James O’Keefe brought down ACORN, exposed PBS’s hatred of the Tea Party movement, found fraud and waste at the Census Bureau, and lately has been showing how easy voter fraud is. To put it mildly, the left doesn’t like him very much.
But that doesn’t give them the right to lie about him. David Shuster and Keith Olbermann, who appear on Al Gore’s no-audience cable channel, described him as a convicted felon who is facing rape charges. Neither allegation is true. O’Keefe is not a convicted felon, and is not facing rape charges, or any other charges for that matter. He was accused of a felony when he brought hidden cameras into Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office, but was exonerated. And what Shuster and Olbermann describe as a rape charge was merely a harassment charge based on an accusation that O’Keefe said mean things on the phone and Internet, and that charge was dismissed for lack of evidence.
O’Keefe is suing for defamation. Defamation charges involving a public figure are awfully hard to prove in court, but since Shuster and Olbermann surely knew the facts when they made their slanders, I think he might have a case.
That brings us to The Atlantic, which (like nearly everyone) has higher journalistic standards than Current TV, but also defamed O’Keefe in reporting on how Shuster and Olbermann defamed O’Keefe. The Atlantic reported that O’Keefe “pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor ‘with the intent to commit a felony'”. It’s not true. In fact, the prosecutors conceded the opposite in court, that he had no intent to commit a felony:
In this case further investigation did not uncover evidence that the defendants intended to commit any felony. . .
The only reason O’Keefe has a criminal record at all is it turns out that it’s illegal to run a hidden camera investigation on federal property. His only mistake was not seeking legal advice before trying to get Landrieu’s staff on camera lying about their phones.