#TCOT Tuesday: James O’Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII)

James O’Keefe is always creating headlines, most recently filing suit against Al Gore’s Current TV, Keith Olbermann and David Shuster.  Shuster of course is a respected, award winning television journalist (unlike O’Keefe) and thought it was hilarious to falsely label O’Keefe a convicted felon who had been accused of rape.  O’Keefe’s willingness to counterattack and his frankly confrontational take on the “fascist” media has made him a figure of loathing on the Left, while even frightening some conservatives that shy away from his adversarial tactics.

Lost in the caricature is what James O’Keefe is really all about.  Reluctant to label himself a right-winger, he considers himself an “artist” more in the spirit of the Old Left.  His motivation is to “stick it to the man, expose things, educate people,“ and most of all, “reveal the truth about powerful institutions.”

Twitter is central to O’Keefe’s artistry, allowing him to be in complete control of his message and get in touch directly with people.  More than anything else, O’Keefe believes “content is king” and emphasizes the need for tweeting original content.  He has built his following by breaking his own news first on his own twitter account.

He also uses twitter to keep tabs on the media, notably Sree Sreenivasan (@sree), Dean of Students at Columbia Journalism School.  While Sree posts interesting stories on the media, O’Keefe says wryly, he’s “not too much of a fan of mine.”

O’Keefe is not some conservative movement hack.  He is scathing in his treatment of the Beltway Right, noting that they “spend millions on conferences, ceremonies, and gatherings – funding what amounts to a veneer of activity in an echo chamber” instead of funding direct action.  The result is that while “the Left is out there occupying buildings, state legislatures, pressuring corporations and engaging in street activism with full support of the entire left of center, the Right casts its own to the wolves.  That’s the biggest difference right there.”  While conservatives titter about such tactics, O’Keefe seems almost envious.

O’Keefe slams the Right for its refusal to engage the mainstream culture and their skepticism of effective tactics, noting that “Lila Rose’s videos inside Planned Parenthood clinics have done more to damage Planned Parenthood’s reputation than all other pro life organizations combined.”  He didn’t add that his own takedown of ACORN could be put in the same category.

O’Keefe’s identification of the media as political actor in its own right separates him from the conservatives that merely complain about liberal bias.  For James O’Keefe, the media has become part of the system that they were supposed to guard against.  Even when he breaks a story about government malfeasance, most of the media attacks the messenger and ignores the message.  O’Keefe fires back that they are fascists.  “They defend the government using corporate money, I don’t know what else you would call it.”

Anti-system, artist, and activist – James O’Keefe doesn’t fit with the presumptions and premises of the self satisfied Beltway Right.  In fact, he’s not really part of it at all.  His mission, as he sees it, is to pursue “art for art’s sake” and make the world a “more virtuous place.”  This kind of existential politics fits uncomfortably with a movement concerned about status within the existing system and which once used “don’t immanentize the eschaton” as a slogan.  Looking at how that movement operates today and what it has and mostly hasn’t achieved, maybe an artist is what we need.

Comments

Comments

  1. test1234 says:

    Hello there! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog. Is it hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Thanks

  2. Adi says:

    , “it is much easier to let the cat out of the bag then it is to put it back.” So it seems obama’s suoitlon is the insurance companies pay for the contraceptives, and abortions and not the hospitals. How did he turn it around to payment? I was under the impression the problem was administrating the drugs or providing them not paying for them. Also has anyone seen obama change his mind before, after the fact and a good suoitlon result? Who thinks if not fought all the way by the Catholics it will not later be imposed by this president? Probably down the road when there is less attention being paid then now and when the outcome may not be detrimental to his presidency. Or get quite so much publicity. Obama has demonstrated time and time again he does not talk the same actions he preforms. What he does and what he says he is going to do are, in most cases, if not all cases, not the same but opposite. That is his smoke screen!Steve Elliot is correct in his analogy we have been “stupaked” by obama. However, an older analogy is “he double crossed” Americans. And nearly everyone understands that. But not just in the case of this recent attack on religion. As a matter of fact almost daily for over three years. Because we have been lied too and deceived, nearly daily for that three years how can it be he is still able to continue his charade without being exposed by the main stream media? Obama said there would be no lobbyist allowed within his administration, yet within thirty days after he took office he installed several. He also said he would be the most transparent president ever in the history of the United States, and he has turned out to the most secretive. Which was demonstrated quite well during the passage of obamacare. He also said he would bring the country together but instead has been a separatist. He passed The Affordable Healthcare Act, (obamacare) stating how wonderful it was and then issued over two thousand wavers to people and companies who thought it sucked, while forcing it on the rest of us. It would be easy to go on and on about his incompetency but we are all aware of his acts. However, incompetency may not be the right term because as every day passes it becomes more apparent his acts are intentional. But then he did promise us fundamental transformation. He just never explained it. By not explaining it he could never be claimed to be incorrect in his actions because there is no goal planned just like there is no budget, consequently, he has no guide lines or consequences to his actions. Is that smart or destructive?

