James O'Keefe video targets biased Pulitzer winner, Columbia J-School
The myth of journalistic objectivity is the subject of James O'Keefe's latest video project -- and the YouTube clip he has produced is as amusing as earlier efforts that brought down ACORN and top NPR executives.
"Should journalists disclose their journalistic biases?" That's the question posed by O'Keefe's video released via YouTube and part of an ongoing series under his ProjectVeritas.com. Amusingly, the clip revels that liberal members of the Fourth Estate hate having tape recorders and video cameras turned on themselves with the aim of holding them accountable to the ethical standards they claim to uphold and that -- let's face it -- were unrealistic standards to begin with.
The departure point for O'Keefe's video released on Thursday is a journalism conference where one of O'Keefe's associates poses as a cub reporter. With a hidden camera rolling, O'Keefe's operative engages a 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner at the New Jersey's Star-Ledger, Amy Ellis Nutt, in what the reporter and adjunct professor at Columbia University's journalism school thinks is innocent shop talk.
Nutt, however, is caught on video tape agreeing with the need to reelect President Obama and calls Republican Gov. Christopher James "Chris" Christie an "asshole" and "liar." She covered his 2009 election.
O'Keefe subsequently attempts to get comments about the biased remarks from Nutt herself, her boss at the Star-Ledger, and her colleagues at Columbia's journalism school. However, phones are hung up on O'Keefe. He's stonewalled. And he's called unethical and unprofessional -- no matter that his techniques are no different than what many members of Fourth Estate themselves use. One Columbia professor even goes into a vulgar tirade against O'Keefe in an Internet post and e-mail -- and the young filmmaker later confronts the professor walking nervously in the street and avoiding questions about his juvenile conduct.
"These professors and journalists have never been held accountable in their entire lives," says O'Keefe. He adds: "Evidently, they hate when they are the ones being asked difficult questions."
Interestingly, when O'Keefe visits the Star-Ledger in a fruitless attempt to talk with the paper's editor, a man who identifies himself as being from the paper's advertising department shakes O'Keefes hand. "I like your work. I can't say much for our editorial side," he says.
It's unclear if the man knows the encounter is being taped, however. One has to wonder if the poor schmuck still has a job. Maybe O'Keefe should have edited that encounter out of his video.
The YouTube clip runs nearly eight minutes.