“James, do whatever you want to do.”


That’s how NYU Journalism professor Jay Rosen responded to James O’Keefe in 2011. Given the context, it seemed an appropriate response.

Personally, I was a little annoyed by the timing: My article on O’Keefe and fellow right-wing pseudo-journalist Andrew Breitbart was already complete and ‘typeset’ for News with a View: Essays on the Eclipse of Objectivity in Modern Journalism edited by Burton Saint John and Kirsten Johnson. It was too late to change it. The book, with my essay “The Pride and Reward of Falsification: Post-Objectivity as Post-Responsibility,” would appear a few months later.

It seemed to me at the time that O’Keefe had no future. He and Breitbart (who died in 2012) had been so openly skewered as media manipulators that no one could take them seriously.

Apparently, I wasn’t reading my own article carefully enough. The fact of being a fraud is irrelevant to O’Keefe (as it was to…

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