We’re lucky Donald Trump is a monumentally stupid villain.
We’re lucky Mike Flynn is a monumentally stupid villain.
We’re lucky Steve Bannon is a monumentally stupid villain.
And we’re lucky that James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, is also a monumentally stupid villain.
I mean, put the morality of the Washington Post sting aside for just a second and bask in how luxuriously stupid this plan was.
Here are the things O’Keefe had to count on for the plan to work. First and foremost, James O’Keefe believes Trump when he calls the 51-time Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post “fake news.” O’Keefe also would have had to believe the paper was politicized far enough to the left that its bias would blind it to the innumerable holes in a sensational fake story. O’Keefe also either concocted or approved of this bombshell story, fully aware that no one on earth would be able to corroborate any of it. He then calculated that the Post would run this game-changing story without even looking into it, even though the Post published its first Roy Moore assault story on the strength of not one or two or three or ten but thirty sources.
We’re not even to the liberal media part yet.
So in addition to betting his organization’s reputation that all of the above was highly likely to be true, O’Keefe also believed the (51-time Pulitzer Prize-winning) paper was so leftist and unprincipled it had engaged in a covert campaign to smear Roy Moore for political gain. And on top of that he believed that if they were, they’d admit it in the first meeting with a stranger who came to them with an outrageous tip that couldn’t be substantiated. On top of that, either he didn’t think he/his newly hired young operative would be caught or that if they were caught it wouldn’t matter, either to the Post or, most insultingly, to the public.
We’re not even to the consequences yet.
O’Keefe thought the sting was within the unique scope of his powers, and that he alone had not only the capacity but the responsibility (ethically; morally; politically; all of the above) to do this incredibly heinous, incredibly, incredibly stupid thing that would almost certainly work out in his favor. He then gamed it out and concluded that, should the plan succeed, it would persuade enough citizens of Alabama to vote for an accused serial sexual offender in a state election in order to send a message to the national media as well as to all the women who through that media shared their stories (substantiated thirty times over) about being sexually assaulted by Roy F***ing Moore, who also defended a Klansman.
O’Keefe also believed he could not only undermine the mainstream media and the accusations of sexual abuse from multiple women (many of which Moore hasn’t denied), but that this wouldn’t inspire other Moore victims to step around the media and come forward on their own, as many, many people have shown they’re happy to do. He also made the bet that it would be a net gain to discredit not only the mainstream media but also the voices of real victims of sexual abuse all in order to, again, get the alleged child molester who allegedly sexually abused them elected to the Senate so that Congress couldn’t block a Supreme Court nominee.
In the chance a vacancy opens.
Within the next year.
But this isn’t just about some arrogant dipshit dipshitting arrogantly. This is one more data point that shows we’ve passed a point of no return: that “whataboutism” is indeed the biggest threat to the democratic process in modern U.S. history.
But that will have to wait a few minutes while we unravel the dysfunctional slipknot this jackass tied for himself.
James O’Keefe also thinks, stupidly, cynically, and in an atrociously un-American, unconstitutional way, that it would be a net gain for democracy if the free press were to lose much of its capacity to function as a credible check on political power and a voice for the truth. (Especially atrocious for assault victims.) It then didn’t occur to him that if his paper-thin plot failed (though there’s a high probability this didn’t occur to him), it wouldn’t backfire in every way and strengthen all the things he calculated needed to be undermined because their strength would in the end defeat Moore. And at the same time with undeniable certainty, undermine his own operation.
Which he has the temerity and arrogance to name after the truth.
What a historically stupid piece of shit.
(The whole thing also reeks of Steve Bannon, another megaton idiot.)
But MORALLY? Holy Toledo.
Let’s walk through that decision-making process. What are the problems you’re trying to solve; how you’re going to solve them; which ends would be most effective and most delight you and, perhaps most sadly, your base; how you can maximize the destruction of the press and assault victims themselves; how you can inoculate a sex abuser against future claims, even at the cost of intimidating other victims (of politicians of any party) into staying quiet; etc.
