Pimps, Lies, and Videotapes

Inside Andrew Breitbart’s and James O’Keefe’s right-wing video fantasy factory.

Courtesy Fox News, CNN

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Ever since ACORN was taken down by a bad pimp costume and a hidden camera, right-wing media mogul Andrew Breitbart and provocateur James O’Keefe have discovered that by the time their work is exposed as disingenuously edited hit jobs, the damage is done, and their brand has been boosted. As Breitbart told the AP, “I’m committed to the destruction of the old media guard. And it’s a very good business model.” Read the editors’ note, “Why Do We Keep Falling for O’Keefe’s Smear Jobs?” here. Below, their stings to date.

targets exposed! cutting-room
floor
breitbart
factor
o’keefe
involved?
scary
black
people
meme?
scalps
ACORN Community organizers helping an outrageously dressed pimp with “child prostitution, human trafficking and tax evasion.” O’Keefe didn’t wear a pimp costume in ACORN offices; ACORN later cleared of criminal wrongdoing. Posted videos and gave them to Fox News; took credit: “I’m the guy that brought down ACORN.” Yes Yes ACORN lost federal funds, went bankrupt.
Sen. Mary
Landrieu
(D-La.)
Attempted “probe” of the senator’s phones to see if she was ignoring calls about Obamacare. Video seized when FBI arrested O’Keefe (PDF) for impersonating a phone-
company worker.
Disavowed any connection, but admitted O’Keefe was on his payroll at the time. Yes No O’Keefe sentenced to 3 years probation.
US Census Falsified timesheets “costing taxpayers an estimated $10,000,000.” Full video exposed sloppiness, not massive corruption. Posted videos. Yes No None
Shirley
Sherrod/
NAACP
Black USDA official boasting of racism at an NAACP event. True, pro-racial- harmony message of Sherrod’s speech. Posted video one week after NAACP criticized tea party’s racial politics. No Yes Sherrod fired and now suing Breitbart.
CNN
reporter
Abbie
Boudreau
O’Keefe tries to lure Boudreau on a yacht for a “counter-seduction satire.” Plan failed when female colleague of O’Keefe warned Boudreau. Called O’Keefe’s plan “patently gross and offensive.” Yes No None
Planned
Parenthood
PP staffers helping pimp with child sex trafficking. PP staffers alerted the Feds to impostor. Promoted videos by Lila Rose, an O’Keefe protégé. No No One PP staffer fired; no charges against PP.
National
Public Radio
NPR fundraisers caught wooing Muslim donors, slagging tea partiers. NPR exec says he’s a disaffected GOPer and quotes others like him. Didn’t post video, but praised O’Keefe’s tactics. Yes No Two NPR executives axed, NPR federal funding in jeopardy.
2012
New
Hampshire
primary
O’Keefe cronies get ballots by posing as recently deceased voters, showing “the integrity of the elections process is severely comprised.” Oops—asking for a ballot using a false name is a crime, even if you don’t cast a vote. Not involved, but defended O’Keefe on Twitter. Yes No Prosecutors could pursue state and federal voter fraud charges.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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