With its hero James O’Keefe busted for helping his pals posing as telephone repairmen to gain entry to Louisiana Democratic senator Mary Landrieu’s office, Fox News hopped on its news cycle and started furiously backpedaling. (For now, at least.)
Above is Fox’s report yesterday. It’s one of those rare moments when Fox’s talking heads refrained from braying and bellowing, although one of them wondered out loud whether O’Keefe was merely hounding Landrieu over ACORN. (Don’t think so, based on early reports.)
But infiltrating politicians’ offices and/or events by going undercover is not necessarily wrong.
I once fooled Neil Bush (George W. Bush’s brother), at a small, private gathering of GOP donors, into thinking I was one of them — we shared a moment tsk-tsking about what Neil called “liberal media bias.”
I’ve also sorted through politicians’ garbage — when it was on public property, which is not a crime.
Breaking into pols’ offices? That’s a crime. Posing as telephone repairmen to gain entry to a pol’s office? Less of a crime. Smirking at O’Keefe’s alleged entanglement in the Landrieu incident? Not a crime.
Infiltrating? I’ve done it by hiding my real-life scumbag-journalist identity and posing as a regular citizen, right-wing religious nut, or militia recruit.
I once eavesdropped on presidential candidate Jack Kemp’s private appeal to Focus on the Family king James Dobson to get the radio evangelist’s endorsement during an ’80s presidential campaign. I also posed as an evangelical Christian activist and joined a men’s group at Promise Keepers chief Bill McCartney’s church. Undercover, I’ve attended right-wing activists’ workshops, militia meetings, and various other brainwashing sessions.
Don’t compare this Landrieu/O’Keefe incident with the Watergate break-in, which was an actual burglary. In the current case, the FBI’s affidavit is not exactly the exposure of a major political-type crime. It paints a picture of pranksters who got caught trying to pass themselves off as telephone repairmen.
Now, what they were after, if the allegations are true? Were they there to riffle through Landrieu’s papers? Were they going to steal something? Were they going to plant bugs? Or were they just there to video themselves in her office and then show the tape as if it were a big deal?
One of the alleged posers is Robert Flanagan, a virulent opponent of Landrieu’s (see his screeds attacking her position on health care and protection of the Louisiana coast). It’s not clear whether this alleged dirty trick is related to O’Keefe’s sting of ACORN.
One thing’s for sure: Anybody who was fooled by O’Keefe’s pimp outfit when he stung ACORN is an idiot. Not that he isn’t a pimp in a certain sense.