Project Veritas president James O’Keefe—whose organization was humiliated Monday when it botched a “sting” operation against the Washington Post—will speak as a purveyor of “real news” at Southern Methodist University on Wednesday, the Dallas Morning News reports.
According to the Washington Post, Project Veritas dispatched a woman who offered reporters a false story about GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore impregnating her when she was a teen. The Post’s rigorous fact-checking process noted numerous inconsistencies in the woman’s story, and eventually connected her with O’Keefe’s organization.
O’Keefe was booked by the SMU Young Americans for Freedom, a conservative group that booked the controversial conservative activist before Monday’s Washington Post expose. In a statement Tuesday, the group defended its decision to host O’Keefe.
"SMU Young Americans for Freedom invited Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe to speak at SMU because his experience in investigative journalism and holding organizations and media outlets accountable makes him noteworthy,” the group said. “Among the goals of Young Americans for Freedom is seeking to provide the SMU community with opportunities to hear from relevant individuals about important topics in political and civil discourse. We view this event as a platform for our peers and Dallas community members to engage in first-hand dialogue with Mr. O’Keefe by hearing his perspective directly, and, if they desire, asking him challenging questions during the Q&A session.”
“In what manner Mr. O’Keefe chooses to engage in his work at Project Veritas is up to him,” the group continued.”SMU YAF invited him to speak to provide our community an opportunity to hear and respond to his perspective. We look forward to an open, robust exchange of ideas at our event tomorrow evening."
As Dallas News reports, previous advertisements for the event praised O’Keefe as a source of “real news.”
"In a time fraught with fake news, come hear from a man seeking to bring Truth to light," an SMU Young Americans for Freedom Facebook post read.
The groups founding chairman Grant Wolf likewise argued O’Keefe “has made some valuable contributions to journalism.”
"Despite the fact that what came out yesterday might be dubious, some of Mr. O'Keefe's work in the past has been noteworthy," Wolf told Dallas News.
In a statement, SMU backed the group’s right to host O’Keefe.
"This speaker was invited to campus by a student organization, and we respect our students' right to do so," the statement said. ”Please do not misinterpret our support for that freedom as an indication of official University agreement on any particular issue."