If you missed Dave Neiwert's post on the disgusting, odious O'Keefe, go read it first. What drives me wild about this story is the disgusting, cynical attitude this young "filmmaker" has toward women, and how often I see it among other
September 29, 2010

If you missed Dave Neiwert's post on the disgusting, odious O'Keefe, go read it first. What drives me wild about this story is the disgusting, cynical attitude this young "filmmaker" has toward women, and how often I see it among other conservatives, even conservative women.

Check out O'Keefe's description of his little "prank" which is no prank at all, but a dangerous and violent assault on a young woman simply doing her job:

Instead, I've decided to have a little fun. Instead of giving her a serious interview, I'm going to punk CNN. Abbie has been trying to seduce me to use me, in order to spin a lie about me. So, I'm going to seduce her, on camera, to use her for a video. This bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who comes on at five will get a taste of her own medicine, she'll get seduced on camera and you'll get to see the awkwardness and the aftermath.

My first thought after reading this plan was that James O'Keefe has some strange reading material. I shudder to think what his video consumption is. But deeper than that -- far deeper -- is his cynical, ugly attitude about women. This is a guy who strikes me as someone who doesn't have the first clue about what women are really about, and certainly has no respect for them. In the 80's he would have been the lounge lizard hitting on every woman in the room while harboring fantasies about taking three of them home at once. He's someone who has no problem lying to anyone and everyone who challenges him.

He's the date rapist type you're glad you never encountered when you were single.

As Erin Kotecki-Vest, also known as QueenofSpain points out, this is not in any way, shape or form, investigative journalism:

O'Keefe calls himself a journalist. He thinks THIS Is what 'investigative' journalism is like. That's what kills me. Investigative journalism isn't a 'set-up' though, it's research. His research is sexual harassment and idiocy. 


Erin has more than a little credibility in this area, given that she's a recipient of the Golden Mic award for investigative journalism. In an email she pointed out that she won that Golden Mic through research and hard work, not baiting and sexual harassment. Her bra size didn't have a single thing to do with it. 

As incredibly stupid as his idiotic plan was, it should also offend any woman who has ever had to overcome her looks to be taken seriously in her chosen profession. 

From Abbie's heartbreakingly familiar statement:

As a woman in the news industry you have to be tough. I have always had to work harder than my male counterparts to be taken seriously and to be treated with respect. As a woman in the news industry you have to ignore all of the silly talk from your managers about the clothes you should wear on-air or what color your hair should be. I have had my share of conversations like that, and to be honest, it stings. I'm left wondering, "When will my work stand on its own? Why does this always have to be part of the conversation?

PunditMom (Joanne) had this comment:

When I was a young thing in TV news in the late 70s and early 80s (think Anchorman, except I wasn't as attractive as Christina Applegate!), the exact same things were going on. I had a chance to meet a well-known woman network TV journo who told me then -- you just have to suck it up and ignore it.   How many generations have we officially had since 1978?  As long as men run things, this will never change -- and even then it won't change, but if women run things, we can fire their asses!

This conversation has gone on and on and on. It never changes. There will always be someone who attacks the way people look or conversely, exploits the way they look. One of O'Keefe's champions, Dana Loesch, just spent an inordinate amount of time on Twitter attacking women she has political differences with on the basis of how they look! This boggles my mind. As a member of the human race, I believe there are some lines you just don't need to cross. I can disagree with all my mind, heart and soul with someone politically and still not care about looks. Is Rachel Maddow less effective because she doesn't fit the "traditional woman" TV mold? I think not. As Adam says:

But Loesch doesn't just get her story wrong, she reveals herself as supporting exactly what most of the feminist movement (both liberal and conservative) has been working to combat for a long time: she appears to think that womens' looks should be used against them in political discourse, and she repeatedly attacks other women based on their looks while implying that this says something about their moral worth. As I've documented, Loesch has a history of this: she previously said that women at Emily's List had "hair lips" and were jealous of Palin, and she suggested that those criticizing her were like "chicks who pad their bras."

Is this a conservative thing, this cynicism about how looks define the person or their politics? There should be some issues that define us as humans, not conservatives or liberals. My grandmother and my mother dealt with the same kinds of criticism as Boudreau in their work lives. I spent the first 10 years of my career learning how to dodge drunk salesmen at company open bar parties, while fighting off rumor after rumor after rumor about who I was screwing at any given time. My daughter will be in the workforce in another 10 years. Will we still be having this conversation then?

Via the #journchat tag on Twitter, I found this great post by Jessica Malnik. The title alone is worth its weight in gold: Stop "Barbie-tizing" The Newsroom!

Barbies, like “journalism barbie,” promote stereotypes and essentially make a mockery about women’s career choices. Subconsciously, it is invoking in little girls that women are supposed to be “well-dressed sex symbols” in the newsroom. Think about it. Journalism barbie is presumably a TV anchor, who is super-skinny and wearing tons of makeup and what can only be described as a shiny pink velvet suit.

TV anchors, well at least good anchors, are some of the hardest working journalists out there. As someone who has worked in TV news, I can attest that a lot of hard work goes into a TV newscast.

Because yes, there really *is* a Journalism Barbie. Holy God, what have we been fighting for all these years? 

James O'Keefe is detestable. His plan was cynical, sexist, and abusive, and exposed by a woman who worked for him, who was offended beyond her political beliefs. She was offended as a member of the human race. She knew it wasn't right, and she tipped off Boudreau. For her courage, she lost her job, while O'Keefe keeps his. What a message that sends.

Grow up. Grow up, conservatives. Quit putting frat boy College Republicans with idiotic seduction sting plans up as legitimate reporters while marginalizing real reporters with real talent and a real desire to do investigative journalism.  

And yes, quit defining women on the basis of their bra size, their hair color and their looks. Blondes are not bimbos. Liberals are not all flat-chested (I'm looking at YOU, Dana Loesch). The only thing that matters here is what's between their ears. Are we ever going to get to a point where women are respected for what they DO, rather than how they LOOK?

One last word of advice for CNN: Framing these idiots as some form of "guerilla journalist" group lends them legitimacy they do not deserve. Call O'Keefe what he is -- a sexual predator. Calling this a "prank" marginalizes the deleterious effect this kind of cheap, sleazy tabloid effort has on our political discourse. It's no more or less classy than putting a guy on as a serious commentator who once called a Supreme Court justice a "goatf*cking child molester."

There is no reason to give them anything close to legitimate standing. If you care about Abbie Boudreau and value her as your employee, you will call O'Keefe's effort an attempted rape and his video operation a fraud and a farce. Anything less does a disservice to your reporter.

Cross-posted from MOMocrats.com

Can you help us out?

For nearly 20 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.