Accuracy in Media

Major elements of the conservative blogosphere and movement quickly denounced James O’Keefe when media accounts alleged that he intended to “seduce” CNN correspondent Abbie Boudreau. These reports claimed that he wanted preemptive payback for a program about young conservatives, “Right on the Edge,” that CNN was (then) scheduled to air. O’Keefe is said to have believed that CNN would not fairly represent the young conservatives—a fair prediction based on the CNN track record.

O’Keefe never actually did anything and the CNN story on him largely is based on Boudreau’s accounts, information from O’Keefe associate Izzy Santa, and what appear to be brainstorming e-mails sent between O’Keefe and/or his team. O’Keefe’s explanation of the incident offers evidence that the brainstorming e-mails were just that by noting that he was not dressed as he should have been (had he been planning to go through with what CNN alleges) when he met with and spoke to Boudreau. Even the CNN account makes no note of him being dressed bizarrely when he met and spoke with Boudreau at the residence in Maryland where the alleged prank was allegedly supposed to occur.

CNN aired “Right on the Edge” and some in the blogosphere—including the conservative blogosphere—asserted that it was a fair treatment of the young conservatives but that whatever goodwill it engendered had been undercut by O’Keefe with his alleged plans. Yet just a little while later some in the conservative blogosphere began noticing that maybe “Right on the Edge” wasn’t as fair to conservatives as some conservatives initially assessed it to be.

Over the next few days, the conservative blogosphere began noting how CNN was promoting the idea that it is conservative opposition to homosexuality which causes or contributes to homosexuals committing suicide.

This did not seem accidental. “Right on the Edge” had featured Ryan Sorba, labeled an “anti-gay” activist by CNN, as he encountered far-left homosexual demonstrators who had gathered in Illinois outside a church to protest Peter LaBarbera’s Truth Academy event to tell the truth about the dangerous health hazards of the homosexual lifestyle. CNN made it seem like Sorba, a young conservative leader, was a polarizing figure making outrageous claims.

In fact, as AIM editor Cliff Kincaid points out, Sorba was friendly to the demonstrators, offered them sodas and water, and had wanted to engage in a dialogue with them. They reacted with anger, rage, and name-calling. Kincaid also spoke at the Truth Academy and was at the demonstration, taking pictures and talking to the protesters. Film footage captured the fact that one gay protester expressed the hope that Kincaid might get hit by a car. The anti-conservative demonstration was organized by the Gay Liberation Network in Chicago, a group run by a Trotskyite communist.

The left has pushed the idea that opposition to homosexuality causes depression and suicide in homosexuals and they gladly exploit any suspected suicide of any suspected homosexual to advance this malicious charge. In fact, one should not be surprised that Anderson Cooper’s “Stop Bullying: Speak Up” on CNN seemed to enjoy highlighting how “bullying” causes homosexuals to become depressed or commit suicide.

CNN clearly has a left-wing agenda that has no place for conservative ideas or conservatives themselves—other than when they can use conservatives to push the leftist narrative of right-wing “hate.” Perhaps O’Keefe was right after all in his analysis of what CNN wanted to do with “Right on the Edge.” Perhaps some conservative figures were too quick to throw him over the side.

There are legitimate questions one could ask O’Keefe about what he may have intended to do. But these are all questions about what did not occur. Regardless of what one thinks of O’Keefe or his alleged plan with Abbie Boudreau, some figures on the right did the work of the left by resoundingly condemning him—something you won’t catch the left as a whole doing to one of its own—and by siding with CNN.

This is the same CNN that uses the despicable term, “teabagging” to describe Tea Partiers, which censored stories on atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein in order to win the favor of the Iraqi dictator, which lied about Rush Limbaugh making racist remarks, and which in a story by Abbie Boudreau falsely tried to make suicide pilot Joe Stack out to be a member of the Tea Party movement.

Considering this track record, James O’Keefe deserved our support in the face of the CNN assault against him. Some time to review what happened—and what did not happen—was needed. He had put himself on the line for conservatism and yet when CNN ran a story accusing him of planning to do something that he never did, some conservatives quickly abandoned him.

Now that some on the right have joined the left in rejecting O’Keefe from the good graces of society, perhaps O’Keefe can redeem himself by ridiculing American servicemembers, like the far-left cartoonist Ted  Rall has done. Perhaps he can regain his reputation with at least part of society by emulating Rall and writing a book condemning America and dreaming of a communist revolution.

If O’Keefe did this, at least part of society—the progressives—might welcome him back with open arms. As it stands now, by siding with conservatives and putting his neck on the line for the conservative cause, he is isolated with few friends. The mistreatment of O’Keefe is not the way to encourage more young conservatives to engage in journalism. It is another sad chapter in the story of how conservatives play defense, in order to score “integrity” points with liberals, when an offense is required.

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