Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part One: James O'Keefe: The Patron Saint of News Grifters

Part One: James O'Keefe: The Patron Saint of News Grifters

Tue, 03 Sep 2019 10:00

Part One: James O'Keefe: The Patron Saint of News Grifters

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Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees. So four whole months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white ape and disappear into the vegetation. Bing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts? Hey guys, I'm Kaylee, short on my podcast. Too much to say. I share my thoughts on everything from music to martinis, social media to social anxiety, regrets to risky text, and so much more. I have been known to read my literal diary entries on my show, and sometimes I do interviews with my crazy group of friends, so if you guys want to tune in, you can hear new episodes of too much to say every Wednesday on the national podcast network. Available on the. My heart radio app, Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to him. What's grifton my mainstream media infrastructure. I'm Robert Evans, host of behind the ******** the show. We tell you everything you don't know about the very worst people in all of history, and every week I also try an introduction that is is, you know, some variant of on topic. This week was more on topic than the others because I'm trying to look extra good in front of my boss, the inimitable Jack O'Brien. Inimitable, so don't try to imitate me. Yeah, I only used that phrase to describe you and Jamie, I think. Ohh. So congratulations that is, that is incredibly high praise. I'm thrilled to be back, Robert. I've been listening to your show quite a bit lately. The series that you explained as though it were like you slacking off, where you read your audio book to Katie and Cody was especially. Good. Thank you. Yeah, good work. Thank you for not firing me, for throwing dangerous items around the recording room. Yeah, we've got reckless abandoned that. But we'll wait until this is the talk about how good it is. Yep, yeah, more right? Well, could they be harder and sharper objects? Yes, I've used company funds to buy throwing knives which which I think I'm going to hybridize with a case of Perrier and see how that works. Hey, you're a guy who's into weapons. Are throwing stars a thing that would ever be dangerous? I mean, yeah, there's sharp things that you can throw at people. I would say in the grand scheme of things that you can buy in America to hurt people with, they're pretty low on the list, right? Yeah, that is a very grand scheme. Yeah. All right. Well, good to know. I guess the ones that I've used in my life have all been toy throwing stars, and they don't have much weight to them, but I'd imagine the the actually weaponized throwing stars have a little bit more heft. Yeah. And you know what's what's scarier than the throwing stars and I think is like, kind of maybe close. I don't know enough about the history of throwing stars, but like, cow trips are what kind of scare me, which are essentially like, jacks, like the toy but like heavier duty and more dangerous. And there's some people that have built, like, drone rigs that you can just dump hundreds of these on, like a street corner and just really tear up people's feet or vehicle tires. You put them in an explosive. No, you don't even have to. You could just drop them on the ground and you have a bunch of. Then suddenly people have to clear all of these sharp, dangerous objects off of a street. And it's like you could, you know, in like a civil unrest situation and a protest and like war in an urban environment, it's a it's a force multiplier that that concerns me more than throwing stars, which I think should be mandatory. I know in my household they are my 3 year old and my one year old are both well versed in. Yeah, the throwing star arts. Yeah. We, we were talking before this episode about your dislike of eyes, so that that scans. Yes. Yeah, exactly. Most parents are like, watch out or you'll put your eye out and I'm like, you'll put your eye out. And that's what we're after, son. That is the goal. Yeah. I'm a good. I'm a good parent. Speaking of people who are good at things, today we're talking about the patron St of what I call news grifters. A little fella you may have heard of named James O'Keefe. What do you know about Jimmy? Jimmy? See which Jimmy James keeps. What was Jimmy saying the other day? Jimmy was saying the funniest thing. No, James O'Keefe is a he. He wants to be a journalist, I think. And he's right. And he, like, does stunts. And he got ACORN shut down for a thing that I don't know. Doesn't seem great. Doesn't seem like it was totally fair to me. But I'm sure you'll tell me about that maybe, yeah. I I suspect like what you've just laid out is kind of what most people going into this are going to know about James O'Keefe, and that's a fair enough. Sort of like broad picture of the guy, but today as we do on this show, we are going to get deep into the nitty gritty. So yeah, let's start at the beginning. James Edward O'Keefe the third, which is a Speaking of things you want to throw throwing stars at that name would be one. Throw that name across the room. He was born in Bergen County, NJ on June 28th, 1984. His father, James O'Keefe, the second, was an engineer and his mother, Deborah, was a physical therapist. James was the oldest of two children. His father had a difficult time getting along in the business world and eventually left corporate life behind to become a landlord. He spent much of his career buying, restoring and renting out old houses. So O'Keefe James O'keefe's upbringing was described by his father as conservative, but not rigidly so. He helped his dad out rebuilding. Homes. But during school, he leaned distinctly more towards the arts than jockey and devours. His favorite classes were theater and art, and he loved to write from an early age. He came to hate construction work with his father and frequently daydreamed about performing on Broadway. So he's like a blocked creative. He's a yeah, yeah, yeah. Once wanted to be an artist and then didn't have the well, yeah, his dad kept yelling. No, you gotta hammer more nails into walls. OK, yeah, that's what I want. Yeah, J O3. Also a contemporary in a number of ways of our mutual friend Daniel O'Brien, which which we're about to get to here. Yeah, I heard that they had a lot of school yard battles and they said that this town isn't big enough for to owe last named people like the rap battles. That was actually all chronicled in the documentary Eight mile, which is about Daniel O'Brien. Yeah. Now, when he entered New Jersey's Westwood High School, James O'Keefe pursued his passion, starring in musicals and learning modern dance. He was an avid Boy Scout and eventually reached the rank of Eagle Scout. But in spite of his dreams of success on the stage, James took a different route. When it came time for college, he enrolled in Rutgers University as a philosophy major and. You had a real inhale. I always feel a little, I don't know, bad when philosophy majors end up being **** humans. But it happens. Yeah, it's one of those things. This is one of the first things I don't understand about James O'Keefe. He has these dreams. Like, it's not weird for someone to have dreams of, like, making it in the arts and then picking a more practical, you know what is traditionally considered a practical major in college? It's weird to be like, no, my dreams of theater are silly. I'm going to become a philosophy. Right. What was the job he was angling for? Wanted to be a philosophy professor? Maybe if you're going to go for something where it's, you know clearly more about the learning than about, you know, setting yourself up for a specific career path, why not go into theater? I don't know. Either way, philosophy is a fine degree program. You don't see too many great people who I would agree with, whose backgrounds are Boy Scouts and philosophy major. I bet that's a that's a gruesome twosome. Yeah, well, what's what's? Well, yeah, you're probably right, actually. I was going to defend the Boy Scouts, but then I remembered the last 10 years. Yeah. So, yeah, maybe I won't do that. That for a time it seemed that James O'Keefe would be more or less an apolitical person. Or at least that's how most write ups, vote keeps, biography, describe him. Politico Long form article about him, which is probably the most detailed biography of James that I've found, notes that quote. When he first became eligible to vote in a presidential election in 2004 as a college sophomore, he stayed home. Which, given the nature of that election, you could have some pretty strong beliefs and still have been like. Harry Bush the smackdown, I mean, that was like a WWE Event, man. Carry what? A electric personality. The unstoppable force meets the immovable object. It was really the most Titanic of struggles. Yeah. Now O'keefe's real political convictions do seem to have evolved less out of his childhood upbringing than his status as a habitual contrarian when he started taking history and Poli SCI courses at Rutgers. James O'Keefe. Got himself surrounded by professors and students with very liberal political bents. He's claimed in most interviews that he's done since that their bias against conservatives infuriated and radicalized him. He also claims that some of his professors were Marxists and even Stalinists. Judging by the level of truth telling apparent in the rest of his career, I have some doubts that his teachers came out to him as Stalinists with any kind of regularity. But you don't tend to meet too many of them in the wild, although it does happen. So pro murder. Yeah, right. In the right circumstances. Well, we'll we'll support millions and millions of people being murdered. Yep. I mean, you run into those people on Twitter, but. I don't know why. Yeah, yeah, not as often. O'Keefe felt drawn towards journalism while he was new in college, and he applied for and received a biweekly column at the Daily Targum, a student newspaper, while he was still a freshman. Now, the fact that this young Conservative was able to get a column in his student newspaper during his freshman year might be seen as evidence that the campus culture was less biased than he presents it. Either way, here's yeah, yeah, like I I wrote for a school paper in my freshman year of all my sophomore year of college. I didn't get a column, like, because they didn't do that for people. They were trying to teach you how to do actual journalism. But yeah, it seems, yeah. So he gets this column. Good lesson about the world at large and that they're like, Oh my God, we found a conservative who can write you guys, everybody over here give him a column. And he probably learned a valuable lesson that day that he's probably not willing to admit to himself even that he learned. Yeah, that is the feeling. One gets so I found a article that wrote up about sort of his early political writings for the Daily Targum notes quote his political writings tended to mix 2 flavors, biting and lofty. 