On Monday, The Washington Post announced that it had busted James O’Keefe, the undercover sting journalist responsible for the federal defunding of the Leftist community organizing machine ACORN. O’Keefe reportedly deployed a woman to lie to the Post, claiming to be an old sexual assault victim of Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore — she told the Post she was impregnated by Moore at 15 years old and that he paid for an abortion. But the Post investigated, found out she was lying, and then traced her back to O’Keefe, who apparently was attempting a sting operation aimed at showing that the Post would run unverified sexual assault accusations.
Here’s the Post reporting:
In a series of interviews over two weeks, the woman shared a dramatic story about an alleged sexual relationship with Moore in 1992 that led to an abortion when she was 15. During the interviews, she repeatedly pressed Post reporters to give their opinions on the effects that her claims could have on Moore’s candidacy if she went public.
The Post did not publish an article based on her unsubstantiated account. When Post reporters confronted her with inconsistencies in her story and an Internet posting that raised doubts about her motivations, she insisted that she was not working with any organization that targets journalists.
But on Monday morning, Post reporters saw her walking into the New York offices of Project Veritas, an organization that targets the mainstream news media and left-leaning groups. The organization sets up undercover “stings” that involve using false cover stories and covert video recordings meant to expose what the group says is media bias.
O’Keefe refused to say if he was backed by Breitbart News’ Steve Bannon or the Moore campaign.
The sting operation was idiotic for a variety of reasons. First, it was immoral: attempting to discredit the honesty of the Post could be done with a variety of planted stories. The only reason to plant a story about a false sexual assault victim of Moore’s would be to discredit the other alleged sexual assault victims by smearing them as similarly invented.
Second, the story backfired wildly: the Post did its job, tracked down the leads, and not only didn’t print a story about the fake allegation, but tracked it to its source in O’Keefe. Over and over again, O’Keefe’s apparent agent tried to get the Post reporter to discuss the impact of such a story on Moore; each time, the Post reporter redirected to specific questions about the story itself. That adds to the Post’s credibility. It doesn’t detract from it.
But in a world of insane distrust of media, none of this may matter. The fact that O’Keefe targeted the Post will be enough to justify his actions to many on the Right; the fact that he did so on behalf of Moore will double the effect.