Fake Pimp James O'Keefe's Dream Exposé, Exposed

Fake pimp and would-be sex boater James O'Keefe is profiled in the upcoming New York Times magazine. And one anecdote, in which O'Keefe and friends cook up a plan to expose the government's evil plan to prevent black people from marrying each other, is indicative of everything that's wrong with him. (Apart from, you know, the lying. And the lawbreaking).

There isn't much new ground covered here — the question of O'Keefe's current funding, for example, is left untouched beyond a passing reference to Andrew Breitbart helping out — but it's an entertaining read. And in the presence of the reporter, O'Keefe oversees a planning session with two Haitian-American and Nigerian-American volunteers. Given the usual demographic composition of O'Keefe's crowd, we'll go out on a limb and speculate that he chose to allow a reporter into this session — after expressing initial reluctance to let him in on "sausage-making" — as convenient proof of Having Black Friends. (For what it's worth, he also has fake Irish terrorist friends.)

In the meeting, the young Haitian American volunteer, Vanessa Jean-Louis, expresses concern about the high-risk children she works with. "Ninety percent of the kids have no father living at home," she said. "They're maladapted because of government policies that leave them fatherless."


Shaughn Adeleye, another associate, declares, "We should expose the incentives that the system gives for fatherless families." These "incentives" are summed up in a single word: Welfare. But as author Zev Chafetz writes, "there is a difference between a topic and a story."

So they dream up a scenario where two people approach a case worker, "A mom and a baby daddy, and the caseworker telling them not to get married":

"Even if they love each other," O'Keefe said, giving the story an emotional center. "If the caseworker still says not to get married, that would be really powerful. Of course the headline will say, ‘O'Keefe Goes After Welfare,' but some people actually need welfare. We're looking to expose people who don't. Maybe we should give the couple good jobs. That way there would be no economic justification for telling them to stay on welfare."

Jean-Louis hopes to find a "white woman caseworker telling a black man not to marry a black woman. You know sisters are going to be outraged at that!" O'Keefe suggests a control group with a white couple to illustrate that "marriage is being challenged, made extinct."

So far, this all sounds basic enough, if you don't have any problem with sting journalism, which the piece points out has been used on the left too. But this, like all of these setups — the Planned Parenthood "sting" initiated by O'Keefe buddy Lila Rose comes to mind — requires so many improbable and elaborate circumstances to function that it sheds absolutely zero light on the actual social problems. Even if they found a hapless caseworker willing to give the "couple" advice not to marry, what would we have learned? That Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is a secret government plan to keep black children fatherless? That single mothers should be cast out of the social safety net for their children's sake? That social workers hate the traditional family? In fact, we would have learned nothing, and the net value to these "maladapted" children would be even less than that.

Stinger: James O'Keefe's Greatest Hits [NYT]