Simply terrific blog post today by Charles Seife, Journalism Professor at NYU.
Journalists are stubborn creatures by nature. I'm no different. Deny me information that I'm entitled to, and I won't let go. It doesn't matter if you're a nonprofit organization or an Obama-administration government agency, I'll fight. So I took the next logical step to put pressure on Project Veritas -- I filed a complaint with the IRS, telling them that Project Veritas wasn't playing by the disclosure rules. Either that, or Project Veritas wasn't really a nonprofit.What happens next? O'Keefe repays the professor for his professional courtesy by making him the target of one of his undercover sting operations.
That got them talking. I called that morning to tell them that I had filed a complaint, and the woman I got on the phone was, surprisingly, quite cooperative. I put my request in writing, and after a string of e-mails, she admitted that application for nonprofit status had been filed, but it had not yet been approved. Contrary to what the website said, Project Veritas was not a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and donations were, as a result, not tax-deductible. James O'Keefe had apparently committed an illegal act that could have caused donors unwittingly to make false claims on their taxes.
I finally had my answer. James O'Keefe was apparently breaking the law. So did I contact my friends in the liberal elite press establishment to try to make it a huge story? I could have gone to Romenesko, or sent it to my colleagues on major papers around the country. But I didn't.
The operation was a failure. O'Keefe never released the footage. Presumably, I was so inoffensive that even O'Keefe couldn't use his signature style of creative editing to turn my utterances into something incriminating. Worse yet for O'Keefe, [Nadia, the infiltrator] left the project in disgust. It seems that Nadia finally realized that O'Keefe had used her not to expose a far-left, elite, racist professor but instead to pursue a very personal vendetta against someone who dared point out that he was apparently breaking the law. Nadia's defection brings into stark relief what O'Keefe so sorely lacks: the very same moral sense that is essential to good journalism.There is more about how Seife uses the whole experience as part of his coursework now. Read it all, it really is terrific, and will make you glad that you associate with the people who are on the right side of such issues, rather than lying down with dogs like O'Keefe.
UPDATE: Thanks to darthstar for alerting me to the fact that Nadia (the infiltrator) has also blogged about this incident. You can read it here: http://nadianaffe.com/...