Why Is It So Easy for Lila Rose and James O’Keefe?

Lila Rose and James O’Keefe are young. Very young. So young that they probably have no memory of the glories of the hair-band era, never looked to Alex P. Keaton as young conservative role model, and never saw the greatest science-fiction movie in history on the big screen. But take a look at what they’ve accomplished in their few, short adult years. With creativity, initiative, a serious dose of moxie, and minimal investment in cheap technology, they’ve been instrumental in — among other things — shaming Planned Parenthood and providing a huge boost to the effort to defund America’s primary abortion mill (Lila), defunding ACORN (James and Hannah Giles), and now shaming NPR and claiming the jobs of its senior executives (James).  

And it hasn’t even been that difficult. Indeed, as Lila has noted before, she obtained horrifying footage in the first two Planned Parenthood clinics she visited. She didn’t visit dozens and then find the one or two willing to violate the law. The legal violations were the rule rather than the exception. The same thing applied to James and Hannah’s ACORN sting.

Of course, many of these initial efforts involved lower-level employees, and one might argue that they didn’t have the sophistication to handle such nefarious young conservatives, but even the lowest-level employees should know the basic legal standards that govern their jobs. And James O’Keefe’s latest sting involves a senior executive at an organization in the heart of America’s cultural elite, and that executive seemed all too willing to engage in a rant that you’re more likely to hear from a hired union thug or a participant in a college drum circle than from someone who (allegedly) pays close attention to political and cultural trends.

Why has this been so easy?  Because until now Planned Parenthood, ACORN, and NPR have not experienced real media accountability or real journalistic scrutiny — at least not to the extent that conservative politicians and organizations do. The mainstream media (and NPR is obviously part of the MSM) is sympathetic to their goals and purposes, and reporter calls tend to come from friendly voices seeking talking points rather than skeptical reporters demanding answers. In the MSM’s eyes, those organizations were the good guys, part of the home team. So millions upon millions of public dollars flow into their treasuries, while they bask in the goodwill of the cultural establishment. Thus, they enjoy the casual confidence and sometimes-startling honesty that comes when one feels they’re “among friends.” They fall for the crudest of tricks and don’t bat an eye at the incongruity of slamming the alleged intolerance of Christian conservatives while courting funding from self-described members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

And they commit Kinsley gaffe after Kinsley gaffe, telling their own ugly truths as their goodwill drains away.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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