We are all getting a kick out of the tribulations of phony journalist James O'Keefe, but let's not be so quick to make fun that we forget a few things.
O'Keefe was receiving salary from Andrew Breitbart, the founder of the site Big Government. That's the weirdo on the video above being interviewed (the video is painful. Someone needs to talk about punditry in Washington)
You do remember Big Government, do you? That's the site behind the huge crop of lies against Obama appointee Kevin Jennings. From Media Matters comes a listing:
Blogger Hoft's smear campaign against Jennings. Writing for the website Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft has authored a series of factually dubious attacks on Department of Education staffer Kevin Jennings and the organization Jennings founded and previously led, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). Hoft's Jennings posts -- which he has labeled "Fistgate," even though many of those allegations have little or nothing to do with the sexual practice of fisting -- often draw upon the work of MassResistance, a Massachusetts based anti-gay organization that has been labeled a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Even conservative commentator Dean Barnett has stated that the organization "verges on being a hate group."
Breitbart eagerly embraced and promoted Hoft's false attacks on Jennings. Hoft's "Fistgate" attacks on Jennings and the GLSEN have been faithfully cross-posted on BigGovernment.com, and Breitbart himself has used Twitter to promote Hoft's work. Among the smears and distortions Breitbart has embraced:
- Hoft deceptively linked Jennings to "fisting" workshop he criticized. Hoft claimed that a 2000 conference sponsored by the Boston branch of GLSEN included "a workshop where GLSEN activists promoted 'fisting' to 14 year olds," citing a recorded exchange that occurred during a "Queer Sex and Sexuality" workshop at that conference. In fact, Jennings reportedly criticized some of the workshop's content when the recordings were first released in 2000, and the people involved in conducting the controversial discussion were state employees and contractors, not GLSEN employees.
- Hoft falsely claimed high-school students received "fisting kits" at 2001 GLSEN conference. Hoft falsely claimed that "fisting kits" -- which he placed in quotes -- were distributed at the 2001 GLSEN/Boston conference. But Hoft has presented no evidence that the kits distributed by Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts were actually intended for fisting. Indeed, while the conservative newspaper Massachusetts News -- cited by Hoft -- reported in 2001 that the kits were "intended for 'fisting' or oral sex," the paper described the kit's contents as "a single plastic glove, a package of K-Y lubricant and instructions on how to make a 'dental dam' out of the material" and offered no support for the claim that the kits were "intended for 'fisting.' " Even FoxNews.com has reported that Hoft "alleged that Jennings and GLSEN were involved in Planned Parenthood's purported distribution of 'fisting kits,' " but that the kit "was actually for making a 'dental dam' -- designed to prevent STD transmission during oral sex."
- Hoft falsely suggested Jennings' organization handed out explicit safe-sex booklet to children. Hoft falsely suggested that that GLSEN had distributed to children an explicit safe-sex booklet that included "a list of the local gay bars" and "Pushed Anal S*x in Parks With Strangers." In fact, a community health group -- not GLSEN itself -- reportedly said that it had mistakenly "left about 10 copies" of the booklet on an informational table it rented at a 2005 GLSEN conference at Brookline High School in Massachusetts; the group reportedly apologized for doing so; GLSEN stated that if it had known the booklets had been at the conference, it would have demanded they be removed; and the Brookline school superintendent reportedly said he believed no students had actually taken the booklet.
Breitbart.tv also smeared Jennings. An October 6, 2009, Breitbart.tv post grossly distorted comments Jennings made to a GLSEN audience in 2000 to claim he "criticize[d] schools for promoting heterosexuality." In fact, in the audio files posted at Breitbart.tv, Jennings promoted a curriculum that demands "respect [for] every human being regardless of sexual orientation, regardless of gender identity, regardless of race or religion or any of the arbitrary distinctions we make among people," and said that efforts to promote a specific sexual orientation through schools were ineffective.
- Hoft falsely claimed Jennings "Pushed Books That Encouraged Children to Meet Adults at Gay Bars For Sex." Hoft falsely claimed that Jennings "Personally Pushed Books That Encouraged Children to Meet Adults at Gay Bars For Sex," citing MassResistance's falsehood that a book Jennings recommended to high school and college students, One Teenager in 10, "encourage[s] teens to, among other things, go to gay bars and have sex with adults to see if they like it." Media Matters for America has reviewed the book, compiled all references to gay bars, and determined that the book at no point encourages teens to "go to gay bars and have sex with adults." In fact, a majority of the youth testimonials included in the book that mention gay bars refer to them negatively.
O'Keefe went after ACORN and caused the organization considerable trouble. Just imagine what he could have tried with various national and statewide lgbt organizations.
It's a part of a huge picture of targeting us all via slander and innuendo. O'Keefe got over his head and got so stupid that he got caught.
I'm sure there are others waiting in the wings.
Just something to remember.