The conservative provocateur James O’Keefe’s latest stunt is possibly his biggest backfire: He attempted to sting The Washington Post with a fake Roy Moore accuser, but found himself stung, as the Post exposed the scheme in a detailed report on Monday night.
It’s been eight years since O’Keefe’s debut on the national scene. The videos in which he and Hannah Giles posed as a pimp and prostitute to record ACORN employees appearing to advise them on how to break the law made the kind of impact mainstream news organizations dream of. They lead to ACORN shutting down, and made O’Keefe a key figure in the conservative media of the time. While others in the blogosphere or on cable news complained about the left, O’Keefe was out there doing something about it, infiltrating liberal institutions and exposing their corruption.
But it’s been a long eight years. Despite a few big hits along the way, like a recording of an NPR executive making partisan remarks in 2011, O’Keefe’s modus operandi has increasingly shown its flaws. The Washington Post incident is just his most recent own-goal. Last year, Project Veritas accidentally left a voicemail for a George Soros group it was trying to sting, laying out its whole plan; there was the 2010 blunder when O’Keefe plotted to embarrass CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau by mock-seducing her on a boat equipped with sex toys; and there was O’Keefe and his colleagues’ arrest in New Orleans in 2010 during an attempted sting of Senator Mary Landrieu.