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James O’Keefe finally accomplishes something

O’Keefe, who has made a career of stunts to mislead people about the Left’s political goals, has screwed up again. He tried to entrap an environmentalist documentarian, Josh Fox, by having one of his accomplices pose as an agent for a Saudi sheik, and trying to get Fox on tape accepting money from Big Oil interests. O’Keefe then appeared triumphantly on Fox News with a tiny sliver of a recording that has Fox saying one sentence that sounds like he’s willing. That was it.

We are familiar with what creationists do all the time, aren’t we, boys and girls? You know what we should immediately suspect Mr O’Keefe of doing, shouldn’t we? Quote-mining. Blatant editing. Unfortunately for him (although this won’t hurt his reputation, since everyone knows that if you look up Bumbling Sleazebags in the Yellow Pages, you can get O’Keefe’s number), Josh Fox recorded the full ten minute phone conversation. You can guess what’s on it: Josh Fox refusing to work for anyone without full transparency, and just generally finding the whole discussion suspicious and weird. O’Keefe tried to play gotcha, and instead Fox got him right back.

But there is good news. O’Keefe’s stunt and backfire got one happy result: I am now aware of Fox’s movie, Gasland, which is available on NetFlix right now for streaming. I’m going to watch it this weekend.

Say…if I were Alex Jones, I’d be wondering if James O’Keefe was a secret agent for the environmental movement who had just carried out a successful false flag event to raise awareness of the perils of fracking.

Comments

  1. says

    Oh. My. That’s just beautiful.

    So… Is there an absolute zero for credibility? Thank you, O’Keefe, for your work on this question.

  2. JohnnieCanuck says

    You can set fire to your tap water? That’s an explosion hazard, not just undrinkable water. Has this been verified or documented in other media?

  3. carlie says

    He says in that clip that those guys spent 6 months sending him emails trying to set this whole thing up, created a fake website, everything. Sheesh. Just to try to get a “gotcha” moment. And they did such a terrible job of it, and it’s such a well-known scam, that he knew exactly to tape it! What amateurs.

  4. pseudotsuga says

    As a former employee who has worked in many of the gas fields featured in both Gasland and Gasland 2 I force myself to watch them every now and then as a part of my penance. Gasland 2 gets off the rails a bit but the first is exceptional and scarily accurate.

    Canuck – propublica runs a comprehensive website of fracking impacts and does a good job of sorting the science if you are interested. http://www.propublica.org/series/fracking

  5. swampfoot says

    It’s amazing how these guys think. They seem to believe that if Josh had suddenly and inexplicably “sold out” to the enemy, that this would suddenly make the evidence presented by Gasland and countless other victims of hydraulic fracturing to be NOT TRUE.

    Even if Josh Fox became a T. Boone Pickens overnight and started fracturing wells by the thousands, this is totally irrelevant to the facts presented in his movie. Conservatives just don’t get this. They think if you show someone to be a hypocrite or somehow morally deficient, that any evidence shown by that person just vanishes.

  6. qwints says

    O’Keefes key accusation is that anti-fracking activists are either fronts for OPEC (read Arab) interests or are willing to be. O’Keefe did indeed get some other documentary film makers to say much more damning things about being willing to take money from non-US petroleum interests and keep it secret, and included the one sentence from Fox to misleadingly imply that Fox had done something similar.

    This is a similar argument to that used by many liberals – judging political positions by the source of their funding. Typical misleadingly edited crap from O’Keefe, but not with inherently bad logic.

  7. swampfoot says

    I meant to add that conservatives believe this so strongly that they are perfectly willing to completely fabricate so-called moral deficiencies in their enemies and present them as truth.

  8. OverlappingMagisteria says

    #5 swampfoot:

    I was thinking the same thing. It’s the Tu Quoque fallacy

    Also, what were we supposed to think that the Oil Tycoon’s motivations were? Why the heck would an oil guy want to fund an anti-fossil fuel environmentalist. Is it supposed to be that he was trying to hush up Fox? If anything that would make the oil industry look even worse.

    O’Keefe is trying to say “Look, this environmentalist is a hypocrite.” but I would just hear “The Oil industry is skeevy and corrupt.”

  9. OverlappingMagisteria says

    #6 qwints –
    Ahh… I should read all the comments before posting. Thanks for the info

  10. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Conservatives just don’t get this. They think if you show someone to be a hypocrite or somehow morally deficient, that any evidence shown by that person just vanishes.

    Sounds familiar. Same strategy for Creationists; arguing that if a single “evolutionist” makes even a simple mistake, then everything all evolutionists have ever said, and all their evidence also, are false; QED creation is true. Liars see only lies, as truth.

  11. cactuswren says

    @5 & 11: Just the way all the evidence for common descent will be utterly negated if Darwin was a racist.

  12. atheist says

    @swampfoot – 23 May 2014 at 2:32 pm (UTC -5)

    It’s amazing how these guys think. They seem to believe that if Josh had suddenly and inexplicably “sold out” to the enemy, that this would suddenly make the evidence presented by Gasland and countless other victims of hydraulic fracturing to be NOT TRUE.

    Of course you’re right but that’s not the point. You’re thinking in a paradigm of logic and science, where the purpose of public speech is for differing arguments to compete and eventually discover the truth. O’Keefe is operating in a paradigm of marketing, where brands have their value rise or fall according to paid speech. His aim is to destroy a person, or a brand, by making it look bad. Unfortunately, marketing works.