1 installment of his column. Feathers of steel railed against what O'Keefe perceived as a campus culture stacked against conservatives. Yeah. Feathers of steel. Brutal. Yeah, yeah, that was his. Yeah. So Politico writes that his column started out as benign but grew more aggressively conservative and anti left over the months of his first semester. By the end of that semester, he had been inspired to write a column titled pompously enough, the Conservative Manifesto. He argued that Rutgers. Yeah. Wow. I can't believe the entire movement left it up to a college freshman to right their manifesto. But yeah, it's it's worth noting that the only other 19 year old manifesto writers I'm aware of shot up schools and malls. That's right. Shooting in his manifesto, O'Keefe argued that Rutgers promoted an intellectual imbalance by not giving conservatism it's fair due and lessons quote as a citizen of this country, it is my right to have a balanced education. Attention is not focused on Liam balance, but rather that it's stubborn for people like me to still remain conservative. Conservative reason is viewed as intrinsically wrong. This logic is beyond flawed. It's pathetic. Students can't defend its reason because they're fundamental way of being taught is skewed. Yeah, yeah. So that was that was that. That's kind of the tenor of his of his articles. It's unfair that people aren't giving the things I believe equal weight in all of the classes that I take, right. Because every that that's very that that whole like conservatism should be taught just as much as liberalism is very. What's it called? Relativistic? Morally relativistic? Yeah. One of those things they're supposed to be mad at, isn't it? They only support moral relativism when it includes their beliefs, but not things that they do. Yeah, which we'll we'll touch on that a little bit and just a minute here. So yeah, for reasons that are still not 100% certain, O'keefe's column did not return for a second semester. He claimed in a Politico interview that it was simply not renewed. A Talking Points Memo article I found on him. Suggest that he was instead fired, but the link they post is back up for that story does not work. It is unclear exactly what happened. What is clear is that in 2004, James O'Keefe founded an alternative newspaper of his own titled or named the Centurion. The Politico article that I've referenced, which is critical of O'Keefe but in many ways presents a sympathetic look at the man, describes the creation of the Centurion as the end result of a long period of intellectual soul searching by O'Keefe after he lost his column. Quote, dejected, he found. Refuge in journalism, sitting alone for hours each day in a cafeteria and reading 3 newspapers, the New York Times, USA TODAY and Newark Star-ledger, front to back. More consequentially, he discovered rules for radicals, the 1971 book by liberal activist Saul Alinsky, which is required reading for new hires at Project Veritas, O'Keefe and Trua Linsky. Fashion started his own alternative newspaper, the Centurion. It almost didn't get off the ground. The newspaper needed a faculty visor to receive school funds and nobody would sponsor O'Keefe. Finally, a history professor. Free speech absolutist James Livingston agreed on the condition he be given a column. I'm a Marxist, a socialist, a feminist, and a pragmatic postmodernist, Livingston wrote in the November 2004 debut edition. So that sounds good, right? James O'Keefe has started his own, but he's willing to let this guy who very much disagrees with write a column because, like, he's an open minded dude and even though he disagrees with this guy, he appreciates the help he receives. And he's just about free speech, right? That's how Politico presents the start of the Centurion. Talking Points Memo article I found, which actually interviewed Professor Livingston, paints a very different story. Quote. Yeah, after the second column, O'Keefe started running a rejoinder. Right next to it or below it, he tells us unhappy. Livingston complained. I thought they had violated our contract, so I said, hey, you people are conservatives, you people should believe in contracts. At that point, O'Keefe angrily fired Livingston. By this time they had begun to receive funding from various right wing organizations, he says. We've reported that the Leadership institute, which fosters the growth of conservative. Student media and later employed O'Keefe awarded the Centurion a $500.00 balance in Media Grant. So he fires the keep it going. Without Livingstone's patronage, well, he'd gotten the patronage, which is what he needed to get it off the ground with funding. So he was able to dump Livingston and renege on the contract that they had made. And as a reward for kicking off the only dissenting voice on his newspaper, he received a balance in media award from this Conservative Leadership Institute. Yeah. Free speech advocate James O'Keefe. Yeah. So while he ran his propaganda magazine, O'Keefe began to realize in 2005 that print media was not the future of journalism, which is a bold stance to have taken. Maybe you get this Intel, I don't know, it's **** ****** source or something. Uh, you know, I I still, I still feel like paper newsletters are going to come back. I bought a printing press the other day. I really think once this podcasting game collapses, we got to get back into the the yellow journalism field. We're transcribing every one of your episodes and putting it on on paper. I have some hot takes about the sinking of the USS Missouri. That really. So yeah, O'keeffe started experimenting with producing video, and the specific kind of video he wanted to produce was one that would let him indulge in his growing ambition as a journalist while also exercising his buried passion for theater. In his junior year, James O'Keefe organized a meeting with the Rutgers official where he pretended with an accomplice to be an Irish American activist fighting against the stereotyping of his people. O'Keefe complained that the school selling Lucky Charms in the cafeteria was offensive and the end of the serial was not removed from campus. And no effort was undertaken to do so. But the official O'Keefe taped didn't laugh him out of the room. And the fact that he took James seriously rather than mocking him was seen by conservatives as an example of a school official being preposterously sensitive. The video gained 10s of thousands of views on YouTube, back at a time when the site was new enough that those numbers were impressive. Keeps partner at the time, Ben Wetmore, said this of James. His background in theater is a big part of his story. He was fearless. O'Keefe would go on to claim to this day that Rutgers pulled Lucky. Terms from the shelves after his stunt, even though that's not true. So that's this is James's first undercover deal is like, right, so this guy doesn't did that mean that he got to go undercover with the Irish accent? I'm going to guess he really hammed up the Irish accent. I mean, the last name O'Keefe provides some backup there, but yeah. It was like 1 long excuse for him to attempt acting in a way that doesn't make his dad look askance at him. Yeah, and where he can't be criticized for actually being bad at it because, like, it didn't. Yeah, whatever happened when he went into that meeting was going to be a workout for what O'Keefe wanted. Because, like, no school official even receiving a stupid, like, completely inane visit from a student like this, no school official is going to be like. You're a **** ****. Like, **** ***. Like, get the **** out of my office, kid. Yeah, that's just not how it works. They're going to be polite and, like, listen to your complaints, even though they're silly. And like, if the guy, through some fluke listened to O'Keefe and pulled Lucky Charms, then he had a huge story. But if the guy just sat there and took him seriously, he still had a story that would go viral. So, like, you see, O'Keefe like from this early age clearly understands the kind of developing online right wing media ecosystem. That like a pretty gut level, right? So after he graduated in 2006, James O'Keefe grew mildly infamous among Rutgers students for refusing to leave the school. The year after he graduated, in 2007, he attended a student government meeting. When it became time for the members to go into a closed session to elect a new member of the student government, every other guest in the room left, as was tradition and considered polite and decent. But O'Keefe, who was no longer a student at the school quote, refused to leave the room and took out a video camera videotaping. Or attempts to have him leave the room. This person or the person who said this? Yeah, claims that James refused to leave. And quote, ultimately campus police had to escort him out of the building. So he's basically trying to, like, drum up like, look, I'm being oppressed as a conservative for being kicked out of this meeting, even though, like, no, dude, you don't go here anymore. This man just refuses to move on. In many ways, I I think that's actually sadder than somebody, like, in their mid 20s who still shows up at frat parties with a case of natty ice, right? Like, at least that guy's trying to get drunk, and then that guy doesn't. When people are like, man, maybe you should move on, take out his camera, and be like they're trying to oppress me. Yeah, yeah, and I mean, actually, that guy probably does get escorted off campus by security on a number of occasions. It it's less sad, somehow. So by 2009, James O'Keefe had finally found a target that was not on the Rutgers campus. Planned Parenthood. He worked with Lila Rose, a history major from UCLA, with a voice that sounded like a much younger woman. A girl, in fact, Lila would call sundry Planned Parenthood offices, pretending to be 13 years old and saying that she'd gotten pregnant with her 31 year old boyfriend. Now, obviously, a sexual relationship between a 13 year old and a 31 year old is illegal. It's statutory rape on behalf of the 31 year old and legally the person that Planned Parenthood on the phone was required to report the situation to CPS during the calls, Lila Rose. Maybe she would refuse to give her boyfriend's name on the grounds that she thought he would get in trouble. In the videos that, like O'Keefe and Lila made, the Planned Parenthood representatives would usually like, pause for a long time, and in some cases they eventually