And its leader says Donald Trump’s victory strikes a huge blow to the power of the mainstream media and scores a big win for citizen journalism.
In a statement released Thursday, Project Veritas Founder and President James O’Keefe declared the media among the biggest losers of this election cycle.
“Perhaps the most stunning admission of last night was the power shift in this country. It was deeply moving to see what citizens can do despite the overwhelming forces working them against them. It isn’t the politicians, not the established press, not the lobbyists or the pundits, but the PEOPLE, that have the power now,” said O’Keefe.
In a subsequent interview Friday with WND, O’Keefe says dethroning the mainstream media may be the most significant outcome of his efforts this year.
“I think just what it means for our media landscape, to have broken these stories and have done so in the way it was done, being covered eventually by these organizations and having high-level people resign. These people were close to the president and close to Hillary,” said O’Keefe.
He says the mainstream media initially tried to ignore the Project Veritas stories, but the grassroots activists would not be denied.
“Brian Stelter of CNN, the media ‘Reliable Sources’ guy was saying, ‘Well, we have an audience of 1.25 million people.’ Me and my fellow citizens were tweeting back at Brian, ‘Fifteen million people have viewed those YouTube videos. We got 57 million Twitter impressions in seven days. We were the number one trending thing during the presidential debate,'” said O’Keefe.
While the media did eventually cover some of the videos, O’Keefe is especially gratified by the end run around the mainstream press after years of them casting him as a villain.
Listen to the interview:
“I’ve been in the trenches in the media. I’ve been fighting these people for years. They’ve been lying about me and people like me. They’ve been celebrating when the government tries to prosecute me for things I didn’t even do. So I’ve been through this battle for years and years and years,” said O’Keefe.
At one point Twitter suspended his account over one of the Project Veritas videos, but a legion of allies quickly got his access restored.
“The people sent 30,000 emails to Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, and then they reinstated me,” said O’Keefe.
O’Keefe believes social media is the key to making sure important stories reach the public when the mainstream media will not touch them. While vocal liberals like Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Dorsey run those sites, O’Keefe says any efforts to censor him always end up backfiring.
“They can’t retaliate without that retaliation being itself a big story. They’ve done it to Milo Yiannapoulos. He’s sort of a right-wing rabble-rouser, an Alt-Right guy. They kicked him off but they just made him more famous. It doesn’t work because it just enhances the platform,” said O’Keefe.
He says his own experience of being targeted by Twitter proves the point.
“I had 60,000 followers. Now I’m at 220 (thousand) in the course of 30 days. They try to shut you down but they only give you a platform because the citizens go, ‘What is he saying that they want to ban?'” said O’Keefe.
O’Keefe believes the American voters were responding less to the person of Donald Trump in this election than they were rebelling against a dishonest media and political system.
“Trump was a symptom of something much greater than Trump. Trump is a representation of a power shift and it is all about the media, because the media lost all credibility in my opinion. Everything they’ve said has been wrong,” said O’Keefe.
“Will they admit they’ve been wrong? I don’t think so. But I think many people in this country are going to think to themselves, ‘I don’t trust them anymore,'” he added.
The last Project Veritas videos many saw were of O’Keefe on the lookout for voter fraud in Philadelphia on Election Day. He says what he and his colleagues saw was blatantly illegal.
“We were in North Philadelphia going from poll to poll. We would walk in there and we would see election judges quite literally say – this is on video it’s on YouTube. They were saying, ‘Vote for Hillary.’ These were election judges. That is a felony. You can’t do that,” said O’Keefe.
“You can’t electioneer. You can’t give people sample ballots literally at the place where you vote. You can’t do that. But these people were doing it and they were doing it in spades,” said O’Keefe.
Project Veritas also reported on election official in parts of Chicago forbidding Republican poll watchers from being present, another violation of the law.
Yet when the videos were posted, O’Keefe says the mainstream media directed its outrage at him.
“Everyone in the mainstream media was attacking me on Tuesday of this week, saying that I’m trying to intimidate voters for doing my job as a journalist. It’s not just about the fraud we expose…it’s that the media machine is attacking me and the local district attorney in Philadelphia is being told by all these people, ‘Prosecute O’Keefe,””he said.
It’s that kind of blatant bias, he says, that the American people have rejected in this election.
“This is reason why Trump is the president of the United States, because many large numbers of people in this country look at that whole paradigm and say, ‘I don’t want to live in that country. I don’t want to live in that world. I don’t want to live in a world where they play identity politics and attack the little guy and put citizen journalists in jail and censor people,'” said O’Keefe.
“This is what it means. It is a power shift and it is historic,” said O’Keefe.
And what’s next for O’Keefe and Project Veritas?
“I’m going to take a week and I’m going to sleep because my adrenaline has been running so hard for the last 30 days that my body is about to shut down,” said O’Keefe.
“In the next few days, you’re going to see some more aftermath and then my team and I will get about a week or two of rest. And then we’ll start the next step of our journey,” he said.