By now, you might be aware of the latest bombshell O’Keefe “Project Veritas” videos, cited by everyone from Jake Tapper to Donald Trump, in which O’Keefe claims to have captured several Democratic operatives on video allegedly confessing to infiltrating Trump rallies to incite violent, while also explaining how the Clinton campaign is colluding with a super-PAC via intermediaries in violation of FEC rules.
Literally every major O’Keefe production has been debunked by fact-checkers, reporters, the GAO and judges. ACORN, Shirley Sherrod, NPR and so forth. Literally every major O’Keefe video has been proved to have been deceptively edited, including videos by O’Keefe affiliates like David Daleiden who, most recently, produced the fraudulent Planned Parenthood videos during the Summer of 2015.
Speaking of Trump, it’s worth noting that the Trump Foundation donated $10,000 to “Project Veritas” in 2015.
Trump neglected, however, to mention his own connection to the videos, released by James O’Keefe and his Project Veritas tax-exempt group. According to a list of charitable donations made by Trump‘s controversial foundation (provided to the Washington Post in April by Trump’s campaign), on May 13, 2015, it gave $10,000 to Project Veritas.
Shocking — which is to say, not shocking at all.
Despite O’Keefe’s record of flagrantly deceiving the public with his videos, news outlet after news outlet mentioned the latest videos without this critically important context. Like Shirley Sherrod and various ACORN employees, each of whom were later exonerated, two of the subjects of the latest videos, Scott Foval and Robert Creamer, were forced out of their gigs as consultants. Why? Because for some twisted, incomprehensible reason, too many otherwise rational people (the Breitbart crowd not included in the “rational” category) were suckered by the content of O’Keefe’s latest scam.
Yet O’Keefe is refusing — for the first time ever — to release the raw, unedited footage from these new tapes. His justification is a tacit admission of guilt.
On Wednesday, O’Keefe tweeted:
Are "journalists" willing to produce their raw unedited materials to accompany their word arrangements? It'd probably paint a diff picture! https://t.co/BDx61TPBGo
— James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) October 19, 2016
Is he suggesting that, likewise, if he released his unedited footage, it would “paint a different picture,” too? Sounds like it.
O’Keefe repeated a similar confession to podcaster Sam Seder prior to Wednesday night’s third presidential debate.
The salient exchange, via Media Matters:
SEDER: But you can debunk that by releasing that video. Why wouldn’t you release all the video?
O’KEEFE: Because no journalist in their right mind would ever release their raw notebooks and if they did, Sam–
SEDER: Well, it’s not a notebook. It is caught on camera.
O’KEEFE: Let me tell you something: No journalist ever releases the raw, and the reason, and if they did, if all these journalists released the raw, you would see a different story. They piece words together to paint a specific portrait.
SEDER: So you paste the words together to paint–
O’KEEFE: No. I have video. I don’t just have words. I have video.
SEDER: Are you saying you did piece it together to paint a picture?
O’KEEFE: That’s what journalism is. Journalism is telling a story. And I will stand by every single edit. I will go to — I will be in contempt of court to protect my undercover reporters because I’m standing for something greater than myself. I’m standing for the right of citizen journalists. No one here would ever dare release their raw. No one would.
In other words, O’Keefe rearranged the video to tell a story that probably wasn’t intended by the people he captured on tape.
Additionally, journalists — real journalists — curate an accumulation of facts and assemble them in a way that ideally retains both objectivity and a reality-based narrative, gathered around the essential questions: who, what, when, where, why and how. O’Keefe, on the other hand, while not being a real journalist, likes to strip lines out of their original contexts and plugs them into misleading statements that are either delivered by a narrator (in this case, O’Keefe himself) or by on-screen text. It’s all punctuated with sensationalized, ominous music.
For example, let’s say I was captured on hidden video saying, “I like to go to the mall and people watch.” O’Keefe might edit this into a narrative about child molesters lurking at the mall with the headline: Cesca admits to kidnapping children at the mall. With scary music and text to color and emphasize the misleading context, we see grainy, suspicious-looking video of me talking about how I “like” the mall. Maybe later, I mention how my niece joined me one day, but she didn’t want to leave, so I had to beg her to get into my car, “I had trouble getting that kid into my car, but she eventually relented.” Ooooh! Caught! See how that works?
Without the unedited footage, anything is possible. Foval and the others could’ve been speaking hypothetically, or explaining activities they won’t or can’t do because it’s against the law — not that they’re literally breaking the law, as far as we know. This is what O’Keefe does every time. And it’s exactly why he’s decided to not release the uncut footage because it’d prove that he’s a liar and a fraud.