suggested that, like, basically, it seems like the Planned Parenthood representatives felt sorry for this girl. A few of them would make suggestions, like maybe. Just don't specify the age of the person who got you pregnant so you can get healthcare. But in other cases, like, they would tell her things like, you know, you should really tell your mother or like, we have to follow the law and we actually like, we, we need to know the name of this person so we can report it. So basically, they uncovered a mix of things, a couple Planned Parenthood representatives who did not do what they were legally required to do and other Planned Parenthood representatives who absolutely did. In all cases, you know, those people were kind of reacting by the fact that a young girl. Claiming to be in crisis was coming to them for health care. Yeah, it's like baiting. Baiting an animal trap with empathy. It's like, yeah, these stupid humans and their empathy, let's use that to make them technically violate a law. Yeah, that baiting an animal trap with empathy is a really good way to describe the only thing James O'Keefe actually knows how to do, right? Like, that's his whole career, and we could actually in the episode there, but there's there's a lot more frustrating. In so many ways, yeah. Yeah. But like that's that's the basic tactic is like you you bait the trap with with empathy. And like when people show a human reaction that violates the law technically, then you've got them and you know they they had them and staffers got fired at Planned Parenthood even though no actual services were ever rendered or like act like, seriously attempted to be rendered. This was pretty damning. And, like cut about $1,000,000 in funding out of Planned Parenthood. From a couple of different states in total. So they they did a significant amount of damage to Planned Parenthood through these videos. Yeah. So you know, Lilah's partner in this endeavor? Unserved underserved people seeking help. That's what you get for trying to help a teenager in crisis and maybe not yet dotting all of the eyes and the T's because you're worried about this person seeking a back alley abortion, right? And it also could have been a situation where you are just kind of working with them for now because you know they need the help and planning on finding a way to get them help for the fact that they're being sexually abused later. Like it doesn't. I don't know, it just and that's definitely how it seems from like the the extended conversations. Like there were some of the people were maybe trying to work with her for a little while to build up enough trust to get the information out of her, right? Yeah, it just seems like one of those things where you can't ever have the complete picture of, like, what these people were planning on doing, what was going on behind the scenes of the phone call. O it's just very easy to paint a picture that makes the people look bad. Yeah, especially makes the people look bad to people who already assume these folks are monsters. Like, that's a key part of the story. Yeah, they're not. Yeah. So anyway, that's James O'keefe's first big success. And Speaking of big successes, Jack, you know what doesn't strip hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from contraceptive care? Sponsors, Yep. The people who sponsor our show. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We are not industries. Unless it's coke industries, in which case they don't think it is. Are culpable. Yeah, maybe Coke Industries, they just, they're down a man, so they may not be putting out ads with as much frequency anymore. Yeah, RIP our our primary sponsor. Products. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for none of that. 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Your go to source for all things movies and no matter the genre of what you're into, whether it be comedies, romance, action, sci-fi, horror, superhero movies, I cover it all. I'm no critic. I'm just a guy who loves movies. Each episode explores a different movie. Topic plus spoiler free reviews on the latest new movies in theaters and on streaming. And yes, they're always spoiler free so you don't have to worry about anything getting ruined for you. Plus interviews with actors, directors, and writers covering the behind the scenes of your favorite movies. I also keep you in the know with all the latest movie news and movie trailers. Listen to new episodes of movie Mikes Movie podcast Every Monday on the Nashville podcast network, available on the iHeartRadio App Apple Podcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts. And we're back, and we're talking about James O'Keefe and his crusade to destroy Planned Parenthood with Lila Rose. So, as a result of their successful grift, con whatever you want to call it, investigative journalism, Leila secured $50,000 in funding for an anti abortion charity. The Los Angeles Times article I found on the matter credits this escapade to O'keefe's love of solinski's rules for radicals. Quote among Alinsky's most famous admonitions is one that O'Keefe said he and Rose took to heart. Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. O'Keefe, 24, said he and rose have received criticism from some of their associates for using deception. It's a pretty complicated ethical issue, he said. But we believe there is a genocide and nobody cares, and you can use these tactics, and it's justified. Rosen O'Keefe visited their first clinic, UCLA's Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center, in 2006. They videotaped an employee telling them, some, quote, pretty bad things, said O'Keefe, including that the fetus is a collection of cells. That's what set us in motion. These videos, O'Keefe added, are not supposed to necessarily show people breaking laws. They're supposed to change hearts and minds. Yeah. So, subscribing a fetuses look collection of cells? Yeah, that's the sad thing was it was a bad thing, was a genocide. I remember when, you know Adolf Hitler described a fetus as a collection of cells and how that was the inciting incident of the Holocaust, or of course, the first sign. Yeah, and how the Bosnian Genocide launched was launched at a Planned Parenthood in Sarajevo. Yes. Yeah. Matter of Planned Parenthood have some really problematic. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I think it was Margaret. Margaret Sanger. Yeah. Yeah. She was a she was a not a good person, I mean, and it's one of those things, like, it's the same thing if you look back at a lot of abolitionists, they were unbelievably racist. And a significant number of them just wanted all the black people to go back to Africa. Doesn't mean they were wrong in the main thing they were crusading for. It just means that, like, people were worse back then, like. By and large, which doesn't, you know? Excuse the bad stuff, but Planned Parenthood is not a eugenicist organization in the year of our Lord 2019. Now, this particular scam was not a pure win for James O'Keefe. At the time, he'd been working for the Leadership Institute, that conservative organization that had been formed to see the world with right wing grifters like James that invested time into him when he was in college, and now he was traveling around the country helping them find more recruits. That's how he'd met Lila Rose. But there was fallout from the Planned Parenthood video. See, California law requires both parties to be aware of a recording, and since O'Keefe hadn't followed the law during that UCLA caper, he got slapped with a cease and desist. And the original video was taken down. Now, this didn't stop it from spreading or stop the damage that was done to Planned Parenthood, but it looked bad enough that the leadership institute fired James O'Keefe from his cushy gig. Fortunately, James quickly found a new focus for his time and attention, a journalism student from Florida International University named Hannah Giles. Now, Politico again paints a pretty sanitized view of Giles. It describes her as just a simple journalism major who spotted an acorn office during a jog, saw school kids waiting for a bus next to a bunch of prostitutes. Were in front of the office and became disturbed by that. Acorn is, of course, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform now, or at least was as that name would suggest. They were an alliance of grassroots organizations working for greater social and economic justice. Acorn became something of a conservative bug bear in 2008 when several employees were caught filing fake voter applications during voter registration drives. Now these employees were caught and fired, and there's no evidence that any fake people actually voted, just that the voters were registered. Essentially, as part of a scheme by the workers to make themselves look more effective, the offending employees were again fired. But this didn't stop a narrative from developing that Acorn had gotten Obama elected via massive voter fraud. Now, in fairness to the right, there was also a scandal when the Acorns founder embezzled nearly $1,000,000. So I'm not going to pretend that the organization was spotless. There were reasons to eye them, but in the wake of our first black president's election, they became a scapegoat for the refusal of certain Republicans to believe that most of America did not want to McCain, Palin. Presidency. So that's kind of the background here. So Hannah Giles is running past the ACORN office, and she sees all this depravity around it, and she claims that it inspired her to launch a scheme. She decided to dress up like a prostitute and ask for help getting public housing so she could run a brothel. Public housing assistance was another thing that ACORN did, and it's something they received federal funds for. So if she was able to actually capture them, helping her to try to do this, she'd be able to claim that ACORN was using government funds to help in prostitution. But Giles was nervous. She'd never done anything like this in her life, and she wasn't sure what would happen if she got caught. She told some of her friends about her idea, and one of them suggested that she reach out to James O'Keefe. It should turned out that Giles sort of knew James already. A year earlier, he'd sent her an unsolicited Facebook message saying you're pretty cute. Too bad you live in Florida. Now, she hadn't been down to **** for some reason, but she had kept up an occasional court. It didn't. It didn't work. Yeah, that line, she didn't respond. I don't need to live in Florida, which would have been probably what he was hoping for. Yeah. Yeah, I think that's what he was hoping for. But she did keep up a correspondence with her, and so she had his contact information and reached out to him in June of 2009 to pitch him her idea. I'm