James O’Keefe

The initial revelations from the “CNN leaks” have generated only a mild buzz at best, but James O’Keefe of Project Veritas insists his battle against establishment media is just beginning, offering a $10,000 reward for any secret recordings of media “malfeasance” and asking for help in combing through the initial 119 hours of the raw audio he already has obtained.

Project Veritas said the audio was secretly recorded in 2009 by an anonymous source inside CNN’s Atlanta headquarters who provided the recordings earlier this month. Another 100 hours or so of CNN audio will be released later, O’Keefe said.

In a video released Thursday that highlighted his initial finds – including comments about global warming, Republicans, Fox News and what it means to be a journalist – O’Keefe also offered cash for hard evidence of “corruption, malfeasance and wrongdoing” by media.

“If you have hidden audio recordings, videotapes or documents inside of a newsroom or media institution, and the material is good enough, I will pay you $10,000,” O’Keefe said.

“This is a kind of new era of journalism where it’s WikiLeaks-style dumping of information that we will continue to do more of,” he said.

O’Keefe, a self-described “guerrilla journalist,” is known for his undercover stings, beginning with ACORN in 2009, which resulted in the dismantling of the community organizing group. Project Veritas conducted several undercover investigations during the presidential campaign last year exposing attempts to manipulate public opinion and voting, including one that showed Democrats discussing vote-rigging, resulting in two Democratic operatives losing their jobs.

On the night of the Nov. 8 election, O’Keefe announced his next target would be the establishment media, which has done little to hide its disdain for Donald Trump.

As president, Trump has continued his offensive on the media, focusing his ire on CNN in particular. He called CNN “fake news” at a Jan. 11 press conference after the network reported on an unverified intelligence dossier. He then upped the ante at his first solo news conference as president, Feb. 16, telling CNN’s Jim Acosta he would now refer to the network as “very fake news.”

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The Washington Post’s Callum Borchers was unimpressed with O’Keefe’s revelations Thursday.

“Maybe there is a bombshell yet to come. Maybe. But the debut of James O’Keefe’s ‘CNN Leaks’ Thursday morning can only be described as underwhelming,” he wrote.

Politico said “what O’Keefe released on Thursday landed with a dull thud in the media world.”

“Though not all the hours of tapes have been made available for review, and damning recordings could still come out, O’Keefe made clear the audio he obtained is from 2009 and for the most part features lower-level staffers at the network.”

James O’Keefe shows what happens when a young citizen journalist challenges some of America’s most powerful and protected organizations. Get his hard-hitting book, “Breakthrough: Our Guerrilla war to Expose Fraud and Save Democracy” – at the WND Superstore!

‘Fundamental role as a journalist’

In the audio released Thursday, Richard T. Griffiths, vice president and senior editorial director at CNN, is heard presenting his approach to journalism to a group of interns.

“What is the fundamental role as a journalist, for us to do? Tell a story, to tell what’s going on, and to aid the afflicted and afflict the comfortable … we try to show the ugly side of humanity so we can do something about it. It’s hard, it’s very hard,” he says.

Reacting to the clip, Ben Collins, an editor at the Daily Beast, tweeted sardonically: “James O’Keefe’s damning CNN leaks show a member of the company’s leadership being an exceedingly decent person and competent journalist.”

Politico noted the phrase “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,” though sometimes attributed to H.L. Mencken, is best known for its use in the 1960 film “Inherit the Wind.” The first known use of the phrase was in 1902, by journalist and humorist Finley Peter Dunne, Poynter reported.

In another secretly recorded conversation, Nicky Robertson, then a CNN assignment desk editor, refers to Fox News as “unbearable.”

O’Keefe also highlighted Joe Sterling, then a news desk editor for CNN’s The Wire, discussing climate change with a colleague.

“I mean, science is pretty much on board and there are a few dissenters … there’s no debate. It’s like born-agains saying there’s a debate over creationism. There is no debate,” he says.

Later, in a statement O’Keefe describes as a demonstration of “blatant media bias against Republicans,” Sterling says: “I’m a little biased. The only spin I think going on is by Republicans. They hate Obama so much. It doesn’t matter what he does. It doesn’t matter what he thinks.”

O’Keefe also featured a recording revealing CNN apparently attempting to misrepresent polling data:

Miss X: “I read a CNN poll that was taken on June 26 and 28th, and I know that the hearing for the case, the fire fighters case was on the 29th, so the poll was done right before it, and those are still the poll results we’re reporting, so I asked someone in DC who does the poll results about why we hadn’t updated it, and said there were a few newer polls from last week and the week before and there’s CBS news polls and a Rasmussen poll, and he said we don’t use Rasmussen, and I said does CNN plan to do another poll if we’re only using that. He said we’re not going to be doing another poll, those are the results we’ll be using. So I don’t see how that’s reporting all sides because that poll said hold for release until Friday the 10th.”

Arthur Brice: “Who did you talk with?”

Miss X: “Paul [CNN’s Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser].”

Arthur Brice: “Yeah, he’s your director. Yeah, he’s pretty high up in the food chain. I agree. I think it’s dishonest to use outdated information if new information shows something that is in variance with what you’re reporting. It’s just, it’s dishonest.”

Another conversation about polling data pertained to Sonia Sotomayor, apparently after she was appointed by President Obama for associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court:

Miss X: “This wasn’t released until two weeks after. So can we say a newly released poll?”

Joe Sterling: “No, you can’t say that. You can’t say that at all. This isn’t a newly released.”

Miss X: “But it says newly released on Friday.”

Joe Sterling: “I know, how did we write about this? Did we write a wire about this? “I don’t think we stand to change how people think of her [Sotomayor]. Geez, I mean if someone picked this up it’s not going to change – it’s not going to change anybody’s opinion.”

Rigging elections

O’Keefe and Project Veritas have focused on election fraud in recent years.

Last October, a Democratic activist confessed to Project Veritas undercover investigators his party has been rigging elections “for 50 years” and wasn’t likely to stop.

As WND reported during the 2012 election, Project Veritas conducted a series of investigations in more than a dozen states “demonstrating the ease with which election fraud can be committed and legitimate voters can be disenfranchised.”

A video sting first reported by WND that year prompted the resignation of Democratic campaign staffer Patrick Moran, the son of Rep. Jim Moran, and a criminal investigation.

WND also reported O’Keefe’s team captured on video a regional director of the voter mobilization group launched by Barack Obama, Organizing for America, helping an undercover reporter vote for the president in two states. The director was fired after the video was reported.

Project Veritas efforts in Texas, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut showed Obama campaign workers, including Organizing for America Regional Field Director Stephanie Caballero, helping people who declared they wanted to commit election fraud. Caballero was fired shortly after the Project Veritas video was released.

Also in 2012, a Project Veritas investigator was offered the ballot of Attorney General Eric Holder at a polling place.

Related story:

Secret audio shows CNN’s intent to mislead

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