  13. Moddey says

    #6 qwints:
    “O’Keefe did indeed get some other documentary film makers to say much more damning things about being willing to take money from non-US petroleum interests and keep it secret…”

    Did he, though? Because unless he approached Fox differently from everyone else, he didn’t disclose anything specific about his fictional clients to them, either. To me it looks like O’Keefe is pulling the same bait-and-switch that he did to ACORN: present a reasonable/sympathetic story to the target, get them to follow along, then swap out your approach for a direct and flagrant one and pretend that you tricked the supervillain into cackling along with you.

  14. says

    They should do something similar to what Marge Simpson did.
    They need to bottle the poisoned water and bring to those that are defending Fracking and ask them to drink it.

  15. PatrickG says

    I know it’s quite hard to win a libel suit in the US, but … wow, if ever there was a clear-cut case, this is it.

    I hope Fox goes with that option. This was a deliberate and fraudulent attempt to damage his reputation and professional livelihood. On national television, no less!

  16. mikeyb says

    Classic Breitbart mercenary amoral scumbag. Don’t bother to attack the argument, that requires facts particularly when the counterargument is basically this makes a lot of $$$ and that’s about it, so dishonest personal attempts at entrapment is all that’s left. Truly pathetic.

  17. unclefrogy says

    the thing to remember in all of the dealing with the extractive industries. mines and drillers is they really do not seem to care at all about the “side effects” of getting what they want out the ground they do not care about anyone who is effected by the destruction. They will do what ever the minimum is to continue. They do not see other people at all.
    If they thought they could get away with they would use naked violence they have else where.

    uncle frogy

  18. freetotebag says

    How could the guy on the line with Fox think he was fooling anyone? He sounds like a little kid prank calling someone. No little kid ever fooled any prank-callee into thinking they (the kid) was some adult working in some official capacity.

    They must have had someone else call the people who were fooled.

  19. David Marjanović says

    Why the heck would an oil guy want to fund an anti-fossil fuel environmentalist.

    You misunderstand. An evil, Islamofascist, foreign oil guy might want to fund an environmentalist to damage the good, patriotic, American oil guys, thus thwarting the good, patriotic, American attempt to become energy-independent from evil, Islamofascist, foreign countries.

  20. blf says

    You can set fire to your tap water? … Has this been verified or documented in other media?

    I don’t know about the specific instance, but YES, “explosive” water has been documented for years (probably decades). For instance, some time ago National Geographic did an article on the water needs of the rural poor in USAlienstani, and had — at the least — a picture of someone “flaming off” their water. As I now recall, putting a match to it coming out of the facet to burn off the gas that had accumulated overnight. (If my memory is correct, that suggests it wasn’t too much gas since it obviously wasn’t exploding per se.)

  21. says

    O’Keefe’s most reliable platform for dissemination of bogus drivel is Fox News. Fox News bought this latest palaver. It’s infuriating.

  22. raven says

    I know it’s quite hard to win a libel suit in the US, but … wow, if ever there was a clear-cut case, this is it.

    I hope Fox goes with that option. This was a deliberate and fraudulent attempt to damage his reputation and professional livelihood. On national television, no less!

    O’keefe has been in court before. And lost. He is 0 for 2.

    One Acorn guy sued him and settled out of court, with O’Keefe paying him a fair amount of money. And in Texas, one of his video’s was thrown out along with the case with the (Republican) judges having some sharp things to say about his honesty.

    It is hard to prove libel but in this case, I’m guessing the guy has a good chance. All Fox can claim is faulty due diligence and they can’t make that stick. It was O’Keefe after all, professional liar and convicted criminal for trying to bug a senators office. They should have known better and almost certainly did know better.

  23. J. R. says

    I live in an oil and gas patch that has been drilled and pumped since the early 1900s. On our farm wells were drilled in 1917 and 1919. Newer wells have been drilled all over the neighborhood.

    At times, when old fashioned fracking (not horizontal fracking with special chemicals and sand) has been done here locally we have been able to light the bubbles in our tap water. This would have been in 1990-1995.

    Yum, goodness!

    JR in southern West Virginia

  24. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @swampfoot & atheist:

    from swampfoot’s #5

    Even if Josh Fox became a T. Boone Pickens overnight and started fracturing wells by the thousands, this is totally irrelevant to the facts presented in his movie. Conservatives just don’t get this. They think if you show someone to be a hypocrite or somehow morally deficient, that any evidence shown by that person just vanishes.

    from atheist’s #16:

    Of course you’re right but that’s not the point. You’re thinking in a paradigm of logic and science, where the purpose of public speech is for differing arguments to compete and eventually discover the truth. O’Keefe is operating in a paradigm of marketing,

    Of course I can’t know with certainty, but remember that these are people who believe the bible in the face of contrary evidence because a moral authority said it was this way.

    For the folk who act in that way, moral authority hands down the truth, and good folk receive the truth, no questions asked. At that point, you’re just arguing about which authority you trust to be moral.

    In that frame, the actions of an O’Keefe make even more sense than in a generic “marketing” frame. So I don’t think it’s that conservatives “don’t get” that evidence doesn’t go away when the messenger is shown to be flawed. I think that they are operating on a “we can’t know, we weren’t there, we’ll look to trustworthy authority” paradigm.

    The moral authority, then, IS the evidence.

    Or, well, it’s a good working hypothesis that that is so.

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