Tuesday, November 15, 2011

James O’Keefe Operative: He’s Only Interested In A ‘Hit Job’

By Alex Seitz-Wald/Think Progress

Two key players in one of James O’Keefe’s highest-profile projects are speaking out against the conservative provocateur, and the picture they paint isn’t pretty.
O’Keefe has long maintained that he’s a serious journalist who employs a “form of investigative reporting that you use to seek and find the truth.” But Simon Templar, who played the faux Muslim donor in an infamous undercover piece on NPR, told the Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz that O’Keefe is only interested in producing “hit job[s].” Templar, who wanted to carry out a “thoroughly researched and impeccably executed project” on the supposed threat of Sharia law, says O’Keefe rushed the project to maximize its political impact and didn’t care if the final report ended up being “extremely slipshod“:
Shaughn Adeleye, who worked with Templar in posing as another member of the phony Muslim group, also disagreed with O’Keefe’s tactics. “We were both sold a false bill of goods,” says Adeleye, who devised the NPR scheme and persuaded O’Keefe to adopt it. [...]
I felt deceived and misled because James did not live up to what we all agreed upon would be a multifaceted project,” says Adeleye, who was born in Nigeria. “After a while I could not deny the truth anymore.”[...]
I was always struggling to pull him away from his shtick of walking into an office with a bizarre pretense and taping some secretary or low-level worker,” says Templar. “I wanted him to think much bigger.”
Indeed, while the video caused a major stir (and grave overreaction) at NPR, it was widely discredited, most importantly by Glenn Beck’s conservative The Blaze website.
Templar and Adeleye said O’Keefe pushed so hard in part because he was “desperate” “in terms of money and needing to rehabilitate his reputation.” While the concept of O’Keefe as an obsessive self-promoter with little regard for the facts isn’t new, it’s noteworthy to see his co-conspirators confirm it.
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