The Right Wing’s Journalist Pipeline and the Downfall of James O’Keefe

Some might argue James O’Keefe, the young man who posed as a pimp to embarrass ACORN, is the conservative answer to The Yes Men. Now, he and a group of fellow former college newspaper editors are up on felony charges for attempting to tamper with Senator Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) phone system.

The Washington Independent took a deeper look this morning at O’Keefe’s origins as a perpetrator of publicity stunts, and as a young journalist, revealing a split between those who believe in his brand of “hacktivism” versus those who follow the feeder system from campus newspapers to jobs at right wing and libertarian publications.

While some follow the path to careers at publications like the National Review, American Spectator, and the Weekly Standard, the article also notes that a handful of O’Keefe’s contemporaries have also accepted jobs at Berman & Company, including Sarah Longwell. Longwell gave O’Keefe and many other college students small grants to support conservative college newspapers while working for the Collegiate Network.

B&C is the public affairs firm run by Rick Berman, the man labeled “Dr. Evil” by 60 Minutes for his work on behalf of anti-union, and anti-regulation interests.

While the Collegiate Network continues to help out “smart contrarians,” O’Keefe–though celebrated by those very newspapers–is creating problems for the feeder system. According to Longwell, “for every James O’Keefe, there are 50 serious journalists coming out of these programs.”