Little Rock The day that we can make James O’Keefe unhappy is a happy day for the rest of us.
Given O’Keefe’s usual propensity for ill-fated, slapstick escapades when his video scams go awry in service to his rightwing paymasters at Brietbart webworks and Fox News, I usually get to feature his narcisstic buffoonery a couple of times a year. I neither forgive nor forget his indefensible hatchet job on ACORN in 2009 or his attempt to do the same thing in Texas with Local 100 when we were navigators on the Affordable Care Act. If I can be a burr under his saddle that gets his horse bucking, it’s worth the climb for me. Now, in an interesting twist of fortune I have proof that O’Keefe is both a bully and a whiner at the same time, as well as the satisfaction that I got under his thin skin somehow, and the disappointment that the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette folded like a cheap suit to his crying. Here’s the way the story goes.
On the eve of the THE ORGANIZER documentary on ACORN and my career being shown in Little Rock at the Ron Robinson Auditorium there were two pieces in the Style section of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reviewing the movie and one that included an interview with some quotes from me. The film critic for the paper gave the flick an 87 out of a 100 rating and both reviews put the documentary in the “must see” category, but let’s get back to O’Keefe, the star of our story.
O’Keefe obviously has his name on Google Alerts so before noon I was getting fact checking inquiries that he was calling the newspaper whining about his treatment in the paper and claiming to having been maligned by a comment of mine. No worries on the story because the reporter had recorded the whole conversation but I couldn’t remember what I’d said about this baby that might have caused him such umbrage. In the article there was a section that covered his dirty work and then a paragraph about the Washington Post busting his Veritas operation when he tried to trick them during the defeat of notorious Roy Moore in Alabama with a fake rape victim. Then the story refers to the time when he was caught red-handed trying to jerry-rig the phones in then Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu’s district office in the Hale Boggs Federal Building in New Orleans with some other clowns in his crew. O’Keefe had to cop a plea on a federal beef there and do a one-year probation for his mischief.
Here’s what the print and on-line version of the story said that had O’Keefe squealing like a stuck pig:
Another incident in Rathke’s backyard led to more amusement than damning revelations against O’Keefe’s targets. “O’Keefe is still a magic guy,” he says. “He has been involved in more ridiculous escapades, [including] breaking into (former U.S. Sen.) Mary Landrieu’s office here in New Orleans. What late-night revelry could you have been part of to think that was a good idea? Somehow on the right, he’s still catnip.”
It’s hard to even imagine what O’Keefe might have had to complain about. He might have tried to get technical and say “No, I broke into the phone system in a federal building, not into her office.” He might have tried to argue that whatever plea he copped to avoid trial was the whole story, but the record is crystal clear here, and the federal beef and his probation were well publicized and a matter of record. Regardless, he’s a public figure by his own choice and foolish vocation, so whatever. What in the world could he find offensive? In a backhanded way I’m even expressing rueful admiration of a sort that he has any credibility with anyone and is able to maintain some cachet on the right after all of his flub-ups.
Regardless my day was made knowing I had gotten under his skin by reminding people of part of his record that he is obviously committed to trying to erase.
Working on this piece though I got to the point when I was going to reproduce the quote rather than retype it as I read the piece on print. I said to myself, hey, I’ll copy and paste it from the online version of the article in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. I got a surprise though. Now the online version reads this way:
Another incident in Rathke’s backyard led to more amusement than damning revelations against O’Keefe’s targets. “O’Keefe is still a magic guy,” he says. “He has been involved in more ridiculous escapades … Somehow on the right, he’s still catnip.”
Wow, besides deleting all context and grafting the sentences together with a butcher’s stitching, my quote almost seems like a begrudging compliment to O’Keefe. The only clue that something is now missing is those three elliptical dots that only the most careful reader knows is a signal that something is missing.
Which brings me back to the beginning. We didn’t know how much of a whiner he was, but now we do. We did know he was a bully, and, sadly, we have more proof of that since it appears his bully boy complaining to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette got them to buckle and amend the story to O’Keefe’s liking.
If you ever wonder, as I often do, how O’Keefe can have even a smidgen of credibility after all of his shenanigans, it’s because in these days and times, too many people won’t stand up to a bully, even newspapers that know better.
Read this piece on Google Alert, James! I’m on to your act!