going to quote now from Politico when he arrived in Washington a month later to pick her up. Commence the operation. Giles came outside to meet O'Keefe but found him frazzled, unable to extract his credit card from a parking meter. He's definitely unique. I've not met many people like him, Charles laughs. Yeah. This is something you run into a lot with stories about O'Keefe from his colleagues and friends. They'll repeatedly note that he has a kind of a nearly pathological inability to handle normal daily living tasks like. He lived with his parents into his late 20s, which I don't want to shame, but in this particular case, again, based on the things his friends say, it seems like he never kind of learned how to be an adult, right? Yeah, he just just picturing him just, like being stuck on a on a parking meter for just, like, yanking on it. Poor James. Yeah, he figured out how to grift early on and and never learned how to do his laundry, right. Like, that's the kind of guy we're talking about. So we'll talk a little bit more about that later because it becomes more relevant in a bit. I'm going to quote again from Politico's coverage of the acorn caper. Over the next two months, O'Keefe and Giles visited ACORN offices in eight cities. The script was the same. The pimp and prostitute would ask for housing to run a brothel, then push the line of questioning into the absurd and blatantly illegal, then wait for ACORN officials to take the bait. Plenty of them did O'keefe's most effective gambit, claiming he would be housing underage El Salvadorian girls in Baltimore. An employee said he could claim them as dependents and get a child tax credit, and San Bernardino, CA and employee said they could categorize the brothel as a group home to stay off law enforcement's radar and other offices. Giles was instructed. Had to falsify tax forms. So O'Keefe went live with highly edited videos showcasing this behavior and it hit acorn like an atom bomb. Their federal funding was cut and the bad publicity effectively killed the organization in the United States. Now this much is beyond arguing. O'Keefe and Giles absolutely ignited a media firestorm that wiped out the organization, but the question of how much malfeasance they actually uncovered with an acorn is very much up for debate. Politico's article takes the tack that they were basically correct in their claims. Although they exaggerated things somewhat, they cite Clark Hoyt, public editor for the New York Times, who viewed the unedited footage. Hoyte wrote quote the sequence of some conversations was changed. Some workers seemed concerned for Giles, one advising her to get legal help in two cities. Acorn workers called the police, but the most damning words matched the transcripts in the audio and do not seem out of context now. Politico notes that O'Keefe and Giles were slapped with various lawsuits and that James had to settle for $100,000 with one San Diego employee who was fired for his remarks on camera. Even though he called the police after the group left the office. But yeah, Politico's coverage of the controversy basically fits to a trend within centrist and liberal media of writing about O'Keefe they go out of their way to be fair to him and usually wind up deciding to validate or at least partly validate what he's reported on. Now, that's not the only so we keep coming back to Politico describing him, and it feels like Politico explicitly like their mission statement is we want to be the ESPN of politics, right? Yeah, I think that's basically the goal. And so that that idea, that mission statement is premised on the idea that politics is a contest with two equal sides and yes, so. Yeah, I don't know that. That's just, it's that centrist bias that ends up having a right wing bias because it forces them to give the right the benefit of the doubt in all cases so that, like, they are seen as a legitimate foil. That's exactly what keeps happening, and it's particularly happened to O'Keefe in his early career and the the political article. I do need to keep quoting because it's got some of the best background on O'keefe's early life and personality that you're going to run into, but it is, it's very much contains this problem now and a little bit of fairness to Politico, they're not the only people who report that way. The New York Times Magazine also published a big piece on O'Keefe a few years back, and they all they do the same thing Politico did. Their writers have Chaffetz glosses over very important facts, and I'm going to quote now. Or write up in the Atlantic that criticizes both pieces. Quote the mortal sin that O'Keefe commits in the acorn videos is misleading the audience. His videos are presented to the public in less than honest ways that go beyond normal selectivity. Instead of quoting a former New York Times public editor who wrote 2 columns about the acorn controversy as his expert source, Chaffetz should have consulted the report from the California Attorney General's Office. The staffers who wrote it interviewed everyone involved, saw all the raw video footage, and issued a lengthy accounting with detailed descriptions of the misleading edits O'Keefe. Made now, one of those misleading edits was mentioned briefly in the political article. It's the story of Juan Carlos Vera, an employee at Acorn San Diego office and the guy who successfully sued James for $100,000. Quote in the ACORN videos, it appears that Vera is willing to be an accomplice in the made-up smuggling plot O'Keefe may well have thought so at the time. According to the California Attorney General's investigation, however, very did not know what to make of the parrot. First, tried to elicit as much information as possible from them so that he could contact law enforcement, and called his cousin a police officer. As soon as they left, phone records confirmed the call to his cousin, and Vera was soon directed to a San Diego police officer who specializes in human smuggling. He spoke to that police officer, too. As Vera was cooperating with police, the acorn sting videos began to appear, portraying him as a willing child smuggler. He was fired from ACORN during the PR fallout and has since filed a lawsuit against O'Keefe and Giles. And this gets to the core of the issues around O'Keefe. He absolutely found some evidence of bad behavior in ACORN, but it wasn't nearly enough to confirm his preconceived notions about systemic abuses. In the organization. So he lied to present that image, and even when he didn't lie, he exhibited terrible journalistic practices. When you when you do something like this, when you get an undercover recording of someone that seems to show them breaking the law in this way, once you've gotten the recording, the next thing you do if you're a real journalist is you confront them and the organization with the evidence. And if O'Keefe had done that before going public, then they would have been able to say no. Actually, he was just trying to get information. Here's the evidence that he followed the law and was actually trying to stop this. But James didn't do that because he's not a real journalist, because the truth isn't on his side as much as he wants it to be, and also because he's a a failed actor theater kid who, yeah, he like, dressed in a like ****** Halloween pimp costume. No, that's a lie. So he dressed when he went to Acorn, actually, with Hannah Jot or with Giles, he was dressed in a suit. He did pretend to be a pimp, but he was dressed in it like a normal person. But when he showed up in media appearances on Fox News and the like, he wore a flamboyant pimp costume, and he claimed that that's what he'd been wearing when he walked into Acorn's offices. But that was just a lie. Yeah, because he's a liar. Yeah, yeah. He's a liar who wishes he had been good at theater and could could dress up for a living. Yeah, yeah. So obviously, you know, in spite of the rampant journalistic malpractice that this is evidence of. This whole scam, you know, launched James O'Keefe into the stratosphere of the conservative media. He was suddenly one of the most popular people on the right, and you know it it it made his career. Now, O'Keefe told Politico that all this attention made him deeply uncomfortable because he was a, quote, lifelong introvert. But when Politico interviewed Hannah Giles, she had different recollections. Quote, he ate it up. I actually became pretty repulsed and disgusted by the conservative movement. I saw a lot of hypocrisy, they thought. Because I exposed ACORN that I must be some right wing fangirl. But I dropped off. I stopped going. James couldn't stop. So that makes Hannah seem like maybe a a decent person who just got caught up in this. I should point out that the Politico article did not go into any detail about who Hannah Giles is, but Hannah is a news grifter as well. Up until 2017, she was the front woman for the American Phoenix Foundation, an organization aimed at doing the same sort of shady undercover journalism that O'Keefe. Engages in they accrued 800 hours of recordings of Texas State legislators in the hopes of finding some dirt, yet failed to get anything meaningful. Then they were sued after several of their top donors complained that the AP F had not informed them that its whole purpose was to secretly record lawmakers. I should also note that Hannah's dad is Doug Giles, a conservative pundit who writes columns for the website town hall with titles like WWJD who would Jesus torture? That article takes the angle that actually torture is awesome. He also has a major penchant for writing. Articles about black on white crime. So again, Hannah Giles is not as Politico presented her. However, the fact that she has disassociated herself from James O'Keefe in the present day ought to be evidence of the fact that he has fallen from grace. So let's talk about how that happened. In January of 2010, James O'Keefe decided to go after Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. The apparent larger plan was to stop the Affordable Care Act from passing in Congress, and it's unclear how they plan to do that. But one of O'keefe's colleagues at the time claims that he made a spur of the moment decision to prank Senator Landrieu instead. The Tea Partiers who lived in her district had complained that she was blocking their calls. So O'Keefe hatched a plan to see if that was true by having his men dress up as telephone repairman. None of them, actually. Got tools to the office and they were busted immediately. O'Keefe and his men were charged with entering a federal building under false pretenses. Jailed and convicted, he spent three years under probation. Yeah, he is a convicted criminal, yes. Here's what Politico wrote about this in 2018. What O'Keefe does not regret as the sting itself, he says the entire episode