As reported exclusively this morning at Big Journalism, citizen journalist provocateur James O'Keefe filed a lawsuit against Keith Olbermann, David Shuster, and Al Gore's Current TV for defamation. The most serious and damaging allegations involve Shuster claiming on Current TV's Countdown with Keith Olbermann on February 24, 2011 that there is a “rape allegation" facing O’Keefe.
The rape allegation did not arise in a vacuum, however. As far as Shuster and Olbermann are concerned, James O'Keefe may be collateral damage but the bigger target is Andrew Breitbart, and the goal of the false smear against O'Keefe is to help cover up the very real rapes and assaults at Occupy Wall Street that Breitbart has exposed.
The factual feud over Occupy assaults began when Keith Olbermann and Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas attacked Andrew Breitbart and giggled at the notion of rapes at Occupy. Then, Olbermann claimed there were “no Occupy rapes” and suggested that none of the rapes or assaults were committed by Occupiers. These were all provably false claims, and those on the Countdown program likely knew they were false. At this point, Countdown’s Big Lie strategy became clear – since the facts weren't in their favor, they would accuse Andrew Breitbart of covering up rapes himself.
According to the official transcript of the show from February 24th, David Shuster first teased the allegations by saying:
Why can't Andrew Breitbart apply his own standard in condemning alleged rapes when they involve, possibly, his own associates?
Later in the program he teased it a second time:
Andrew Breitbart couldn't resist making wild rape charges about the entire Occupy movement and yet, when it comes to testimony under oath against one of his own protégés, Breitbart is "hear no evil and see no evil."
Just ahead, there were indications today that Andrew Breitbart has a double standard when it comes to his concerns about victims of alleged sexual assault.
And a fourth time:
Just ahead, we got more proof today that Andrew Breitbart seems to be concerned about alleged sexual assaults only when it's politically expedient. We'll bring you the allegations involving his own colleagues.
And finally, tease number five:
But up next, Andrew Breitbart is giving the silent treatment to his former protégé James O'Keefe and it makes that outburst against the Occupy movement even more amazing. We will explain.
Oh, wait – one more tease!
Andrew Breitbart claims to be a champion of alleged victims of sexual harassment, except when the allegations are made by one of his own bloggers against a former Breitbart associate. And then, it's silence.
Finally, after Countdown viewers had been pummeled with SIX different teases claiming that Breitbart was silent about sexual harassment, sexual assaults, or rape, David Shuster arrived at his story:
SHUSTER: All this week, this show has been doing a nightly mash-up of Andrew Breitbart's unhinged rant against Occupy protesters. With Keith Olbermann out tonight, we are putting the mash-up on hold.
However, there is something I would like to contribute. Andrew Breitbart's overall claim is that Occupy members and journalists covering the movement have shirked the obligation to report rapes and sexual assaults. Breitbart's allegations, as you've seen on this program, don't hold up.
Still, the great irony, at least to me, is that — while Breitbart has proclaimed to be an aggressive champion of rape victims — he has said virtually nothing about one of his own female bloggers, Nadia Naffe, who has made some stunning allegations against James O'Keefe.
O'Keefe, as you may recall, is a Breitbart protégé, conservative activist, and convicted felon, who is infamous for his ambush-style, selectively-edited interviews.
As "Countdown" first reported in December, here's the background on O'Keefe's incident with Naffe: according to courtroom testimony, O'Keefe asked Naffe, in October, to participate in an undercover plot targeting Occupy Wall Street. As part of their discussion, O'Keefe allegedly met Naffe at a New Jersey train station. O'Keefe then stopped to purchase alcohol before bringing Naffe to his parents' home.
During the evening, there was apparently a dispute and Naffe says she told O'Keefe she wouldn't participate in his scheme. She testified, however, that O'Keefe refused to drive her back to a train station, was verbally abusive, and repeatedly insisted she stay overnight in a barn on his parent's property. Naffe also testified that she felt increasingly incapacitated:
"I found it hard to move and control my muscles." She also testified, "It was his intent to persuade me to spend the night in the barn."
When Naffe threatened to call police, she says O'Keefe finally agreed to drive her to the train station. She passed out in the car, woke up at the station, and then got on the train.
A few days after the incident, Naffe testified that O'Keefe offered her money to stay silent. Naffe refused. She testified he then harassed her privately and publicly: "He made me out to be a tramp. He used other people to torment me."
In late December, the judge presiding over Naffe's criminal complaint dismissed it on a jurisdictional ruling, which found there was insufficient evidence to show O'Keefe's alleged harassment originated in the court's town. However, the judge urged Naffe to take her claims against O'Keefe to civil court.
Now, this afternoon, I asked Andrew Breitbart for a comment on this incident and he refused to address it. Breitbart's silence, of course, stands in remarkable contrast to his attack and condemnation of the entire Occupy movement.
(Excerpt from video clip) BREITBART: Stop raping people! Stop raping people! Stop raping people! Stop raping people!
SHUSTER: Andrew, let me be clear. Your silence in the O'Keefe/Naffe matter is actually appropriate. You didn't witness anything. You weren't involved and this matter may continue in the courts. This approach, though, towards O'Keefe — in light of that outburst about Occupy — underscores what Democrats and many Republicans have been saying about you for years. You are a hypocrite and a frequently unstable, publicity-seeking hack. Andrew, get some psychological help.
The target here was clearly Andrew Breitbart. In order to smear Breitbart, Shuster had to smear O’Keefe. And Shuster’s attack didn’t stop on Countdown. He took to Twitter:
Hey @JamesokeefeIII apologize to @nadianaffe. And @AndrewBreitbart why wont u condemn his alleged sex assault plan?
By following the narrative, it's easy to deduce that while Shuster, Olbermann, and the rest of Al Gore's network are no fans of James O'Keefe, they have their sights set on a bigger target: Andrew Breitbart.