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Dear James O’Keefe, About Your J-School Application….

January 26th, 2010 by Celeste Fremon

James-O'Keefe

My dear Mr. O’Keefe,

Your message explaining why you will miss your scheduled interview with us has, I believe, demonstrated yet another reason why we feel you cannot help but benefit from obtaining our Master’s Degree in Journalism. While we admire your go-getter spirit (love the pimp outfit you used for the ACORN sting), we feel sure your native talents would shine brighter if burnished by the rigorous kind of critical thinking we encourage.

For instance, regarding this most recent unpleasantness, had you been matriculating through our program, our professors would have uniformly advised you against (allegedly) committing a felony that carries with it a 10-year prison jolt. We understand that you were after what certainly sounded like an intriguing story. But our profs would have brainstormed with you to find another route to getting the information you sought. (See, for example, our 2-credit FOIA Lab.)

Speaking personally, I always firmly advise my students not to do anything that will get them either arrested or shot at. And, if unsure about the aforementioned, I tell them to simply avoid acts that will stand in the way of their future Supreme Court confirmations. And really, as I’m sure you now agree, those are handy little, easy-to-remember rules to fall back on in a pinch….


From CBS:


O’Keefe and three others — including the son of an acting U.S. Attorney,
are accused of trying to manipulate the phones in Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office in New Orleans. According to an release from the United States Attorney’s Office, witnesses say O’Keefe was in Landrieu’s office when two co-conspirators came in “dressed in blue denim pants, a blue work shirt, a light green fluorescent vest, a tool belt and a construction-style hard hat” and pretended to be there to repair the phones. (Here’s the affidavit.)

O’Keefe allegedly filmed the men handling the main reception-area phone in the senator’s office with a cell-phone camera. The faux-repairmen, who are believed to have been attempting to tap the phones, then asked for access to the telephone closet to work on the main telephone system; asked for identification after being directed there, they said they had left their credentials in their vehicle.

The four men — O’Keefe, the two fake telephone repairman, and another alleged co-conspirator — are now “charged in a criminal complaint with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purpose of committing a felony, announced the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.” They could face up to ten years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Posted in crime and punishment, jail, journalism, media | 44 Comments »

44 Responses

  1. reg Says:

    So now the FOX News folks have Jim the Plumber to add to their roster.

    Isn’t there some j-school somewhere – maybe Liberty University or Oral Roberts U – that has endowed a G.Gordon Liddy Chair in Investigative Journalism and could reach out to this guy…

    Ta-Nehisi Coates entitled his post on this “A Flagon of Schadenfreude” – of which I’m definitely partaking.

    (Actually not sure ” I always firmly advise my students not to do anything that will get them either arrested or shot at” should be an iron-clad rule for aspiring journalists – where would Marc Cooper be if he’d followed that one ? )

  2. RobThomas Says:

    I would adopt OKeefe when he gets released from the feds, but I’ve already got Bernie. BTW, me and Bernie heading to the indoor surf tank in Elk Grove. Anyone in the Sac area is welcome to come with. It’s on Bernie. He’s got this plain white card he slides in ATMs everywhere he goes, and it works. None of my business.

  3. Celeste Fremon Says:

    “where would Marc Cooper be if he’d followed that one..”

    Okay, well, good point. (Speaking as one who has also been shot at a couple of times, held at gunpoint and so on.)

    But, still, I think while you’re in journalism school, it’s a good rule to follow. Otherwise one risks that your parents will hunt down and shoot at the journalism professor.

  4. RobThomas Says:

    Bernie Madoff is here watching a San Jose Sharks game. I’ve adopted him, per the advice of some in here. He says that the black guys he met in federal prison can’t wait for OKeefe to show up. They want to compliment him on his pimp jacket, right before they have him toss their salad.

  5. Woody Says:

    That was stupid.

    It’s funny that it’s a crime to bug Landrieu’s phone (presumed) but not a crime for Democrats to buy Sen. Landrieu healthcare vote with $300 million of taxpayers’ money. It sure would be nice to know more about that, but I guess that’s been stonewalled.

    In the meantime, armed Black Pathers threatening voters get a pass and have an investigation into the dismissed case also stonewalled.

    But, Obama’s justice department will make sure that any enemy of ACORN’s gets harsher prosecution than any Islamic terrorist.

    Maybe Celeste will campaign for clemency on this. After all, he didn’t really bug the telephone, so it’s only a “technical” violation of the law.

  6. RobThomas Says:

    Looking at that picture of OKeefe, it’s hard to believe he wound up being such a fringe political type. You’d think he’d be too busy fighting the ladies off.

