Yesterday, conservative activist James O'Keefe was arrested for allegedly plotting "to wiretap Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in downtown New Orleans." O'Keefe was arrested along with Stan Dai, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan. Here's a look at who O'Keefe's alleged accomplices appear to be:
College conservative. CampusReform.org's Adam Weinberg wrote that "O'Keefe became the founding editor of The Centurion at Rutgers. Around the same time, frustrated conservative student Joe Basel started The Counterweight at the University of Minnesota-Morris. Both papers were started with assistance from the Leadership Institute 'Balance in Media' grant, which is still available for students starting conservative and libertarian campus publications today."
Basel was interviewed with O'Keefe for the January 14 article. Weinberg writes of O'Keefe and Basel: "To protect their ongoing investigations, I can't say exactly when or where the interview was conducted."
In the interview, Basel states of the origin of his conservative activism: "Once I got to that liberal of a university they basically pushed me to it. It was more in response to their hegemony on campus." Basel also describes his style of journalism:
Basel: I guess I wouldn't call it activist journalism either. I think the only real agenda with what I did at the University of Minnesota was to pursue truth and to hold the administrators and hold the professors' feet to the fire. To hold them accountable for what they were getting away with, what they were doing in the classroom and out of the classroom, in the community.
So, I think if you just make your agenda the truth or a fair chance at the truth on campus, you'd be surprised what falls in your lap if you work hard and keep doing it.
According to several media outlets, Robert Flanagan is "the son of William Flanagan, the acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana." The Times-Picayune reported that "Robert Flanagan's attorney, J. Garrison Jordan, said he believes his client works for the Pelican Institute."
Robert Flanagan is a frequent blogger for The Pelican Post, where he has written about Landrieu. The Pelican Post is the blog of The Pelican Institute for Public Policy, "a non-profit research and education institution that conducts scholarly research and analysis of Louisiana public policy. The Institute's mission is to advance sound policies based on the principles of free enterprise, individual liberty, and limited government."
A "Stan Dai" is based in the Washington D.C. area and has frequently been involved in conservative causes.
College conservative. In 2005, The Phillips Foundation awarded Dai a $5,000 scholarship under its Ronald Reagan Future Leaders Scholarship Program and cited his work on conservative causes. From the foundation's 2005 biography of Dai:
STAN DAI, Lisle, Ill., attends The George Washington University majoring in Political Science. He is editor-in-chief of The GW Patriot, an alternative conservative student newspaper, a Club 100 Activist of Young America's Foundation, and an Undergraduate Fellow on Terrorism of the Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies. He is co-founder of GW's Students Defending Democracy, a volunteer on several political campaigns, and active in the GW College Republicans and GW Colonials for Life. He was a 2003 Honorable Mention in the U.S. Institute of Peace Essay Contest.
Freelance consultant, former assistant director for intelligence center. According to a packet provided for the Junior Statesmen Summer School speakers program, Dai is currently a "Freelance consultant" after previously serving as "the first Assistant Director of the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence at Trinity in D.C."
The Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence states that it "prepares students for careers in intelligence. Its curriculum develops the skills relevant to intelligence community careers, while also allowing students to pursue the major of their choice." In 2008, the Junior State of America podcast wrote of Dai's background:
Stan Dai is the Assistant Director of Trinity's Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence in DC. He was formerly the Assistant Operations Officer at a Department of Defense irregular warfare fellowship program and a Fellow on Terrorism at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Stan graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the George Washington University.
Stan's main interest is the intersection of political mass movements, culture, and violence. He has discussed these topics as a guest lecturer at the George Washington University and on media outlets including C-SPAN's Washington Journal and Voice of America.
Stan has been involved in JSA since 2001: after attending summer school at Yale, he founded the JSA chapter at Naperville North, served in various Midwest region positions, and was a resident assistant at Georgetown.
Majikthise blogger Lindsay Beyerstein further wrote of Dai:
In college, Stan Dai co-wrote a satirical work entitled The Penis Monologues, apparently a takeoff on the Vagina Monologues. Here's a taste:
My Angry Penis
MY PENIS IS ANGRY!!!!!!! You want to know what happened to my penis? Joan happened to my penis! There I was, sleeping peacefully when Joan stormed in and dragged me out for "an educational program." I thought was going to see Mr. Rogers! But nooooooo! It turned out to be the "Whine-gina Monologues!"
Correction: This post originally misattributed the source of Basel's interview; Basel was interviewed by Adam Weinberg for CampusReform.org.
Clear Channel has released a statement to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation stating that they do not condone radio host Jim Quinn's recent defamatory comments on people living with HIV/AIDS and stating that they have spoken with Quinn about the "seriousness" of his remarks. On January 14, Quinn said that thanks to the "homosexual AIDS lobby," "[w]hen you get AIDS, pal, the door opens up to you. You have got all kinds of government goodies, including a maid to clean your house, transportation - I mean it's - there's just a wealth of wonders that come."
Following our Call to Action, GLAAD allies wrote numerous e-mails to Clear Channel executives and demanded that Jim Quinn be held responsible for his outrageous comments.
As a result, Clear Channel's Chief Communications Officer, Lisa Dollinger, released the following statement to GLAAD:
Clear Channel doesn't condone Jim Quinn's remarks and we don't share his view. Clear Channel has raised considerable funds and positive awareness for HIV/AIDS and the GLBT community over the years and we will continue to do so. We've spoken with Mr. Quinn about the seriousness of this incident.