  3. A well thought out and educational blog post, thanks very much

  4. Satisfied birthday Mama Morris.

  5. Ava says:

    Your mode of explaining all in this post is actually fastidious, every one be able to
    effortlessly understand it, Thanks a lot.

Polititainment

Foxx talks dancing with Christie, McCain
Who could possibly forget this epic photo? Late night host Jimmy Kimmel certainly hadn’t, so when he had the chance to interview actor Jamie Foxx Wednesday night, he simply had to get the back story. Foxx has been the host of this annual charity event for several years. “What’s interesting is that every year that […]
Jon Stewart on Christie's 'pig problem'

Jon Stewart got into Chris Christie’s “pig problem”—which wasn’t quite what Stewart thought it was at first.

Rogen: 'Amazing' to smoke in White House

Seth Rogen told The Hill in a recent interview that he believes he is now on a "list" of individuals banned on from President Obama's residence because of his recent tweet expressing his desire to smoke marijuana in the White House.

Kimmel's insightful e-card rant

Kimmel's broadside against e-cards raises an interesting point about the way Democrats have encouraged their followers to pass along birthday well-wishes to their party's elected officials and leaders.

Stewart hits Pelosi for hypocrisy
Jon Stewart hit Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D- Calif.) hard Tuesday night for her hypocrisy in a recent voting decision. “You are a recognized champion of women and voter rights,” Stewart started off, playing clips of her oft-repeated speeches on the topics. “Your voting and lady bonafides are unmatched.” So lucky for Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D- Ill.), […]

White House

After multiple hacks, the federal government’s cybersecurity plan remains on hold

The federal government is not having the best time with cybersecurity of late.

Obama to announce executive action on immigration Thursday

President Obama announced Wednesday afternoon that he will unveil his unilateral plan for immigration reform to the nation in a primetime address Thursday.

Reports: Obama could unveil amnesty for illegal immigrants within days

President Obama is set to unveil a comprehensive, unilateral plan for immigration reform that includes amnesty as soon as next week, according to a report Thursday.

Obama on ‘Face the Nation': Congress still has time to act on immigration
After warnings from Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Boehner, President Obama claimed on Sunday’s “Face the Nation” that Congress still has time to act on immigration before his executive order comes down. “I’d prefer and still prefer to see it done through Congress, but every day that I wait we’re misallocating resources. We’re deporting […]
Obama sings ‘On the Road Again’ with Willie Nelson
Attention: This is not one of Jimmy Fallon’s lip dub videos. President Barack Obama really did take the stage and sing with Willie Nelson Thursday. Obama’s performance was a part of a concert for the troops at the White House was hosted Thursday and broadcast on PBS on Friday night. Obama closed out the hour-long […]

Congress

Rand suggests a wardrobe change for 'King' Obama
Sen. Rand Paul (R- Ky.) took to Facebook to suggest an Obama wardrobe change following the president’s comments that he will use the executive branch to push his immigration agenda. Post by Rand Paul. “This isn’t about immigration reform. This is about his usurping of power that the Constitution didn’t give him,” Paul said in an interview […]
Senator: 'There could be violence'

Retiring Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn has issued a stark warning about the fallout from President Obama's immigration plan.

Pro- and anti-NSA Republicans vote down reform

Senate Republicans banded together to kill a National Security Agency reform bill, but some did it for entirely opposite reasons.

The House hires an Obama voter to sue Obama

In an act that belongs in the trolling hall of fame, the House of Representatives has retained a lawyer who voted for President Obama and supports "national health care" to sue President Obama over Obamacare.

Boehner gets Twitter shade for his 65th birthday
Sorry Mr. Speaker. It looks like all you are getting for your birthday from your Democrat colleagues is a heap of Twitter shade. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz both tweeted at House Speaker John Boehner to wish him a “Happy 65th Birthday!” Of course, they couldn’t resist the […]