation to an animal shelter last year.
Wasn’t so funny last month, when police arrested the Westwood High School grad and a group of friends for posing as a phone repair team at a federal building in New Orleans.
While others knock that around, I have a proposal for federal authorities: Hand the numbskull over to me and a few friends. In no time at all, we’ll make a YouTube video of our own, which will end with O’Keefe trying to pick up his teeth with broken fingers.
Portraying this nitwit from North Jersey as some kind of activist folk hero is a shameless audience grab by a mainstream media that doesn’t know an ass from its elbow. Even Howard Stern wouldn’t put anyone up to O’Keefe’s kind of antics. This cretin needs a hop in the you-know-where.
Last month, O’Keefe claimed he and his “undercover team” deliberately slipped through security at a federal office building to investigate complaints that constituents calling Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office couldn’t get through to criticize her support of a health care reform bill.
There’s a huge difference between Sacha Baron Cohen portraying a character conducting an interview with a well-known lawmaker or celebrity and a group of people gaining access to a federal building and then messing around with phones while they were in there.
It’s also a long way from a stunt in Wayne exactly a year ago, when O’Keefe and others first gave the bank manager one check and then got her to pose outside he bank for another — “for $300 million from the taxpayers of the United States to Valley National Bank,” according to a police report.
A video made by O’Keefe’s cronies shows another clown in a chicken suit snatching the check and running away.
People also thought it was so funny when O’Keefe dressed up like a pimp, hidden camera in tow, to embarrass the community-organizing group ACORN. And they found it cute when his posse tried claiming benefits after staging bogus gay marriages around the country.
Here’s the frightening part: This lunkhead worked for The Leadership Institute, where he was to help “prepare conservatives for success in politics, government, and the news media,” the group’s website says.
He also worked as an undergraduate at newspapers established and funded by the Collegiate Network, an offshoot of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
Both are dedicated to countering what they perceive as a “liberal bias” in mainstream media.
His motive, boy wonder says, is to show how the liberals who control the media ignore what he considers the important issues.
“The more bold you are, the more opportunities will be open to you,” O’Keefe told a writer for The Centurion at Rutgers last month. “The less bold you are, the less opportunities in life will be open to you.
“[T]he more you put yourself out there and you take those calculated risks — the contrary of what people actually think is going to happen — you’re actually going to get opportunities.”
Amazingly, one of the suspects arrested with O’Keefe, Robert Flanagan, is the son of the acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, William J. Flanagan.
O’Keefe’s brand of “investigative journalism” has drawn praise from, among others, Glenn Beck (“courageous”), Sean Hannity (“a pioneer in journalism”), Bill O’Reilly (a congressional medal”) and, of course, Ann Coulter (“magnificent”).
Mockumentaries can be cool. Michael Moore has nailed a few, particularly his debut, “Roger and Me.” Cohen has also scored with his “Ali G” character, getting Christie Whitman to rap on camera and prompting Donald Trump to throw him out after one question. His Borat character has been hysterical.
But none of these breached security in any way, anywhere, especially not the way “Phonegate” did. In every instance, the filmmaker knew how far he could go before crossing the line into what could be considered espionage.
O’Keefe is just a moron.
With any luck, the rest of the country will soon realize that, too. And when it does, mainstream media will take another kick in the family costume jewelry — a fate deserved, as well, by O’Keefe himself.
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