O’Keefe ‘Race and Conservatism’ Updates

Andrew Breitbart has turned his “Big Journalism” website into an amazingly lengthy tirade demanding “retractions” from practically every media organization in America, for writing about the Max Blumenthal-One People’s Project report that claimed ACORN sting filmmaker James O’Keefe was photographed at a “white supremacist forum” in 2006.

There have been some developments in the story; David Weigel of the Washington Independent, who was at the same event as a reporter, walked back his first statement that he could “confirm all the details” about the story, and has posted an update here explaining which details he could not confirm: Clarification — and Mea Culpa — on James O’Keefe and ‘Race and Conservatism’.

Among some less important points, there are three key details from the Blumenthal-One People’s Project story Weigel now says he does not confirm: 1) that O’Keefe was manning a table of racist literature; 2) that the event was a white nationalist conference (Weigel now describes it as a debate); and 3) that O’Keefe was an organizer of the event (he wasn’t).

(Note that the veracity of the first claim, that O’Keefe was manning a table with literature from white nationalist groups, has not been decided either way. O’Keefe says it isn’t true, but One People’s Project hasn’t retracted it. More on this below.)

In the interest of accuracy, I need to respond to one point Weigel makes in this post about the story: Conservative Media Mogul Plays Defense on Racism Story.

The article trafficked around the web at a moderate pace. Because I attended the event, I wrote about it, and the Blumenthal story, here. Soon, other websites grabbed onto the story and added unsupportable spin. Little Green Footballs, whose editor Charles Johnson has made a splashy departure from the right, linked to the revelation about what he called a “white nationalist conference.”

That’s not an accurate description of what I wrote, and saying I “called” the event a white nationalist conference is not true. Here are my exact words:

According to a group called “One People’s Project,” ACORN sting filmmaker James O’Keefe was photographed attending a 2006 white nationalist conference titled “Race and Conservatism.”

It’s very clear that I attributed the “white nationalist conference” claim to One People’s Project; that’s what the words “according to” mean. And that’s exactly what the claim is at the One People’s Project page that started all this: HEY JAMES O’KEEFE, ABOUT THAT WHITE RACIST FORUM YOU ATTENDED IN 2006…

Interesting what could have been - or not have been - had we caught this four years ago. Back then, there was this white supremacist forum that we had called attention to and eventually attended…

So I do not agree with Weigel that I added an “unsupportable spin” to the story. I correctly attributed and reported the statement.

More importantly, it’s now incumbent on One People’s Project to put up the goods if they have them. They should release an uncropped version of the picture they said shows O’Keefe manning a table of racist literature, or they should retract that claim because they can’t prove it.

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Last updated: 2021-06-05 2:51 pm PDT
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