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James O’Keefe talks guerilla journalism to CSULB students

The force behind Project Veritas detailed his method of muckraking journalism to an audience of over 100.

James+O%27Keefe+speaks+to+students+in+the+Beach+Auditorium+on+Monday+night.+The+event%2C+sponsored+by+political+group%2C+Turning+Point+USA+%2C+brought+out+over+100+students.
James O'Keefe speaks to students in the Beach Auditorium on Monday night. The event, sponsored by political group, Turning Point USA , brought out over 100 students.

James O'Keefe speaks to students in the Beach Auditorium on Monday night. The event, sponsored by political group, Turning Point USA , brought out over 100 students.

Hunter Lee | Daily 49er

Hunter Lee | Daily 49er

James O'Keefe speaks to students in the Beach Auditorium on Monday night. The event, sponsored by political group, Turning Point USA , brought out over 100 students.

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Journalist James O’Keefe greeted a Beach Auditorium full of students and faculty by quoting Kanye West, thanking the audience for their “dragon energy.”

This term was introduced by West via Twitter on Wednesday, in which he tweeted: “You don’t have to agree with [President Donald] Trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother.”

Members of the audience gripped copies of the author’s autobiography “American Pravda” and listened intently while the guerilla journalist elaborated on the topic of his work and his efforts to reveal systemic fraud, waste and hypocrisy by creating a “renaissance of investigative journalism.” Additionally, he shared the work that his website, Project Veritas, a nonprofit launched in 2010.

While O’Keefe’s methods of what he calls guerilla journalism have been questioned and, at times, scorned by media sources, he retains that the techniques journalists of today find controversial, were commonly used by journalists throughout the Progressive Era of the 20th century. This was known as “muckraking,” or digging into established institutions of power in order to reveal corruption, falsity and fraud to the public.

The event was hosted by Cal State Long Beach’s chapter of Turning Point USA, an organization which advocates for fiscal responsibility and small government on a federal level. The event attracted a turnout of over 100 students Monday night.

The crowd was amicable and their attention piqued as O’Keefe detailed stories Project Veritas broke in the last couple of years.

O’Keefe has targeted mainstream media organizations and sites such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now and Planned Parenthood by producing undercover exposès intended to reveal the “hypocrisy” of the institutions in power. While his method of investigative journalism has come under fire by various popular news outlets, O’Keefe retained that, “sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

“We do guerilla journalism because we believe that the press is lying to you,” O’Keefe said. “The only way to expose the truth is to dig deep.”

The speaker “digs deep” by disguising himself in a variety of costumes, suiting himself up with lapel microphones and cameras and infiltrating public sectors. He then uploads his findings to social media accounts and the Project Veritas’ website.

O’Keefe’s process has been criticized for approaching sources while disguising his identity, not disclosing his identity to the source and heavily editing the footage he records before sharing it with his audience.

“Citizen journalism is not easy,” O’Keefe said. “You have to overcome obstacles, you have to face powerful institutions. But it’s not just me. We’re out there like germs, penetrating deep-state organizations, media organizations [and] voter fraud.”

As a self-described “First Amendment Extremist,” O’Keefe elaborated on the state of university campuses in relation to free speech. During his time at Rutgers University, O’Keefe founded The Centurion, a conservative student-led magazine which served to counteract the perceived liberal slant of the college and its educators.

As Editor in Chief of The Centurion, O’Keefe said his undercover effort to ban Lucky Charms from Bowser Dining Hall put the publication on the map. O’Keefe said he engaged this story in an attempt to point out the ludicrous nature of some freedom of speech codes on university campuses.

“I’m Irish American, I’m 6’1…do I look like the little guy on the Lucky Charms box?” O’Keefe said. “As James O’Keefe, can I say [that] you gotta remove Lucky Charms, they’re racist. It offends campus hate speech codes.”

O’Keefe met and filmed his interaction with the dining hall dean, where he adopted the role of an Irish student and said that he felt the university should ban Lucky Charms because the leprechaun on the box, Lucky, was a racist caricature of an Irish person. While O’Keefe went to school, he viewed these hate speech codes as ironic and became troubled over the state of the First Amendment on public university campuses.

“Much has happened in the last 12 years,” O’Keefe said. “Nowadays it used to be ironic, but now [suppression of First Amendment rights is] a political reality on campus. It’s gotten so bad, it’s gotten so outrageous, that there are probably some people in this room who feel like people shouldn’t have a First Amendment right.”

The journalist encouraged students to dig deep in order to find their own answers, challenging the audience to not accept their reality at face value, but to question the information we know by filming the truth and showing it to the world.

5 Comments

5 Responses to “James O’Keefe talks guerilla journalism to CSULB students”

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  3. spicy dildo on May 13th, 2018 11:32 pm

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  4. kekistani on May 8th, 2018 6:41 pm

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