Priceless: James O’Keefe Operatives Turn On Him Because They ‘Feel Exploited’
Controversial undercover videographer James O’Keefe is under fire from two of his Project Veritas operatives, who complain exclusively to The Daily Beast‘s Howard Kurtz that O’Keefe’s handling of their so-called NPR “sting” made them “feel exploited.”
Shaughn Adeleye and Simon Templar, who carried out the “NPR sting,” accuse O’Keefe of “hijacking” credit for their story in order to “get his ‘comeback’ or his ‘redemption.’”
Let me be the first to offer them some cheese with that whine.
Templar’s critique of O’Keefe’s handling of the NPR story seems to be, not that it was a “hit job,” but that O’Keefe didn’t have the patience to wait and make it into a series of hit jobs. Templar told Kurtz that he had designed the effort to be “a very thoroughly researched and impeccably executed project that was by no means limited to NPR. James wanted it to be a hit job.”
Instead, O’Keefe apparently insisted on rushing the project out. Although the project resulted in the firing/forced resignations of several NPR executives, the video itself was discredited, most notably by Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, for using “questionable editing and tactics.”
That release strategy, along with other criticisms of O’Keefe’s shallow M.O. (like O’Keefe’s “shtick of walking into an office with a bizarre pretense and taping some secretary or low-level worker”), don’t appear to have caused the pair to turn against O’Keefe. It was their perception that O’Keefe co-opted their work that really seems to have done the trick. From The Daily Beast:
Templar, who maintains that he “literally handled every inch of this story,” says he feels “exploited.” He had, for instance, written an opinion column on the affair that was intended for The Wall Street Journal. But the public-relations firm working with O’Keefe’s group insisted the piece had to carry O’Keefe’s byline.
“Give us the credit we’re due, that’s all we asked,” Adeleye says. “It was hijacked to his own purposes, to a degree … James is just, unfortunately, someone I cannot work with anymore.”
Says Templar: “He needed the story to be that Shaughn and I were both just actors he hired to carry out his master plan. Otherwise, he wouldn’t get his ‘comeback’ or his ‘redemption,’ and it wouldn’t help his ‘business’ nearly as much.”
Setting aside the hilarious irony that these guys are complaining that they didn’t get a fair shake from the guy who hired them to entrap people with hidden cameras, their central complaint against O’Keefe cuts both ways.
To the degree that anyone cared about the NPR story, it was because it had the James O’Keefe brand attached to it. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but “the guy who’s cleverly named after The Saint” just doesn’t have the buzz that “ACORN pimp James O’Keefe” has. If Templar gave up his byline on that WSJ op-ed, he got O’Keefe’s buzz in return.
What’s missing from this story is why these two are sharing this bowl of sour grapes now, eight months after the fact. As recently as a few weeks ago, Templar still appeared to be on the O’Keefe Express, so why is he blowing the whistle now?
O’Keefe declined to comment for Kurtz, and although I reached out to James O’Keefe to ask what he thinks precipitated this, he hasn’t responded just yet.
Take a look at the original report:
Simon Templar says, via Twitter:
OKeefe never “hired” us. never “worked for” him
Feel free to monitor his Twitter feed as he attempts to un-sew the Project Veritas tapestry he happily helped O’Keefe weave when it was beneficial to him. He says that “‘Project Veritas’ didn’t even exist at the time,” despite the fact that his own video is watermarked ©TheProjectVeritas.com, and despite the fact that it was billed, at the time, as a “Project Veritas Investigation.”
Rather than try to untangle this web, I’ll stipulate that Templar was “ostensibly” working for James O’Keefe, who “appeared” to hire him to entrap people with hidden cameras.
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org