Scam artist James O’Keefe is back with a CNN “exposé” — and Republicans just can’t say no – Salon

 In World
They did it again. Republicans have fallen for another deceptive video produced by James O’Keefe, the well-known scam artist who has been responsible for some of the most egregious fake news of the last several years. This time the Trump White House and the president’s dwindling cabal of loyalists are busily rending their garments over a video on which O’Keefe claimed to have captured a CNN producer named John Bonifield saying that the network’s Trump-Russia coverage is purely a ratings stunt that lacks any real evidence.

Of course the video isn’t exactly what it claims to be, but that’s never stopped the Republicans, especially members of the congressional GOP caucus, from lashing their reputations to O’Keefe’s videos — despite the fact that every single video O’Keefe’s ever produced has been resoundingly debunked. We’ll circle back to the CNN video shortly. In the meantime, let’s recap.


O’Keefe’s video shenanigans began with a fraudulent sting operation orchestrated against the now-defunct community activist group called Acorn. It all began with a 2009 video in which O’Keefe dressed up as a pimp and attempted to elicit advice from low-level Acorn workers about how to evade taxes on his supposedly illegal operations. The news media widely debunked the videos and proved that they had been selectively edited to make it seem as if the workers had played along with this fictional pimp.

That didn’t stop House Republicans from using the video as a pretext to defund Acorn dozens of times, even after the organization was shut down amid the non-scandal. Andrew Breitbart, O’Keefe’s financier and the future employer of Steve Bannon, admitted to the hoax, telling a 2010 rally crowd, “So I’m going to have to stage a series of tricks to get the mainstream media to have to pay attention to it. So that’s what I did. I admit it; I tricked you.”

In 2013, O’Keefe was ordered to pay $100,000 and apologize to an Acorn worker who was fired over the fake video.

National Public Radio

O’Keefe released another video in which he claimed that National Public Radio executives agreed to meet with men posing as Muslim Brotherhood representatives, who had supposedly expressed interest in donating money to NPR. The video appeared to show an NPR executive, Ron Schiller, observing that the Tea Party is driven by xenophobia and race and that its leaders employ race as a wedge.

Two of NPR’s top executives, including Schiller, were fired. Amazingly, Glenn Beck’s outfit The Blaze outed the video as having been selectively edited, kicking off an avalanche of debunking.

Once again, the House Republicans ignored the aforementioned debunking and voted to defund NPR largely because of O’Keefe’s scam.

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