James O’Keefe Makes For Sunday’s Best Newspaper Story

Ouch!

James O’Keefe wanted headlines.  He wanted to be known.  He wanted to show what conservatives are all about.  He got what he wanted.  (Does this news qualify for his year-end Christmas letter to the distant cousins?)

From left, James O’Keefe III, Stan Dai, Robert Flanagan and Joseph Basel.

Today James O’Keefe and his fellow felons-to-be are on the front page (above the fold) of the New York Times with a color photo and long story about their attempts to make a splash using media, and their version of ‘journalism’ to further conservative thinking.

They got fame with their bungled wire-tapping scheme of a U.S. Senator’s office, but also now need legal advice as they start to ‘lawyer up’.  For the rest of us we get more cheap theatre from the same larger crowd that brought us Watergate.  (Maybe FOX TV can give these guys a reality show!  They could share a life-size Ann Coulter look-a-like blow-up doll, read the Wall Street Journal in their boxers, plot how to steal Senator Byrd’s wheel-chair, and make prank phone calls to liberal radio talk show hosts…..)

James O’Keefe III, the guerrilla videographer, advised conservative students this month that they needed to start taking more risks.

“The more you put yourself out there and you take those calculated risks,” he told the Web site CampusReform.org, which works to foster conservative activism on college campuses, “you’re actually going to get opportunities.”

Just days later, Mr. O’Keefe, 25, took his own advice, but did not get quite the opportunity he expected.

He and three other men — including a 24-year-old associate, Joseph Basel, who was interviewed alongside Mr. O’Keefe by the Web site — were arrested and charged with a federal felony, accused of seeking to tamper with the office telephone system of Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana. Two of them were impersonating repairmen in the senator’s New Orleans office and were caught after being asked for identification.

Mr. O’Keefe said Friday that the four men had been trying to determine whether Ms. Landrieu was avoiding constituent complaints about the Senate health care bill after her phone system was jammed in December. (Her office said no calls had been intentionally avoided.) On reflection, he said in a statement, “I could have used a different approach to this investigation.”

But that approach was precisely the kind that he and others have been perfecting for years, a kind of gonzo journalism or a conservative version of “Candid Camera.”

Sunday Echoes: Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal Feud On Dick Cavett Show

Dick Cavett was the most cerebral talk show host that I ever had the pleasure of watching.  Apart from his vast foundation of knowledge was the perfect broadcast tone of his voice, and his ability to use language so effectively.  It was reason enough to tune in his show just to see and hear him.  But it also is  fair to say Cavett had some of the most engrossing guests that any television show booked.   Due to Cavett’s show I came to know such intriguing and talented people such as Tommy Tune, and the reason Broadway mattered.  I also came to appreciate barbed wit. There was no better example of that talent than the slicing language between Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal.  It remains a classic video clip to watch again and again.