  7. RobThomas Says:

    Bernie says the Black Panthers haven’t done shit in decades, Woody. Says you’re grasping at straws. I would just let him type his own comments but he doesn’t know now to type. Only knows how to talk dumb, rich white people into handing their money over to him. Says he never needed any other skill.

  8. RobThomas Says:

    Woody Says:
    January 26th, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    But, Obama’s justice department will make sure that any enemy of ACORN’s gets harsher prosecution than any Islamic terrorist

    ………………

    Bernie says that’s why they have elections, Woody. Says you should stop crying, and do something with your life.

  9. Dick 'Da Hose' Cheney Says:

    I’m sure Kweef Olberman will cover it all accurately! Ha ha ha!!

  10. RobThomas Says:

    Yeh, Bernie made fun of me for watching Olberman. Says it’s all bullshit. Says that if you figure out how to separate people from their money, you will never need to know another thing. Let the idiots watch their cable news. Says he only watches foxnews for the chicks. Has it on mute.

  11. book'em Danno Says:

    The attempt to minimize the seriousness of this charge is amazing. Do the names E. Howard Hunt, G. Gordon Liddy and John Paisly mean anything to those of you that seem to want to write this off as just another indescretion? This infamous trio were the ‘plumbers’ that kicked off the Watergate scandal that was ultimately linked to Nixon and his immediate advisors. For those of you old enough to remember Watergate you will recall how the Nixon administration downplayed the importance of the break-in, portraying it as an inconsequential event. Sadly, we’re getting the same line from Party representives now.

    The Republican Party and conservatives in this country will forever carry the burden of Watergate and as such, have earned the serious scrutiny that this case will be exposed to. If it is shown that this wiretap is linked to Party higher-ups we’ve ALL got a serious problem on our hands.

  12. Archie Bunker Says:

    Are you kidding? This is going to prove to be nothing more than some young men’s misguided attempt to bust an obvious crooked Senator and nothing more. Only the left wing nuts are making it out to be more. They’ll get probation and a fine, mark my word’s.

  13. Mrs. Allen Says:

    What has happened to our America. Until the right wing nuts took over the airwaves in the 90s, our government worked. The two sides were able to work together to compromise on making our country better. Now all of the Obama overtures to the other side have done nothing but bite him in the ass.

    I am new to reading blogs and all of this crap I see on the Internet. I cannot believe how any of you can call yourselves intelligent, thinking voters. All I hear is hate filled, uncompromising drivel from most of you.

    Where did this come from? Who started to teach our kids that it is okay to be uncivil and to only look out for yourself, the “I got mine, the hell with you” attitude of today.

    The Constitution says that it is the government’s job to look out for the general welfare of it’s citizens. We are all in this together. We will all sink or swim together.

    How can you hate the government when the government is “you”. You created this gridlock. You created the “make Obama fail at all costs” agenda of the right.

    I dont’ see any way that this country can survive without give and take among all parties. God help America!!!

  14. Woody Says:

    The burden of Watergate? Yeah, no president except Nixon tried to hide possibly illegal activities…except every President in the last century and every President this one.

    Watergate, as a criminal offense, was peanuts and didn’t threaten our national security. It wasn’t like Democrats going back to FDR’s administration, who illegally undermined U.S. foreign policy and gave atomic secrets to the Russians, therby threatening our existence.

    You folks treated the Rosenberg’s as folk heroes.

    Oh, and it was Nixon who exposed the communists in our State Department. Now, we’re getting to the root of the left’s hatred for him.

  15. RobThomas Says:

    book’em Danno Says:
    January 26th, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    If it is shown that this wiretap is linked to Party higher-ups we’ve ALL got a serious problem on our hands.

    ………………..

    No we don’t. It would only work out to my benefit. The Republican party being linked to even more criminal conspiracies is music to my ears. Bernie’s looking up and shaking his head. Says politics are designed to distract us from the people really running the country. Whatever. I’m psyched about this.

  16. RobThomas Says:

    # Mrs. Allen Says:
    January 26th, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Where did this come from? Who started to teach our kids that it is okay to be uncivil and to only look out for yourself, the “I got mine, the hell with you” attitude of today.

    ……………

    I learned it from the regular commenters at inthehat.com. Bernie says his dad beat the shit out of him. Says that he’s not into political arguments, insulting people, though. Would much rather take your money.

  17. RobThomas Says:

    Bernie says it’s typical of you to defend Watergate, Woody. Says he saw that coming like a slow train wreck.