being jailed, having a judge discard video footage that could have exonerated them in the three years probation, enlightened him to the corrupt regime we all live under. Yes. The corrupt regime where a humble journalist isn't allowed to pretend to be a telephone repairman and enter an office under false pretenses. I thought that's how all journalism was conducted, isn't that? Yeah, it's it's for some dressy, entirely fair village people or something. And then, yeah, I mean, to be entirely fair, some very important undercover journalism has been carried out by journalists who lied about who they were in order to enter and be able to record things like factory farms and other like, like, like criminal endeavors and stuff like that. That absolutely good journalism has been done by people who have entered situations under false pretenses. So I don't want to claim that's never been justified in the history of journalism, just that O'Keefe didn't have any sort of clear. Like they wanted, there was see if she was blocking his calls, so he wanted to see if she was. Yeah, if he was blocking Tea Partiers calls. Yeah, so he he. Yeah, that's the best way. Yeah, yeah. So it it does seem that O'Keefe didn't learn anything from the punishment he received for that. Later in 2010, CNN correspondent Abby Boudreaux reached out to James O'Keefe to interview him now. By this point, he created the nonprofit organization Project Veritas, which is dedicated to carrying out more of the kind of skullduggery he'd enacted upon ACORN. The success of the ACORN project had flushed Project Veritas with donor cash, and James and his new team were eager to spend it. So rather than just giving an interview like a normal person. He decided to use Abby Boudreaux's visit as an excuse to take down the fake news CNN he and his team hatched a scheme to usher Boudreaux onto a boat and into the presence of James O'Keefe, who would be waiting below decks with a hidden camera. Planning documents obtained by CNN stated that James would be surrounded by, quote, a condom jar, ****** posters, paintings of ***** ***** and fuzzy handcuffs. Wait, that sounds like real journalism. This plan was to lure a CNN reporter to who just wanted to interview him around a bunch of like, ******. And yeah, he would he wanted to lure her on her onto a boat where he would be waiting with sex gear, presumably to try and seduce her or something, or at least just make her look awkward and bad in a video. So his his plan to uncover the mainstream media's bias was to sexually harass somebody who was a member of the mainstream media. And just yeah. And who was her job? Trying to do her job and let him talk about his beliefs and his activities? Jesus Christ. Yeah, it's pretty gross. I've understood what his plot was up to this point and all the all those grifts, but that that was very confusing. You run into this with O'Keefe? His grifts are a mix of like, OK, well, maybe I think that's unethical, but I see why you went after that person or tried that and then in **** like this where it's like, what the **** was the best case scenario here, right? Yeah, I feel like sexually assault a woman. He's not good at taking down the mainstream media. Like, that's where he gets in trouble because he's like, his his idea of how you do journalism is so dumb that he just assumes that those are the rules everybody's playing by. And, yeah, yeah, yeah, he's he's actually taken the opposite lesson out of solinski's rules for radicals. You know, Linsky says make the make the essentially, like, make the the people you're fighting play by their own rules. But he assumes the media plays by the rules. That he plays by. Yeah. It's like, no, we're like, that's not how things work. Make Europe. Yeah. They don't play by the rules of a 1930s Warner Brothers cartoon. I feel like that's those are the rules he plays by. Yes. Yes. We're going to talk more about this, this scheme and some schemes that make this look downright well planned. But you know what is really well planned, Jack? Man, I can't even begin to imagine it's the products and services that support this show. Yeah, they are. They're the most well planned. They are very credible planning. Products. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. There's no luring you in with free subscriptions or streaming services that you'll forget to cancel and then be charged full price for none of that. 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To be able to do it within podcasting is just such a gift. I believe it was 18 months after I got on with Spreaker that I was making enough that I could quit my day job. It was incredible. I always feel like an ambassador for speaker. But that's because I'm passionate about podcasting. It's really easy to use. I always tell people I am so not tech. Took me 5 minutes to get comfortable with spreaker, and when I find a new friend that has an incredible show, I want them to make money. I want them to be able to do what I did. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's break your handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Get paid to talk about the things you love. Spreaker from iheart, you love movies or maybe just Anita? Some recommendations on what new movies to watch next time you sit down in front of the TV? Well, I have the podcast for you. Hey, this is Mike D from movie Mikes movie podcast. Your go to source for all things movies and no matter the genre of what you're into, whether it be comedies, romance, action, sci-fi, horror, superhero movies, I cover it all. I'm no critic, I'm just a guy who loves movies. Each episode explores a different movie. Topic plus spoiler free reviews on the latest new movies in theaters and on streaming. And yes, they're always spoiler free so you don't have to worry about anything getting ruined for you. Plus interviews with actors, directors, and writers covering the behind the scenes of your favorite movies. I also keep you in the know with all the latest movie news and movie trailers. Listen to new episodes of movie Mikes Movie podcast Every Monday on the Nashville podcast network, available on the iHeartRadio App Apple Podcast, or wherever you listen to podcasts. We're back. Ohh Jesus, where did we go? We that we went to the place that all podcasters go in during ads that the dark void where we we spend most of our time. Yep, most listeners don't really realize the the horrible price we pay for the the wonder of being able to cast pods. Alright, question for you. So my last name is obrien and that's because I am a bet. My ancestors were followers of a king named Brian Baru. So we were, you know of Brian O'Brien does. Yeah. And Keith is weed crystals do you think? Yeah. So do you think his like his ancestors were stoners? And if so, shouldn't he be cooler? Who were followers of Chief Keef? Yeah, that's what I thought. Yeah. So shouldn't he be cooler? You you would think so. But, you know, even Stoner kings need a brutal, exploitative enforcers. And that's what the O'Keefe clan has historically done. Yeah, OK, yeah, it's tragic. But if you do, I will tell listeners if you scrape a pipe against his skin, you will get a full bowl of dank crystals. So give it a shot if you if you would counter. Teams of Keith and the wild. Chief that Keith? Yeah, chief, that Keith. So we're talking about James's attempt to lure a female journalist into a sex boat for unclear reasons that do not seem to meet the definition of journalism. I I, you know, I'm not an expert on what. I never went to Jay School, but I don't think this is journalism. That's what they teach the Atlantic further rights of this incident, quote O'Keefe later claimed he didn't approve of such props. In any case, once he got her down there alone, he planned to make her uncomfortable by attempting to seduce her. Then he'd somehow humiliate Boudreaux and embarrass CNN by releasing footage of the bizarre incident. It was averted at the last minute when a female member of O'keefe's team became uncomfortable with the plan and tipped off the reporter to what was intended. So it is nice to know that people with souls occasionally do work with James O'Keefe right this case. I was assuming she like, became uncomfortable and raised the raised a like, logical point of view with him. No, she, like had to. She was like, well, there's no way I'm convincing him that this is a just banana **** idea like we should. I I have to, like, just blow it up. Yeah. And that that is made very clear by later things we're going to talk about. You don't question James O'Keefe when you work for him. I really do suspect that this woman's only option to stop this horror from happening was to, like, go to the journalist and say you're actually in danger, right. Has he ever tried to seduce Bill Clinton by dressing up in, like, putting lipstick on and, like, the way Bugs Bunny, like Girl Bugs Bunny is used to seduce? You know, I would actually respect him if he tried to do that, that, that. Would be legitimately funny, wouldn't it? Still would not be journalism, but would be very funny. But it seems like it's in the same universe, the same logic. I think the difference is that Bill Clinton is a powerful person who would be able to strike back at him, and he thought that Abby wouldn't that, like CNN would throw her under the bus the way everyone throws people under the bus who O'Keefe goes after. Yeah, and I don't think O'Keefe O'Keefe never punches up, really. Got it. Yeah. He tends to punch people that he knows don't, won't really be able to defend themselves in a meaningful way. So he's a hero. Yeah. So he's a hero. Yeah. Like all of our heroes, we we remember when Superman, who is famous for beating up and murdering people weaker than him, that's why he's a hero. Batman, who actually, that is what Batman is, actually. Beats up poor criminals. Weird. Alright. Yeah, yeah, he is. He is a bit like Batman. By 2010, James O'Keefe was firmly under the wing of a fella named Andrew Breitbart, who was a right wing journalist and founder of and also a massive cocaine addict, which I state because it's funny, not because it's any mark against him. You know you're not a bad person just because you like cocaine. Although Andrew Breitbart was a bad person. Now, Andrew was a major force in publicizing O'keefe's early work and legitimizing him in conservative media, but even he had to partly disavowed James O'Keefe after this incident, saying quote, from what I've read about this script, though not executed, it is patently gross and offensive. It's not his detractors to whom he owes this public airing. It's to his legion of supporters, which I would argue that maybe the person James Oden's apology to the most was Abby Boudreaux, right, but. Nope, just his conservative followers. Just just his conservative ****. **** Abby boudreau. For her unethical crime of trying to interview him and treat him like a serious person. How dare she. So over the next several years, James O'Keefe would carry out numerous other schemes. Most of them were complete flops, like his attempt to seduce Boudreaux. Others were more successful, like Project Veritas expose of bias at NPR. The basic story is that in 2011, several Project Veritas employees pretending to be Muslim. Activists managed to wangle a meeting with the CEO of NPR's Ron Schiller. The edited version of the video made it look as if Schiller was expressing dismissive disgust with conservatives and includes a clip of him saying that liberals might be more educated, fair, and balanced than conservatives. But like every project Veritas video, it's selectively edited out context. In the full version of the clip, immediately after saying that Ron Schiller had added that he used to be a Republican and was proud of his past as a Republican, the edited video includes clips of Schiller. Saying that the Republican Party has been hijacked by the Tea Party and made it look as if he called Tea Partiers racist. But the full video makes it clear that Schiller was, in fact, not describing his own views, but talking about the way several of his wealthy Republican friends thought about the Tea Party. So again, it's, yeah, completely cutting out the context now, despite the deceptive things that he's being accused of saying are accurate. