We followed the heroics of James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles exposing the shady nature of ACORN last year. Yesterday O’Keefe was arrested and charged with three other young men for plotting to tamper with the telephone system in the New Orleans office of Senator Mary Landrieu. What gives? O’Keefe commented to reporters: “The truth shall set me free.”
My friend Andrew Breitbart worked with O’Keefe and Giles to publicize their videos. I wondered if Andrew would have any comment on O’Keefe’s arrest yesterday. He has posted the following comment:
“We have no knowledge about or connection to any alleged acts and events involving James O’Keefe at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office. 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.”
I spoke briefly with New York Times reporter Jim Rutenberg about the story yesterday. My comments appear in the Times story “4 arrested in phone tampering at Landrieu office.” I told Rutenberg that I was still trying to figure out what the Watergate break-in was all about and that I didn’t have a clue what O’Keefe et al. were up to. Rutenberg let me get in this observation: “I thought the set of capers regarding Acorn was a kind of ’60 Minutes’ undercover-exposé — going where ’60 Minutes’ fears to tread.”
In our conversation Rutenberg mentioned that he had helped the Times cover Rathergate. He said he had initially been incredulous that the blogs had exposed the 60 Minutes II story as a fraud. In retrospect, he acknowledged that he found the contribution of the blogs to the exposure of Rathergate to be a seminal journalistic moment. (He said it better than that and said I could quote him on it, but I am writing from memory.) A week after the 60 Minutes II broadcast, Jim contributed reporting to the Times’s classic modified, limited hangout on Rathergate: “Memos on Bush are fake but accurate, typist says.”
UPDATE: Kathryn Lopez quotes Andrew going beyond his statement above here. Despite my facetious reference to Watergate above, I should emphasize (as Andrew does) that there is no allegation O’Keefe et al. were attempting to place a wiretap on Landrieu’s phone.