  18. Mrs. Allen Says:

    Woody, for those who would defend this guy. On top of his recording of conspiracy, consider this, Sen. Mary Landrieu is also on the Committee of Appropriations and Homeland security and Governent Affairs. Should he be allowed to tape conversations containing classified discussions on these committtees? I am sorry bugging a federal office’s phone lines is VERY serious and illegal and rightfully so.

    Whatever his intentions, we cannot allow this type of crap.

  19. c-c-c-an't we all get along Says:

    Why does everyone have to spin this into a left-right debate? This guy and his cohorts broke the law, period. I don’t care what side of the spectrum he is on. You don’t sneak into a Senator’s office under false pretenses in order to plant listening devices. Even if you think Landrieu is dirty as sin, breaking the law is breaking the law.

    Maybe Landrieu is up to no good. Fine. Talk to her office workers. File a FOIA request. Hire a P.I. to follow her movements. Go talk the federal prosecutor. If they think you are on to something, they’ll get a lawful wiretap. But don’t engage in these kinds of shenanigans. Actually, it is an insult to shenanigans to call this nonsensical excrement a shenanigan. If we are to be a nation of laws and not of men, then these idiots must be held accountable.

  20. Frank Levine Says:

    The extreme Right sure has an interesting way with language. Breaking the law is “patriotic” and invading the privacy of citizens is done for “freedom”. And we already know what they thought “teabagging” meant…

  21. Mrs. Allen Says:

    Rob Thomas please shut up.

  22. RobThomas Says:

    LOL. OK, Mrs. Allen.

  23. RobThomas Says:

    Bernie says Mrs. Allen is Woody.

  24. RobThomas Says:

    LOL. Wow. Bernie goes on to say that this makes Woody’s constant gay accusations all the more interesting, now that he’s posting as a woman, etc. Bernie says don’t fool yourselves, it probably doesnt’ stop there.

  25. Sidney Says:

    “It was poor judgment” said a delighted defense lawyer..and that wil be their defense. Poor Judgment. Same could be said for Bernie Madoff…or ACORN…or the Watergate burglars…or any of a host of people caught in the midst of a felony. Poor judgment is not a viable defense, affirmative or otherwise. It is simply anotgher name for stupidity and arrogance. Let’s not make any more a mockery of our legal system than Mr.O’Keefe already has. Hard time on the Bayou would be in order.

  26. RobThomas Says:

    Bernie admits he’s only pissed because he got caught, Sydney. Says you hit the nail on the head. Also wants to know your gender. Says “Sydney” makes him think of Annette Benning in “The American President”. Hey, he’s fresh out of the joint.

  27. Winny Says:

    Gotta love Celeste. Who else would write so tenderly about convicted gangbangers while reserving her scorn for a man who still enjoys (except on this blog) the presumption of innocence.

  28. Joining the fray Says:

    The Bernie gig is old already. Move on to some other snarky comebacks. I’m quite sure you can do better than to keep using the Madoff analogies. Can’t you?

  29. don quixote Says:

    If O’Keefe gets 10 years in the joint with his little scamp attitude and looks he’ll no doubt have the inside scoop about planned parenthood in the prison system for his right wing cronies when he gets out.
    Maybe Sarah Palin will pardon him after she becomes President?

  30. RobThomas Says:

    Joining the Fray, Bernie says you’re using the term “old” to give the impression that you’re somehow “new”, or “cool”, and that it’s laughable. Says even though he’s on house arrest and lives at my mercy, he still wouldn’t trade places with you.

  31. Sure Fire Says:

    Looks like a criminal act to me but I don’t remember you going at ACORN like this Celeste. I guess you’re ok going nation wide with stories long as they suit your misguided look at the world.

  32. RobThomas Says:

    Bernie also thinks you’re still pissed about me not taking your socialism lecture seriously earlier today. Says you need a vacation. Says he can’t understand why you’d spend so much time in here trying to change peoples’ views. Says the same thing to me, btw. But we are going snowboarding tomorrow. He’s paying for it. Don’t ask me how.

  33. RobThomas Says:

    Sure Fire, as you may or may not know I’ve taken up some in here on their fools errand to adopt a felon. So I adopted Bernie Madoff. Might possibly be the coolest guy I ever met. Anyhow, he says your use of the word “misguided” to describe Celeste is really a power trip. In other words, she should be “guided”, or “led”, by people in charge, as you are. He also said local cops are too dumb to be federal agents. Anyhow, if you want to meet him, come to Borreal ski resort tomorrow. We’ll be there. He says he’ll treat you, too. Says he still has a little left over from his scam that the courts never got.

