James O'Keefe's CNN leaks are a total bust

James O'Keefe's CNN leaks are a total bust
Source: AP
Source: AP

James O'Keefe — the conservative activist whose mission is to take down so-called "liberal" groups with secretly recorded video — leaked more than 100 hours of secretly recorded audio from within CNN in an effort to expose the news organization's "liberal bias."

But O'Keefe over-promised and under-delivered with his latest project, revealing that the audio captured from within CNN is nearly eight years old.

The "malfeasance" he exposed included a discussion over how to cover a poll about now-Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor during her confirmation process, as well as a CNN vice president discussing the role of a journalist.

O'Keefe also posted a CNN assignment editor complaining about Fox News, calling it "unbearable" and "horrible." 

However a reporter complaining about another news outlet's coverage is nothing new, much less scandalous. 

With little to show for his latest project, O'Keefe announced the leak with a plea for others to come forward with more leaks that show "media malfeasance," and offered a reward for any information that proves that point.

"We want to become a destination where citizen journalists can come forward, work with us and make a real impact. That's why today, we're announcing a $10,000 award for anyone that comes forward with legally obtained materials exposing media malfeasance," O'Keefe said in a release. "If you have hidden audio recordings, video tapes or documents inside of a news room or media institution — and the material is good enough — I will pay you $10,000."

O'Keefe hyped his latest project on Twitter on Wednesday, posting an image of him editing the leaks with the caption "Tomorrow."

But when he failed to deliver, O'Keefe was roundly mocked.

"James O'Keefe's damning CNN leaks show a member of the company's leadership being an exceedingly decent person and competent journalist," Ben Collins, an editor at the Daily Beast, tweeted.

O'Keefe's claim to fame is a 2009 leak of recordings from ACORN, a group that sought to help low-income people register to vote, among other things. The leak led ACORN to lose its federal funding.

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Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com

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