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. OK yeah, yeah, sure. Yeah, despite the deceptive editing, Ron Schiller was forced to resign from his post at NPR. But James O'Keefe suffered some blowback, too, when it was discovered how dishonest the editing had been. Glenn Beck had been a major backer of James O'Keefe blew up on him and disavowed him. Over the next near decade, most of James O'Keefe successes have followed this basic pattern. He puts out a video purporting to show something damning. It provokes a backlash, which brings a conservative rage mob down on James's target. Damage is done, and then it's later revealed that large portions of what? Project Veritas. Claimed were lies or distortions. James had a string of notable successes in the 2012 election. One of his reporters managed to push Senator Patrick Moran into joking about forging documents to vote in the name of dead people. Moran resigned as a result of Project Veritas's coverage. O'Keefe also caused a sensation in the right wing media when he and several of his reporters were able to get the ballots of other people in states with no voter ID laws. No one actually voted with fraudulent ballots, but Project Veritas succeeded in getting a couple of Democratic staffers to say things that they later had to resign over. All of these schemes had the same problem as every James O'Keefe operation, but they were undoubtedly effective at pushing a narrative in the right wing media. Now, the fact that so many of his schemes do damage has kept Project Veritas and O'Keefe very well funded. In 2017, the year before that Politico article was published, he raised more than $7 million. In January of 2018, he's turned his sights to Twitter to release an undercover investigation of the site's purported bias against conservatives, according to Politico quote. The substance was intriguing, if not explosive. One former employee touted the practice of shadow banning accounts based on ideological content, while a higher ranking current official admitted that employees perused the ****** images exchanged by users. And yet, the mere fact that O'keefe's outfit had infiltrated the social media giant was cause for celebration on the right. So nothing O'Keefe found was evidence of systemic bias against conservatives. But that didn't actually matter. Project Veritas is reporting fueled the almost religious belief among the American right that they're being persecuted by someone. Right, yeah. Now, as you'd expect, James has had more misses than hits over the years. Most of these misses disappear quickly and without much fanfare. But in the fall of 2017, he and his team suffered a particularly delightful **** ** a project Veritas undercover reporter Jamie Phillips reached out to the Washington Post and claimed, falsely, that Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore had statutorily raped her as a teenager and then forced her to have an abortion. The goal of this lie was to discredit all the other women who'd reached out about Moore's tendency to assault. Teenage girls, but Jamie Phillips forgot to clean up her digital footprint well enough before going to the Washington Post and the post. Reporters, being actual journalists, did some basic Googling and found a go Fund me campaign she'd set up to raise money to help her move to New York and quote work in the conservative media movement to combat the lies and deceit of the Liberal MSN MSM. Yeah, yeah, they're bad at this. The Post subsequently published several articles about what a bunch of bullshitty ************ James O'Keefe and his band of reporters were. O'Keefe lashed back at the Washington Post in Public publishing a video titled Breaking Undercover Video exposes Washington Post's hidden agenda. All they actually had was a recording of a post reporter admitting that articles about President Trump got lots of readers. Which is not exactly dammit, wow. Yeah, that's basically what they did is they caught him saying that objectively true thing that is yeah, OK yes, they caught the post admitting that the president of the United States was a popular topic for their political articles. Wasn't there also like a thing where they were like, videotaping each other, like doing a I'm videotaping, you want videotaping, you like a standoff thing? I don't think it's standoff occurred, but they, like, they both purported to have the goods on the other. Only one of them actually got anything, which was the post because, again, all the posts. Yeah, it's it was frustrating and it looked bad for James O'Keefe. It was something he was legitimately unable to spin, according to Politico quote. He took it hard. Friends described the New Jersey native as manically driven and extremely sensitive to criticism. And several said the botched post job was the lowest they'd seen him, lower even than his 2010 incarceration following the failed attempt to discover telephonic misdeeds in the Louisiana office of then Senator Mary Landrieu post. Just being this is the saddest we've ever seen him. Yeah, he was down in the dumps. They did. I didn't succeed in making women complaining about their sexual assault at the hands of an adult when they were children look uncredible by lying. Boo Hoo. Poor me. Yeah. That's that's what his lowest point is, is his failure to discredit victims of sexual assault. What do you think are sorry? You you mentioned that they make $7 million or they get $7 million, so their budget is like $7 million a year. Yeah. Yeah. And O'Keefe reportedly gets somewhere, at least. At least in 2017, he was getting around $300,000 a year as a salary. Well, that's fair. I mean. I mean, look at what he's done. But, like, we've run editorial institutions before, like, there's no how is he spending that much money on nothing. They have a lot of failures and they have a very expensive office. Wow. I mean, like, it is one of those things where it's like if I had $70,000 in funding a year for journalism, like, I could do seven or eight trips to places like. Area in a year and put out stuff like, I don't know where they spend this money, but that's my general issue with so much of like these media, it's like, what are you, what are you use that ******* money for? Like they're just trying to hammer the reality into the truth that they want. To exist and it's just not working. But they and they pay themselves like kings to do it. I mean, the problem is it does work. It just isn't journalism. But it's it's really frustrating to me because, like one of the stories that came out this year that like obviously didn't get any play is that a, a great French foreign correspondent who done a lot of great conflict journalism, killed himself this year because he couldn't get work and couldn't do the job that he loved doing anymore. And like across the world, a lot of really good foreign correspondents. And conflict. Journalists have, like, quit or gone into PR or like, moved stateside and had to stop doing the job they loved to do some sort of, you know, essentially less valuable work because there's just no money in it. Meanwhile, James O'Keefe has $7 million to attempt to sexually assault CNN reporters. Yeah, it's frustrating. Yeah, I mean it's how it seems to be, how how the country works. Yeah, quote the post debacle also might have marked a point of no return and keep's relationship with the media. A self-described journalist, O'Keefe looks in the mirror and sees a muckraker in the mold of Upton Sinclair or Nellie Bligh taking bold, unconventional steps to expose what no mainstream reporter ever could. And he's apparently obsessed with good undercover journalism like the bathrooms and Project Veritas are covered with like, news. Like headlines and stuff from like a centuries worth of great undercover exposes of, like, you know, **** like Upton Sinclair's work and whatnot. So he really does seem to have a deep love of that kind of journalism, but no idea of what made the people who were actually good at it and actually doing good using those tactics good. Yeah. Yeah. In a related note, James O'Keefe is also a big fan of frequent ******** pod side character Alex Jones. He's been on Infowars a number of times, and Infowars regularly has people who have been Project Veritas interview subjects on as guests. When Politico pressed James O'Keefe about this his he insisted, I'm not going to say a negative word about Alex Jones. This was because, you know, keep's words. The rules of engagement are different when you're an insurgent. We are insurgents who have an existential threat. Against us by the government, the system which seeks to shut us down, and a complacent and corrupt media. In that world, we retain the right as Veritas to hold the site accountable. That won't hold itself accountable, and we consider Alex Jones an ally in that fight. O'Keefe significant impact on American politics and the millions of dollars he's received to fund his operations have led to a consequent explosion. In his ego and that Politico interview, he describes Project Veritas as one third CIA 1/3 James Bond and 1/3 Mike Wallace. Yeah, that's that's frustrating to hear. He goes out of his way to make a good impression on interviewers and in his Fox appearances. But it's also clear to observers and backed up by former employees that James O'Keefe is a monstrous **** and a nightmare to work