  34. Celeste Fremon Says:

    “Who else would write so tenderly about convicted gangbangers while reserving her scorn for a man who still enjoys (except on this blog) the presumption of innocence.”

    Oh, yawn. Play a new song.

    For the record, I actually don’t view this young man with scorn at all. I think he’s rather enterprising. But he has gotten the wrong advice so (it appears) did a damn fool thing that could have some mighty serious consequences.

    If you’d like to see what scorn looks like, dear Winny, go here: http://witnessla.com/root/2010/admin/oral-sex-merriam-webster-and-the-madness-of-school-districts/

    That’s scorn. (And on the post after that one I tossed a bit of scorn at the idiot lawyer who trotted his client’s doctored video around to the news media and made smug on camera statements.)

    This is humor, and gentle humor at that.

    (By the way—not that you care, because you simply want to toss absurd accusations—but, at bottom, I’m really not kidding about the fact that I think James O’Keefe would benefit from J-school. He’s got guts and flair. He could use more training, and mentorship from people who are not looking to use him, but simply want to help him hone his talent.)

  35. Woody Says:

    I didn’t defend O’Keefe. It’s just that liberal outrage is so intense over an idealistic, over-enthusiastic, bumbling, investigative kid journalist and has so little outrage for people and decisions that really negatively affect the security and prosperity of this nation. But, we really know what side you’re on.

  36. Bernie rockz Says:

    Just took a speed course in typing and now I’m ready for the internets.

    Woody, what kid journalist are you talking about? OKeefe is 25. Is it because you were still a kid at 25, living at home? Is that where you got the idea that a 25 year old is a kid? Well, here in America, 18 is the federally recognized age of emancipation, and the minimum legal age of when a citizen can face federal charges. OKeefe, being 25, has been an adult for nearly a decade.

    And, a 25 year old “kid”, notably connected to many right wing interest groups, breaking into the office of a democratically elected senator in this great nation is actually viewed as a threat by most Americans, I’ll have you know. Do you know what laws are? They don’t just fall out of the sky. Congressmen push for laws based on what their constituencies feel should be law. Then they are passed to the senate, and then signed into law by the president. And guess what? Most Americans have decided long ago that breaking into a senator’s office is a no no. It’s also a national security breach, indeed it is. Senators sit on committees that deal with national security and bare classified information, classified information that could be on files in their office. So, it’s salad tossing time for your “kid” journalist.

  37. Daily Digest for January 27th » Comeuppance: Lo Que Has Guardado Says:

    [...] Shared Dear James O’Keefe, About Your J-School Application….. [...]

  38. reg Says:

    But Berne rockz – we know “which side” Woody is on. He wants to bring down the US government…it’s a nasty habit his people have going back to the nineteenth century.

  39. Woody Says:

    reg wants to bring down state and local governments.

  40. reg Says:

    Sorry Woody, but you were the idiot against the stimulus bill which channeled money to state and local governments…

    And while we’re on it, that crosswalk deal in Cobb County is just embarrassing. Are your local officials really that stupid ?

  41. Woody Says:

    When money is ordered to be spent on handicapped access, which has already wasted billions for so few, you have no choice but to use it for that. It was Obama’s folks who targeted the use of that money. Now, people in wheelchairs can race around circles at interesections to their hearts’ content.

    You would have thought that Obama would have wanted money used for purposes that local people wanted rather than what his federal bureaucracy dictated. At least, he should have had controls on the spending. Nope, instead it’s, “Let’s toss money around and hope something works.”

    Now, back to the subject:

    James O’Keefe Accuses Media of ‘Journalistic Malpractice’

  42. reg Says:

    You’re arguing with Bob Dole…

  43. Sure Fire Says:

    Interesting read.

    http://bigjournalism.com/abreitbart/2010/01/28/how-david-shuster-lied-to-get-me-to-appear-on-msnbc/

  44. Celeste Fremon Says:

    SF: Interesting link, to be sure. AB makes some excellent points (not so much about “liberal” journalism, although the factionalism in journalism on both sides is hugely problematic, but about crappy journalism. I’m beginning to believe that half the people writing and broadcasting simply no longer bother to fact check with any kind of rigor. They just go for where ever they perceive there to be blood in the water. And if there’s no blood, they get out their red dye and catsup, and pour those puppies into the water supply. I’m so profoundly sick of it.)

    By the end of the video at the bottom of the post, however, I was thoroughly creeped out by both of those fools (although Breibart struck me as far and away the brighter of the two).

    If this is journalism as we know it, let it crumble.

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