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Here is something I wish would be clarified in the context of ths story: the phrase jammed phone lines. I always have taken that expression to mean that due to unusually heavy phone traffic, callers have trouble getting through. I have never taken jammed phone lines to mean some sort of technical dysfunction or malicious tampering.

So I assumed that when Landrieu's staffers said their phone lines were jammed, they meant that they were experiencing unusually heavy call volumes. I gather O'Keefe had a different interpretation.


Laurie....I agree that it was not journalism but it is also a crime falsly represent yourself and enter a federal building for any purpose. If an independent had entered a GOP Senators office for the purpose of determining a too close relationship with a CEO, an affair or excessive campaign contributions, that person would not have made bail and would be accused of terrorism.


Laurie….I agree that it was not journalism but it is also a crime falsly represent yourself and enter a federal building for any purpose

I doubt that is a crime....


Pr. Essig,

tomclaeys is correct, the answer to your question is about whether Mr. O'Keefe should go to jail is "did he break the law". Whether he is a "real" journalist or not is entirely beside the point. If Dan Rather pretended to be a plumber to gain access to US Government facility, he would have been arrested and charged with the same crime.

Having said that, Mr. O'Keefe's previous efforts do not constitute journalism not (just) because he does not actually work for any journal (sensu lato) but because he was not actually reporting any news. In the Baltimore ACORN incident, he did not, as he claimed, present himself as a "pimp" but as the young woman's boyfriend who was trying to protect her from her violent pimp. This was edited out of the video but was retained in the on-line transcript. That was a deliberate attempt to misrepresent the nature of the conversation that occurred. That is not journalism.


" The individuals responsible have been charged with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purposes of committing a felony." That's enough for me. Let the US Attorney in New Orleans sort out the rest.I don't see how their motives have any bearing on the actual offence. Do you thing Watergate was performance art?


He needs to go to jail to learn his lesson.

Laurie Essig

Hmm- was Watergate performance art? Good question.


You wouldnt know journalism if it jumped and handed you a application for free medical coverage, and Obama bucks. Okay im sorry let me make this fair, I will take my brain out so we can be equally matched....


I remember Pauline Kael once commented that the movie Zardoz was a fascist message in a liberated art form. Pretty well describes these latter-day Michael Moore-ish frat boys.
BTW, Laurie, you pretty-well nailed it with your contribution about post-colonial sentimentality in Haiti. You have a fine mind and a good gut: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35162046/ns/world_news-haiti_earthquake/


T/S needs a new link besides 'Flag for Abuse' - they need one like 'Flag for Stupidity'.


Should the merry (ultra right) pranksters go to jail? You bet, Laurie!
If these so-called pranksters were Acorn reps they'd be charged, held without bail and tried by your media.


without reading the article, yes....

Lewis Grossberger

How do you feel about corporal punishment? Because I think what O'Keefe needs is a good spanking.

Laurie Essig

Overall, I enjoy a good spanking as much as the next gal. I would think O'Keefe might let us spank him as a political statement: spanking as sort of libertarian justice outside the interference of "big government"?


Since the Attorney General feels compelled to try Terrorist who committed the murder of innocent Americans the same as a shop lifter and refused to prosecute acorn workers who openly stole votes at the polls and did not give a second thought to the thugs in Philadelphia who were intimating voters at the polls with Clubs in hand then why the big deal about this minor prank.


If O'Keefe or one of his associates was carrying a butt-set, one of those big phones with leads for connecting directly to the phone company's punch down block, then he probably should go to jail for wiretapping. The mere possession of a butt-set implies intent to wire tap, the same way that possessing DeCSS code implies intent to pirate DVDs.


What fucking nonsense. What stupid, ridiculous blather.

I don't actually care that they're right, left, center, up or down. Sneaking into a federal building under false pretenses, then asking to see areas of the building presumably under guard, while still under false pretense, is a federal crime, and rightly so. Because someone wanting to bomb a federal building could do the exact same thing.

I'm all for these jackasses "exposing" whatever they feel like, but this is nonsense, bullshit false equivocation presumably written to get a rise, which, "Congratulations!" it has.


Well, let me know when someone breaks into your office and tell me how you feel about it. Or, maybe someone comes in under wholly false pretenses and pretends to work on your broadband connection.


This entire post is intentionally contrarian, substance-free nonsense, written pretty exclusively to provoke a reaction, and it's fairly unbecoming of any writer. So, as I mentioned somewhere else, CONGRATULATIONS, you got pageviews. Maybe you can get a job writing for the Post or for Slate next.


Prank? It was reported that a co-conspirator outside in a vehicle had a listening device.

Yeah, I know, I know, wiretapping is de rigueur in fascist post 9/11 America, but I still think it should be against the law.

Scott Bowen

"Zardoz"?! You've made my day, and you get the award for Graceful Reference to Obscure 70's Sci-Fi Cinema.


I didn't realize that the rule of law depended on highly uninformed semantic musings about the nature of journalism and pranks. How did our prison system get so over-crowded this way?

Oh, I forgot, the rule of law is for poor people and minorities. O'Keefe just deserves a slap on the wrist, because he knows better.


Thank you for the award. Actually, I didn't find Zardoz any more fascistic than Paul Schrader's "Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters", or Mishima's own "The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea," for that matter.


What the hell is going on here?
Anyone who is not supportive of this guy gets their comments "Called Out"?

Typical of a conservative who cannot take criticism.


Called Out! for speaking my mind, Is Acorn on your payroll, or are you on Acorns?


There was not a single case of vote fraud involving Acorn in the 2008 election. If Acorn was "openly stealing votes" it was only in your dreams. Voter registrations and voting are two different things.

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