with. Quote from Politico during my time with O'Keefe and his fresh faced posse, I never once witnessed any of them challenge him. O'Keefe is known to be brutal on his employees. They are by and large a collection of young yes men. So that's cool. Yeah, yeah. And I think all men after the one woman. He hired a exposed to scheme to again sexually harass a journalist. Now James views himself as a real reporter, a trailblazing muckraker in the mold of Upton Sinclair. He's furious that mainstream reporters have not recognized his brilliance. This desire has been stymied by the fact that in some ways, James O'Keefe is a very, very dumb man. And mentioned yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm glad you just came out and kind of said it. Yeah, we're about to give the best evidence of that, even better evidence than not being able to work a parking meter. Picture, yeah. Like, because so he was picking her up at the train station. So that suggests that she was, you know, in there waiting for him and then, like, had to leave and find him outside, just stuck there, unable to operate the the parking meter. Yeah, yeah, yeah. She might have gotten where she was going faster if she just taken the bus. So yeah, in 2016, James O'Keefe attempted to take down George Soros. On March 16th, he and some colleagues placed a call to. Oh, it's even better than you're thinking it's gonna be. On March 16th, he and some colleagues placed a call to Dana Garatti of the Open Society Foundation. She didn't pick up, so they left her a voicemail. A 7 minute voicemail. I'm going to quote from Maria. I'm going to quote from the New Yorkers coverage now quote hey Dana, A voice began. The caller sounded to her like an older American male. My name is Victor Kesh. I'm hungry, I'm hungry. Cash Cash? Yeah, cash, that's cash. I'm a Hungarian American who represents a foundation that would like to get involved with you and aid what you do in fighting for European values. He asked Gyrates for the name of someone he could talk to about supporting you guys and coordinating with you or on some of your efforts, requesting a call back, he left a phone number with a 914 area code, Westchester County. She heard a click, a pause, and then a second male voice, the person who had introduced himself. As Kesh said, don't say anything. Before I hang up the phone, and then the voicemail continued for several minutes, cash, who was actually O'Keefe, could be clearly heard talking to his subordinates. What needs to happen, he said, is for someone other than me to make 100 phone calls like that to Soros, to his employees, and to the Democracy Alliance, a club of wealthy liberal political donors that Soros helped to found, which is expected to play a large role in financing this year's campaigns. Kesh described sending into the Soros office as an undercover agent who could talk the talk with open society executives. Kesha's goal wasn't fully. Spelled out in the recording, but the gist was that an operative posing as a potential donor could penetrate sorosis operation and make secret videos exposing embarrassing activities. Soros, he assured the others, has thousands of organizations on the left in league with him. Kess said that the name of the project was discovered. The networks again, this is all on the voicemail that he left. George Sorces employee. Yeah, it continues. The money that would be offered cash said wouldn't. Couldn't. Yeah. Somebody like tries to interrupt him. He's like, wait, wait, wait. No, wait, wait. Don't you dare interrupt me. Ingenious secret plan. But the money that would be offered, cash said, couldn't come from offshore British Virgin Island companies because Soros is. People don't want to take money from a group like that. He claimed that Bill Clinton would take the suspect cast cash and Hillary Clinton would, and Chelsea would. This all continued for much longer than it should have. At one point, O'Keefe and his reporters tried to find Garatti on LinkedIn so they could check her resume and find ways to manipulate her into giving them entry into what he called the sorrows octopus. Quote, One member of the team suggested to cash that he knew. Someone who could infiltrate the Soros network. An English orthopedic surgeon with a real heavy British accent who is in the US and was more than happy to do anything he can for us. The surgeon was sophisticated about technology and would not have any problem with the cameras, the team members said. He's a very talented guy, so I mean he'll be able to pull it off. As Kesh mapped out the covert attack, however, he had no idea that the only person he was stinging was himself. She's probably going to call me back, and if she doesn't, I can create other points of entry at that point he like while still on the voicemail recording. James. Keith looked up her LinkedIn page and found out that he had revealed himself to her. Because when you look at someone on LinkedIn while logged in on LinkedIn, it shows them that you've looked at her profile, which he did ask James O'Keefe and also on the ******* voicemail. Because you got to hear him realize that he had himself over. Wow. ******* himself over, himself over. Yeah. And his his subordinates are the one that realized he's done this and they, like, warn him of this. And it's recorded him, like, frantically logging out. Oh my God, it's so bad. What a genius. Yeah, and then the next thing I'm assuming you're going to tell me is that he then gets his foot stuck in a bucket and falls down a bunch of steps and his hand head lands in a trash bag. His head lands in a trash bag, and then he farts for a minute and 1/2 on care. So yeah, it's it's embarrassing. And James O'Keefe is dumb, but he's still done a lot of damage, so I I don't want that. Like, I don't want his incompetence to over shadow his his danger. Now, I should note that the only Republican of note that Project Veritas has ever gone after was a guy named Mike Ellis, a Wisconsin State Senate President. They caught him on video talking about setting up an illegal pack, something virtually all politicians do, but most are smart enough not to talk about directly. Project Veritas was paid $50,000. To go after Ellis, or at least it's presumed that he was paid this money to go after Ellis. He was paid by a guy named Eric O'Keefe who's not related to him. But Eric is the director of the Wisconsin Club for Growth and he hated Ellis. So many people basically suspect that he bribed Project Veritas to go after him. This is again the only meaningful case of Veritas ever going after a Republican. Most of their money comes from bribes larger than $50,000. They're major funders are people like Robert Mercer who also poured money into Breitbart News, and Charles and David Koch who are also major project. Veritas donors. Although I should say David Koch used to be a major project Veritas donor. Now he is a noted dead person. Angels. He's he's paying the angels to run undercover camera operations on the other angels now. That's right, another backer of Project Veritas was Donald Trump, who put $20,000 into the group before the 2016 election and met with O'Keefe numerous times. One additional person who helped Project Veritas out in the 2016 election was bloodthirsty mercenary and another frequent ******* pod side character, Eric Prince. Yeah, EP gets in on the story. Yeah, I'm gonna quote yeah, EP baby, I'm going to quote now from an article in The Intercept on Prince called the Complete Mercenary quote. In late 2015 or early 2016, Prince arranged for O'Keefe and Project Veritas received training and intelligence and elicitation techniques from a retired military intelligence operative named Euripides Rubio Junior. According to a former Trump White House official who discussed the Veritas training with Rubio, the former special operative quit after several weeks of training, complaining that the Veritas Group wasn't capable of learning. Thank God. Yeah, there's not a lot of detail there, but it just sounds like not be allowed to hold loaded weapons. Yeah, very dumb, Sir. I think it was more training on like, how to interrogate and like get people to reveal like, stuff based on like, you know, his his work is in military Intel operative, but they were just. Dumb. All they know how to do is dress up in stupid costumes and try to carry out bad schemes like, they they they couldn't win. An actual intelligence operative was like, well, let's try to train these guys. He found out that they were essentially untrainable just middle school Halloween costume level. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That's that's Project Veritas now. James O'Keefe. Oh, course. Went hard after Hillary Clinton during the campaign. Some of his schemes fell flat, like when Project Veritas knife to have an American buy a Hillary Clinton shirt. From a Democratic staffer for a Canadian citizen, Project Veritas framed this is the campaign accepting illegal donations from a foreigner? The first question yeah, they threw a press conference and the first question was basically, are you ******** us? Like? Leading the campaign, yeah. Easing when you yeah. It's so dumb. The scandals that were coming out of the Trump campaign, just like just like falling out of them. Like just tumbling out by accident. It's sad. I should note, though, that later in the campaign they had more significant successes. At one point they recorded 2 mid level staffers with the Clinton campaign discussing illegal tactics like vote rigging and provoking fights at rallies. The unedited versions of the videos make it clear that, at least in most cases, the men were talking about theoretical ideas, schemes for dirty tricks that someone might do rather than stuff they've actually done. Still, what was in there was damning enough that both men resigned. Now, that's not nothing, but it's not the kind of thing that sways elections either. By the standards of past successful O'Keefe schemes, 2016 was positively sad. That may have had something to do with why, in the years since the election, Project Veritas has switched its intentions almost entirely towards trying to prove the existence of anti conservative bias in Silicon Valley's most of Veritas. Exposes on this have been the lowest sort of O'Keefe fare, outright lies of editing or exaggerations hyped up to hell and back. At one point they recorded Jin Jinnai, head of responsible innovation at Google, talking about Google's attempts to avoid the same kind of foreign interference in the 2020 election. That had happened. In 2016. Veritas edited her words to make it look like she was claiming Google planned to influence the 2020 election. The video they posted was pulled from YouTube due to a privacy complaint and the fact that Veritas hadn't actually received permission to record. In a medium