First we have to recognize the primary problem wasn’t even the Washington Post. The primary problem, the one O’Keefe really needed to solve, was the effect that the multiple accusations that Judge Roy Moore, candidate for the U.S. Senate, sexually and habitually assaulted underage girls was having on the race. This must be stopped at all costs!
Solution? Well, since O’Keefe must have concluded the victims weren’t lying (the far easier thing would have been to prove one or two of them were liars, not the Post; this also ended up adding credence to the claims) then he’d have to go around them, like a coward, and tarnish the messenger. For what it’s worth, other victims out there should note this is how much strength and support your stories have if you come forward with the truth.
We also know O’Keefe thinks a good way to prove someone is lying is to lie about it. Despite the fact he got caught, publicly shamed, and convicted in a court of law for failing at this same stunt in 2010. O’Keefe’s Project Veridumb also still boasts as a member this dude named Robert Halderman, who in the same year got sentenced to six months in jail for trying to blackmail David Letterman.
Can you imagine the process of coming up with this idea, let alone deciding to go ahead with it? Can you imagine how massively malicious and stupid and shitty and myopically arrogant a person you’d have to be not only to germinate the thought, but then to take the step of telling someone else, and then game the whole thing out, consider the risks, and go forward with it?
They kept the operation going for SEVERAL DAYS, even when the paper said it would fact-check everything before taking more steps.
Thanks again, right-wing dipshits! The press has never looked better.
This isn’t anything new. We saw a similar attempt over the summer to discredit Rachel Maddow with a falsified leaked document related to the Russia scandal. Rachel Maddow is a Rhodes scholar. She looked into it. The dumb plan didn’t work, and of course Maddow turned it around and scored a win for her show and the MSM overall.
I don’t know whether Project Veridumb was behind that, but it wouldn’t surprise me. If they weren’t, you’d think O’Keefe must have at least heard about it, then either forgot or didn’t learn the lesson.
I mean, my dude. Come on. Gullible dopes in general don’t work their way up to showcase political reporter positions at Pulitzer Prize-winning institutions.
This isn’t partisan, either. Rabidly anti-Trump sensationalist “citizen journalists” such as Louise Mensch (the worst of the bunch) and Claude Taylor fell for the same type of hoax that Maddow was experienced and professional enough to sniff out.
Did I mention O’Keefe did all of this in order to get a credibly accused (several times over) child molester elected to the Senate in the off chance Trump got to nominate a Supreme Court justice within the next year?
You have to laugh a little. Because then you see the bigger picture…
Perhaps more tragic than all of this is that it’s just one more data point that reinforces my belief that we’ve passed a point of no return. I’m talking here about the dispiriting invincibility of “whataboutism,” perhaps the most treacherous epidemic of political rhetoric in modern U.S. history.
Because let’s pretend we’ve teleported to some alternate moron reality in which O’Keefe’s gambit worked. After all, the only thing had to do was burn the right reporter at the right paper. From that moment until who knows when, that hoax would be an infinitely reloadable bullet in the right-wing’s whatabout gun. And not just for sexual assault claims, but for any report.
“Oh yeah? What about the Roy Moore story? FAKE NEWS!”
The thing about the whatabout bullet is it doesn’t have to work. It just has to be a bullet. You shoot it and as long as you’re convinced it’s a real bullet, it works. It’s cowboys and indians for delusional right-wing dingbats.
Listen, the horrible human thing we’re now having to come to grips with is that belief is ultimately a personal choice. No amount of evidence matters if you simply choose not to believe it. The power of the whatabout gun is that, for someone looking for a reason to dismiss any piece of evidence no matter how plain, you only need the one bullet. After the attacks on CNN this summer, including a “scandal” where CNN upheld its integrity by firing reporters who violated their standards, as well as another Veridumb failure, no one on the right wing will ever again admit as truth or evidence anything CNN reports that challenges their preconceived worldview. If it reaffirms their worldview, no problem. It’s up to you when you want to pull the trigger.
You only need one reason. And if you can write off the source, it doesn’t matter if you do it in good conscience. And so we’ve arrived at that point of no return: A world in which the ends justify the means.
Even if that means electing a damn pedophile.
Excuse me: an alleged damn pedophile. Journalistic standards, you know.