James O’Keefe laughed out of journalism school

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, November 10, 2011 12:43 EDT
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Right-wing media prankster James O'Keefe, caught on camera as one of his stunts fails miserably. Photo: Sree Sreenivasan, Twitter.
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Right-wing media darling James O’Keefe, whose deceptive pranks have caused serious harm to organizations such as ACORN and National Public Radio, found himself on the other side of the stick this week during a visit to Columbia University’s school of journalism.

O’Keefe was ostensibly pursuing his latest project: trying to catch journalists doing … things.

His most recent hits included a video of a journalism professor revealing that Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein sometimes has conversations in bars, and a “scoop” about a New York University professor who plans on voting for President Barack Obama in 2012.

For his latest stunt, the media prankster found himself at Columbia University’s journalism school with cameras rolling, angling to confront a professor about a colleague who’d cursed O’Keefe out in an email, calling him a “shithead” and closing, “Fuck you, man. Bring it on.”

Instead of an apoplectic reaction at the prankster’s amazing journalism skills, Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia Journalism School’s dean of students, turned on a camera and began questioning O’Keefe.

“Why didn’t you dress like you were in some of your other videos?” Sreenivasan asked, referencing the first deceptive video O’Keefe produced that catapulted him onto Fox News. Another cameraman in the room began laughing, at this point.

(For the uninitiated: O’Keefe previously pretended to be a “pimp” while confronting ACORN workers, although it was later revealed that he didn’t actually wear the costume in front of his victims, opting to edit that part in later.)

O’Keefe retorted, asking Sreenivasan if he stood behind the email sent by fellow Columbia professor Dale Maharidge.

“I don’t defend everything all my colleagues do, and I don’t read or get involved with everybody,” Sreivasan replied. “But I would love to see you in your other outfits. What else do you wear?”

“Many different costumes,” O’Keefe replied, looking very uncomfortable. “So, this is great.”

“After he was done with me, I should have kept rolling, because they get to the exit and find they can’t open it,” Sreivasan later wrote on Twitter. “He says, ‘Have they locked us in?’ Turns out they were pulling the door instead of pushing it.”

Photo: Sree Sreenivasan, Twitpic.

(H/T: Gawker)

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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