post, Jinge and I wrote about the nightmarish backlash she received after the video went live. She was on a plane when it launched, and when it touched down quote I turned on my phone, I received the shock of my life. I had received an enormous collection of threatening calls, voicemails, text messages, and emails from people I've never met. Someone wrote your ideology will be shredded to pieces just moments before you get executed for treason. You were living landed time. Enjoy. Till then. There were plenty more threats like that. I've never been so fearful. Jesus, yeah, yeah. This is a story that will be repeated. This is kind of what happens when that right wing rage machine touches down on people. In August 2019, James O'Keefe published a series of interviews and leaked documents from Google whistleblower Zach Voorhees. Voorhees claimed in the video that Google's algorithm was inherently biased. The tranche of documents he provided the back of this up utterly failed to do so, The Daily Beast writes quote Vorhies complaints that Google doesn't surface conspiracy theory websites like Infowars in one of its new search algorithms. He insists that his information is so valuable that he is a credible fear that Google could be trying to off me. Some say that you're a hero, some are going to say that you have. 3 moral courage, O'Keefe told the former Gougler in the video. I've always thought that when the time came to do the right thing in a big way, I would always be the one that stood up and did the right thing before he's replied. O'Keefe reporting failed to note that its source, Mr Voorhees, was somewhat less than credible on his social media, Voorhees spread claims that the US government was controlled by Zionists. He ranted about Q Anon and Pizzagate, and repeatedly warned that vaccines cause autism. The most objectionable claims pushed by Voorhees were his rampant in repeated anti-Semitic statements. Here's The Daily Beast again. What accuse video leaves out, though, is that. Much hyped insiders not as credible as he claims on social media, Voorhees is an avid promoter of anti-Semitic acts, the accusations that banks, the media, and the United States government are controlled by Zionists. He even alleges that Zionists killed conservative publisher and O'Keefe mentor Andrew Breitbart, who died of heart failure in 2012. It's very simple. Either you go along with the Zionist or you end up like Andrew Breitbart, Voorhees wrote in January. In a May tweet, Voorhees accused Israel of carrying out the 9/11 attacks and encourage Twitter users to look up 911 related. Conspiracy theory content providing no evidence of his claims. When this story broke, James O'Keefe defended his source on Twitter by noting not every source is a perfect Angel. Good journalist know that this is true. Wow. Yeah, that's pretty bad. Yeah, it's pretty bad. It's, again, going back to the thing of just they they expect to be afforded equal footing as the New York Times because, yeah, they're the other ideological perspective, ignoring the fact that their sources are people who are, you know, mentally not all there. Yeah, it, well, it's not even, yeah, it's it's, you know, mentally not all there. Yeah. It well it's not even. Yeah it's it's it's it in like this case, I don't even, I'm going to say that like the issue isn't that he's mentally not all there. The issue is that this guy is anti-Semitic and like his claims. If you look at his other stuff, his claims that about like the Jewish run media, like what he's essentially saying to Project Veritas. He didn't mention his anti-Semitic beliefs in that interview. But if you like, look at his whole body of I guess work, so to speak, it's clear that he's alleging Google's part of this Jewish conspiracy. Like that's important context, to evaluate the sources legitimacy. He's doing an evaluation of the media. In this case, he is their source on how the media works, and his other prominent theories on how the media works involve the Jews. Yeah, I'm sure he doesn't pluralize it. I'm sure he just says the Jew. I think he uses Zionist more often. He's he's from the politer end of the anti-Semitic spectrum. Yeah, I could go through the documents he and Veritas released one by one and compare them to the claims made by Project Veritas, but that would be a waste of everyone's time. There's a good article on the next web titled Project Veritas and Whistleblower published ******** Data Leak to Docs Google employees, but tears the whole pile of nonsense apart very authoritatively from now. I'm just going to quote from their analysis of the documents Veritas claimed were evidence of censorship quote here's the TLDR it's almost certain that this is just everything the whistleblower could find by doing a quick search on the employee. Air Drive for inclusion, diversity, and bias. It's almost all just PowerPoint slides and papers, the kind you see at your own weekly corporate meetings. You'll find more shocking information on Google by visiting its official blog. This, in my opinion, is nothing more than Project Veritas disguising an attempt to docs Google employees as a leak. There are 15 documents here. They appear to be randomly selected from an e-mail chain discussing deprioritising Breitbart because it spreads hate speech. Interestingly, the documents clearly show that Google is concerned about fake news. There's even a chart saying the company trusts the Wall Street Journal. Most CNN and Fox News about the same and The Young Turks only slightly more than Infowars. Ironically, there is nothing in the censorship folder that pertains to censorship in any way, shape or form. Yeah, but of course got them. Yeah, nailed Google to the wall there. By Google for supporting famously left-leaning news source the Wall Street Journal. Now, of course, none of this stopped President Donald Trump from retweeting the story or using it as further evidence for his claims that conservatives are being silenced on social media. Few media organizations are better positioned for the post truth era than Project Veritas. But it is also true that Veritas and O'Keefe are well past their high watermark of influence. O'Keefe success and the huge amount of money he's made pretending to be an undercover reporter have provided inspiration for a whole generation of news grifters. Most of them are not as good or as influential as he was. We might include Hannah. Giles, his old partner in that category, and other entry could be Caitlin Bennett, the Kent State Gun Girl who has repeatedly failed to gather any worthwhile news by going undercover among left wing activist at protests. But there is one man, a native of Portland, OR, who seems like he might truly be a worthwhile successor to James O'Keefe. I'm talking about Andy, no, the man crusading to have Antifa declared a domestic terrorist group. And Jack in Part 2, we're going to talk about his story, but that's that's the episode. We're done. Alright, Yep, Yann Okeefe side. Now how do you feel, I feel inspired that the fact that he could get that much accomplished with merely $7 million and military backing and not knowing how to use a credit card, right? What's a real story of an underdog? Yeah, he I don't know how he does it, you know? Yeah, he's he's a hero. So are we doing Part 2 now? Yeah, we're going to do Part 2 now. But you gotta plug your plug cables first. I understand you you cast a pod yourself, Sir? I do. I cast a pod. Daily week. Daily. It's called the daily zeitgeist. I do it with one Mr Miles grey. You can hear me there every day of the week. And you can follow me on Twitter at Jack under score O'Brien. Now, now, fun bit of German language trivia for the the listeners Zeit means News and Geist means Ghost. So you you are the host of the Daily News Ghost. Yeah, yeah. **** that's pretty cool. Yeah. Had I known that, I would have named our show the Daily News Ghost. There's still time, Jack. There's still time. Yeah, all right. Well, I also host a podcast. I have forgotten its name, but I'm sure listeners are aware of it. Sophie, come on. Sophie just seems like she's, you know, really overwhelmed by by your inability to remember the name of that podcast. She has been over my **** for a very long time, and that's that's why our relationship works. Yeah, yeah. You can find this podcast online along with the sources for this episode on You can find us on Twitter and Instagram at ******** pod. You can buy a T-shirt at teepublic by looking up behind the ********. And you can buy. Bolt cutters from a variety of stores. Just make sure you're getting good quality once the harbor freight ones tend to break pretty easily. You know, super cheap bolt cutters usually aren't worth it. You're you're wanting to spend, you know, in the 60 to $100 range, kind of minimum if you want something that's going to last. You've always said that. I've always said that you cracked when we were interviewing you for the intern job. You. Said that, same thing. I mean, interview is a really charitable way to describe me breaking into your backyard. So thank you for that, Jack. What are you having your hands these these are heavy duty bolt cutters. All right, that's the episode. Go ******* hug a cat. Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her impactful behavioral discoveries on chimpanzees. It wasn't until one of the chimpanzees began to lose his fear of me, but I began to really make discoveries that actually shook the scientific world. Listen to amazing wildlife on the iHeartRadio. App or wherever you get your podcasts. Sisters of the Underground is a podcast about fearless Dominican women who stood up against the brutal dictator Kapal Trujillo. He needs to be stopped. We've been silent and complacent for far too long. I am Daniel Ramirez, and as a Dominicana myself, I am proud to be narrating this true story that is often left out of the history books to read your has blood on his hands. Listen to sisters of the underground wherever you get. Podcasts. So by now we imagine that you've seen the theories on Tik T.O.K. You maybe even heard the rumors from your friends and loved ones. But are any of the stories about government conspiracies and cover ups actually true? The answer is surprisingly or unsurprisingly, yes. For more than a decade, we hear at stuff they don't want you to know have been seeking answers to these questions. Sometimes there are answers that people would rather us not explore. Now we're sharing. This research with you for the first time ever in a book format you can pre-order stuff they don't want you to know now. It's the new book from us, the creators of the podcast and video series. You can turn back now or read the stuff they don't want you to know. Available for pre-order now, it's stuff you should read or wherever you find your favorite books.