Fishermen are notorious for telling whoppers when describing the size of the fish that they caught. Guerrilla filmmaker James O’Keefe appears to be continuing that fishermen’s tradition.
In a column published by National Review Online, John Fund writes the following about O’Keefe:
When he raised the issue of filling out some of the unused ballots that are mailed to every household in the state this month, he was told by Meredith Hicks, the director of Work for Progress, a liberal group funded by Democratic Super PACS.: “That is not even like lying or something, if someone throws out a ballot, like if you want to fill it out you should do it.” She then brazenly offered O’Keefe, disguised as a middle-aged college instructor, a job with her group.
Fund is correct about what Hicks said and did, but he is a bit misleading in his description of Work for Progress. That organization is a job recruiting firm that recruits employees for progressive groups. However, nowhere on its website does the firm claim to have hired workers to work directly for politicians, and O’Keefe doesn’t demonstrate that any client of Work for Progress condones voting fraud.
Fund also mentions an employee of Greenpeace whom O’Keefe encountered. Yes, that individual approved of the idea of one party filling out ballots sent to other parties. However, that person did not say that Greenpeace approved of such a thing.
Fund provides a link to the YouTube video that O’Keefe made about his “sting” operation in Colorado. The video features an encounter that one of O’Keefe’s associates had with a woman who works for Rep. Joe Salazar’s campaign. During the encounter, the woman tells O’Keefe’s associate where people from another state can go to register to vote in Colorado. The woman says that such people might not be able to succeed in voting in Colorado.
In his video, O’Keefe mentions that he tried to get others to condone voting fraud, but, according to O’Keefe, those others didn’t do so because they recognized who he was.
That isn’t exactly what happened, according to an article written by Andy Kroll. Here is how he describes what happened:
Last Tuesday, a man who appeared to be in his 20s showed up at a Democratic field office in Boulder wanting to volunteer to help elect Udall and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), according to a Democratic staffer who met with him and asked not to be identified. The man introduced himself as “Nick Davis,” and he said he was a University of Colorado-Boulder student and LGBT activist involved with a student group called Rocky Mountain Vote Pride. Davis mentioned polls showing the race between Udall and Gardner was tight, and he asked the staffer if he should fill out and mail in ballots for other college students who had moved away but still received mail on campus. The Democratic staffer says he told Davis that doing this would be voter fraud and that he should not do it.
On Friday, Udall campaigned with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on the University of Colorado-Boulder campus. After the event, a woman calling herself “Bonnie” approached a different staffer and, according to this staffer’s boss, asked whether she could fill out and submit blank ballots found in a garbage can. The staffer, according to her boss, said that she told her no.
. . . and . . .
O’Keefe and two male colleagues also targeted a progressive nonprofit named New Era Colorado, according to New Era executive director Steve Fenberg. On Saturday, Fenberg says, O’Keefe and his friends contacted New Era’s Fort Collins office to set up an in-person meeting and identified themselves as activists affiliated with Rocky Mountain Vote Pride. The three men arrived carrying Udall campaign literature, Fenberg notes, but a New Era organizer met them outside the office’s front door and refused to let them enter with the Udall materials. Outside groups such as New Era cannot coordinate with political campaigns, and Fenberg says he believes O’Keefe and his collaborators “were trying to establish evidence we were working together.”
When New Era’s staffers began taking pictures of O’Keefe , Fenberg says, O’Keefe and a colleague went to their car and returned with a large video camera and a microphone. “If you want to take photos of us, we’ll take photos of you,” O’Keefe said, according to Fenberg, and the New Era staffers closed the door while O’Keefe and his friend tried to push it open and stick their microphone inside. Fenberg says New Era filed a police report about the incident.
O’Keefe didn’t catch anyone associated with Senator Udall condoning voting fraud.
So, what title did he give his YouTube video?
Answer: “Mark Udall Advocates Condone Voter Fraud: “That’s not even like lying or stealing””
Now, that is a whopper that would make a fisherman envious, because O’Keefe extrapolates what three individuals not associated with Senator Udall did into an insinuation about people who support Senator Udall. That isn’t journalism. That is zealotry.
Using the logic behind the aforementioned video title, perhaps O’Keefe should make another video titled “Advocates of Conservative Politicians Condone Law-Breaking“, because some conservative activists actually do break the law in their pursuit of their goals, as indicated in a NOLA.com news report from January of 2010. In May of that year, one conservative activist was sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service and a $1,500 fine after he “pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges stemming from his involvement in a break-in at Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) office.” (Info. Source)
O’Keefe deserves credit for bringing to the public’s attention how easy it would be for voting fraud to take place in Colorado. Perhaps his sting operation will convince Colorado lawmakers to change the way that voting takes place in Colorado. If that was O’Keefe’s intent, then good for him. He deserves a pat on the back.
However, if his intent was simply to smear a sitting U.S. Senator because that person is a Democrat, then O’Keefe failed to do so, despite what he titled a video. Apparently, O’Keefe wants everyone to believe that he caught a trout when he actually caught three minnows.
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By the way, although James O’Keefe demonstrates that it would be easy to commit voting fraud in Colorado, he doesn’t demonstrate that only Democrats would commit voting fraud. There have been cases of Republicans committing such fraud in other states, such as a case in Wisconsin, a case in Arkansas and a possible case in Illinois.