David Weigel from The Washington Independent has a more detailed response from Andrew Breitbart concerning news that James O'Keefe and three others were arrested by the FBI in an alleged plot to interfere with the phones* at Sen. Mary Landrieu's office:
"We have no knowledge about or connection to any alleged acts and events involving James O'Keefe at Senator Mary Landrieu's office," said Breitbart. "We only just learned about the alleged incident this afternoon. We have no information other than what has been reported publicly by the press. Accordingly, we simply are not in a position to make any further comment."
Earlier this month, James O'Keefe and one of his alleged accomplices in a plot to interfere with the phones* at Sen. Mary Landrieu's office, Joseph Basel, were interviewed by The Centurion -- a right-wing student publication at Rutgers University which, coincidently enough, claims O'Keefe as "founding editor."
Much of the interview is what you'd expect from O'Keefe, though there are a few gems worth highlighting (emphasis added):
Campus Reform: One final question. As you guys got more involved in student publications, what has been your experience with networks and professional opportunities?
O'Keefe: The more bold you are, the more opportunities will be open to you. The less bold you are, the less opportunities in life will be open to you. The less calculated risk you take in college, the more you're going to be looking for a job.
But the more you put yourself out there and you take those calculated risks--the contrary of what people actually think is going to happen--you're actually going to get opportunities. Especially with someone like Hannah [Giles], who is a college student in Florida, you know, everyone telling her 'Oh, don't dress up like a [explicit]. Don't do that, you're going to ruin your career.'
Well, now she's working for Andrew Breitbart! And she's a journalist for Breitbart doing investigative journalism for the new site BigJournalism. So, I would encourage everyone to take on the challenge in college of being as assertive as you can possibly be in going after the truth.
Correction: This post originally misattributed the source of O'Keefe's interview; O'Keefe was interviewed by Adam Weinberg for CampusReform.org.
Here is the actual headline from an actual story about an actual poll:
Newsmax/Zogby Poll: Scott Brown Could Defeat Obama in Presidential Race
Thus, we have a right-wing hotbed of inflammatory anti-Obama rhetoric -- remember the call for a military coup against Obama? -- teaming up with what poll maven Nate Silver describes as "the worst pollster in the world."
A week ago, Zogby didn't think Brown could defeat Martha Coakley. Now he's claiming Brown might be able to beat Obama?
These two deserve each other, it seems.
From Weekly Standard online editor Michael Goldfarb's Twitter feed:
As we've noted below, O'Keefe, the right-wing media darling who dressed up as a pimp and secretly recorded visits to ACORN offices (visits that may have broken the law), was arrested yesterday by FBI agents for allegedly trying to interfere with the phone of Sen. Mary Landrieu.
We'll actually wait for more facts to emerge before making judgments about O'Keefe's action or the arrest. But in terms of the bigger picture, we can't say today's news comes as a surprise. O'Keefe's right-wing mentor, Andrew Breitbart, likes to go on and on about how he's reinventing journalism with his site Big Government, which relentlessly hyped the ACORN videos, and how we're all watching the dawn of conservative, activist journalism.
The problem, of course, is that Breitbart and his crew don't do journalism. It's more like juvenile, name-calling propaganda. They have no idea how journalism works, no regard for its standards, and don't actually want to practice it. So, voilà! Today we get news that the FBI allegedly caught O'Keefe and his pals were trying to interfere with* a U.S. senator's phone.
On what planet does that qualify as journalism?
It will be interesting to see how Breitbart and his sites deal with O'Keefe's arrest. Even money says Breitbart, forever embracing the right-wing ethos of victimhood, blames the liberal media, or Media Matters, or George Soros. Or somebody. (Was the FBI in on the liberal conspiracy, Andrew?)
And what about Fox News? It paraded O'Keefe around as a hero for his ACORN work. Is Fox News going to touch this arrest story? Is Fox News going to ask any tough questions? (Stop laughing!)
The point is, it's not that big of a leap from being a star of Breitbart's anti-journalism site to being cuffed for allegedly intending to commit a felony. As we've noted before, Breitbart's crew seems to have little or no grasp of the law.
UPDATED: Will Breitbart continue "advertising" O'Keefe's defense fund?
UPDATED: This might not be the best time, but I'll ask anyway: When are Breitbart and O'Keefe going to finally release all the unedited ACORN tapes? Or are they hiding something?
UPDATED: Breitbart told the Washington Independent he didn't have enough information about O'Keefe's arrest to comment.
Um, when did not having enough information ever stop Breitbart in the past?
Andrew Breitbart, the man who first introduced the nation to James O'Keefe on his website BigGovernment, provided his initial reaction to Talking Points Memo on news that O'Keefe and three others were arrested by the FBI in an alleged "plot to wiretap" Sen. Mary Landrieu's office.
"I need to find information on this. I'm out of the loop on this. I will make my determination then on when to comment," Breitbart said.
Politico's Ben Smith posted the FBI agent's affidavit in the alleged plot to interfere with the phones* at Sen. Landrieu's office by O'Keefe and three others to his Twitter account this afternoon. You can read it here (pdf).
From a January 26 Times-Picayune article:
The FBI, alleging a plot to wiretap Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu's office in downtown New Orleans, arrested four people Monday, including James O'Keefe, a conservative filmmaker whose undercover videos at ACORN field offices severely damaged the advocacy group's credibility.
FBI Special Agent Steven Rayes alleges that O'Keefe aided and abetted two others, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, who dressed up as employees of a telephone company and attempted to interfere with the office's telephone system.
A fourth person, Stan Dai, was accused of aiding and abetting Basel and Flanagan. All four were charged with entering fedral property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony.