When James O’Keefe came to my door in August, I was shocked by how young he looked. Kinda like Matthew Modine circa “Vision Quest.”
“Come on in,” I said, and I took him to my basement command center. He opened his laptop computer and showed me the very-hard-to-believe independent film investigative journalism project he had described to me over the phone
How can I describe the video I watched? Is it a put on? I almost can’t believe what I am seeing. But with regards to ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, I am quite cynical. So I do believe it.
But I still find myself wanting to believe it is fake. It’s just too weird. It’s too wrong. But James continuously reassures me it’s real.
So who is James O’Keefe?
Morley Safer meets Sacha Baron Cohen, I think. Not precise. But you get the point.
This isn’t your mother’s “60 Minutes.” But then again, why would a twenty five-year old even think straight journalism? His crowd doesn’t even know who Don Hewitt is. They need it quick cut, set to music and packaged to go viral on YouTube.
From what I gather, James wants to speak to his twenty-something peers who have been asked to pay for unaccountable big government ventures like ACORN on their maxed-out generational credit card. To the tune of potentially billions.
Maybe James thinks, like I do, that baby boomer elites like Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson and Brian Williams could care less. Their generational zeitgeist – and the knowledge that their kids are personally immune from monster deficits – is all that matters. And they look the other way while believing all organizations on the left – no matter how extreme – are working towards their goals.
What is immediately clear to me is that James is passionate and wants to expose corruption. As is his gutsy partner in exposing crimes, Hannah Giles. James is like me: he’s idealistic, right–leaning, and doesn’t pretend he’s a neutral and objective journalist. (No one’s “objective.”)
But I also know how my journalist friends are going to react. And so my advice to James is this: You can put this thing out your way, but you should also offer the full audio and full transcript so that people can hear and see them in their entirety – sans edits. So they can judge for themselves.
James agreed and has posted them on his website. We have posted the audio here:
View the complete transcript here.