Washington This is starting to get embarrassing. There has to be universal consensus that James O’Keefe the sneak videographer is a total punk, but somehow we keep falling for this stuff. Look at the record:
- He and his accomplice sting ACORN in the fall of 2009 as part of an orchestrated right-wing attack and do so with highly edited tape and just plain fictional promotions. Congress has a field day, passes a bill of attainders, separates funders from the largest low-and-moderate income community organization in the country, and get away with it thanks to a couple of misplaced statements in a couple of the 10 offices stung. Lesson learned.
- He goes after the teachers union, but I still don’t understand this sting enough to say anything about it. Fortunately, no one understood it so it becomes a scud.
- He and some hard right buddies try some phone hi-jinks in the federal Congressional district office of Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La) trying to prove her peeps weren’t answering the phones. He gets probation. Even his sponsor, Andrew Breitbart, has to distance himself. Me and many others hope that’s the clock out of his 15 minutes, even though it’s clear there will be copycats in the future.
- Sure enough an O’Keefe wannabe hits Planned Parenthood in what should be called “ACORN II” and catches a couple of staff off message in a couple of offices, and defunding bills fall in Congress like rain. They were ready and waiting for something like O’Keefe, and still got caught.
Are you with me friends? It’s game on all over the country for anyone and anything that has come up on the hit list of the right. It’s almost impossible to guarantee in any mass organization with far flung operations, offices, and staffing like ACORN or Planned Parenthood that there will be zero errors, and since we can’t guarantee that, anything on the likely target list has to batten down the hatches, dig the moat, steel the walls, and manage the public interface very tightly during this period, as if their organizational lives depended on it, since it is obvious that’s exactly what is at stake now.
And, sure enough, now O’Keefe himself is back and NPR embarrasses us all. Talk about money groveling. Gawd! It seems like this fundraiser dude would have done just about anything ford $5 M for NPR. This was no lower level receptionist out there in the boonies of an operation, but a high flyer working right at the heart of the kingdom. Give me a break! O’Keefe can count coup again since the head of NPR, unfortunately a woman with the same last name and an already tenuous situation with the earlier Juan Williams firing, had to resign immediately. We’ll see how they try to get back to home base safe. I saw something that indicated that a video had also been done with PBS. Ye gods in heaven!
O’Keefe isn’t stupid. Sex and money are narcotics for the masses and also pretty much bring out the worse up and down the bureaucratic chain. Now that he’s realized what fools people are willing to be to raise money, he can keep film rolling all day and all night and will catch a full limit of folks with that bait.
Or, we can make the list of who is likely to be targeted. We can stop being so naïve and acting like we’re above the fray. We can lock down the doors, check out the stories ahead of time, and see them coming on the defense, and damned if it’s not time for us to recruit some videographers and start playing some offense, too.
The gloves are off, so it’s time for all of us to move into the ring.