Conservatives respond to alleged O'Keefe seduction "prank"


Conservative media figures have begun to speak out about CNN's report that James O'Keefe planned to "seduce" and publicly humiliate CNN reporter Abbie Bourdeau. A number of conservatives have condemned O'Keefe, while Tim Graham of NewsBusters used the story as an opportunity to attack CNN.

Boudreau details alleged O'Keefe plan to "seduce me on his boat"

In an article posted at, investigative reporter Abbie Bourdeau said that she learned that O'Keefe planned to lure her aboard a boat he called his "pleasure palace," where he would secretly record his attempts to "hit on her" with props including a "condom jar," Viagra, pornography, a ceiling mirror, and "fuzzy handcuffs." Boudreau reported that a document she obtained explained the motivation: "The joke is that the tables have turned on CNN. Using hot blondes to seduce interviewees to get screwed on television, you are faux seducing her in order to screw her on television."

Right-wing media reacts to allegations against O'Keefe

Newsbusters' Tim Graham attacks Boudreau and CNN. In a post to his Twitter account, Media Research Center director of media analysis Tim Graham responded to several Twitter posts about Boudreau's allegations that were posted by CNN's Howard Kurtz. Graham wrote: "Obvious question for @howardkurtz: CNN 'investigates' and exposes young conservatives, but just celebrates transgenders and gay parenting?" In separate posts to his Twitter account, Graham wrote: "Abbie Boudreau fails to 'reveal' Joe Biden in CNN 2008 special" and "CNN's Abbie Boudreau twisted 'Sarah Palin's Road to Nowhere' in 2008."

MRC's Bozell: O'Keefe's "attempted assault" is "ugly, dishonest, and filthy." L. Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, said in a September 29 statement: "There is no place in the conservative movement for this type of behavior." He added: "We want nothing to do with O'Keefe or his dirty antics." Graham subsequently posted a link to his Bozell's statement on his Twitter account.

Ace of Spades: "I am guessing that by 'seduce' [O'Keefe] was joking." If not, O'Keefe's actions were "weird." In a post dated September 29, blogger Ace of Spades wrote, "I am guessing that by 'seduce' he was joking. She wanted the story 'James O'Keefe is a weirdo' so he was going to deliver that, playing a sexual deviant, let her run her story, and then reveal it was all a prank." The post concluded: "If it turns out he did really mean to seduce her, well, that's weird, and I'll eat my words But I think he just meant to be silly.

Confederate Yankee: "James O'Keefe's latest stunt is very creepy." In a September 29 post to his Twitter account conservative blogger "Confederate Yankee" Bob Owens, wrote: "FWIW, yeah, I think James O'Keefe's latest stunt is very creepy. It solidifies my opinion that his real concern is self-promotion."

Conservative columnist S.E. Cupp: O'Keefe's alleged plan is "disgusting." Conservative columnist and frequent Fox News commentator S.E. Cupp wrote on her Twitter account: "Disgusting. RT @HowardKurtz Whoa! James O'Keefe tried to lure CNN's Abbie Bourdreau onto boat filled w/sex props."

Conservative commentator Matt Lewis: O'Keefe is "desperate for fame and attention." In a post on, columnist Matt Lewis wrote that O'Keefe's alleged plan indicated that he "doesn't know when to get off-stage" and is "desperate for fame and attention." Lewis continued:

On one hand, it's hard not to admire his moxie. And one must give him credit for creativity. Clearly, in his mind, O'Keefe is attempting to appropriate the techniques of Sasha Baron Cohen and apply them to advancing his notion of conservatism (which appears to be focused primarily on pointing out hypocrisy within the Democratic Party and the national media).

The problem, of course, is that while O'Keefe brings youth and excitement to the table, he lacks wisdom. What is really needed here is some adult supervision to properly channel this energy into a productive cause. Conservatism can be stodgy and boring, and so there is a need for young activists who can inject energy into it. My guess is that this thirst has caused some conservatives to be too lenient when it comes to tolerating some of the amateurish actions of O'Keefe and his ilk.

Sadly, O'Keefe's insistence on continuing his weird brand of performance art has probably cost him his chance to be considered the 21st-century version of Paul Weyrich or Phyllis Schlafly. Instead, he seems more and more likely to be cast as the conservative version of The Merry Pranksters.

James O'Keefe
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