January 15, 2013

Project Veritas | The Blaze
Conservative activist James O’Keefe sent people posing as an anti-gun-violence group to the homes of journalists from The Journal News and other news outlets to persuade them to put up signs saying “This Home Is Proudly Gun-Free.” In the process, O’Keefe discovers what he considers to be hypocrisy on the part of journalists.

The Journal News published a map of handgun permits in suburban New York in late December. The Gannett paper and its journalists have received five suspicious packages in the month since, along with threats and unrelenting criticism.

At what O’Keefe says is the home of Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger columnist Bob Braun, someone tells O’Keefe’s crew that the sign might be viewed as “an invitation to come barging in.”

They also visit what they say is the Brooklyn home of Touré, speaking with him through his intercom. He says he’d have to talk to his neighbors before putting anything on the door. They also visit what they say is the Washington, D.C. home of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

The Blaze’s Jonathon M. Seidl notes the video is “highly edited” and that it identifies one respondent as the husband of Journal News Publisher Janet Hasson.

“I moved to Canada,” the man says before an edit and then adding, “Because I hated guns.”

The Blaze, Seidl says, “does have reservations about undercover videos.”

In general, our philosophy has been that they — as well as ambush journalism — should be used only in extreme circumstances when one has exhausted all other options and all applicable recording laws should be followed.

Second, it’s understandable that those affiliated with journalistic outlets would not want to post such signs. Those in the journalism business are encouraged not to affiliate themselves with interest groups, politicians, or the like. In fact, there are those organizations that forbid taking public stands on divisive issues. Placing the sign that O’Keefe’s group is advocating for, then, would likely violate many newsroom practices.

At all homes they find what they’re looking for: “not a single member of the media willing to live up to the strength of their convictions,” a narrator says.

“Sorry, no comment from the Journal News,” says new Journal News spokesperson Edmund Tagliaferri.

Related: ‘Journalists should not be threatened,’ says Journal News publisher

Previously: Star-Ledger corrects story that sparked James O’Keefe lawsuit | People like James O’Keefe ‘think they are acting like journalists’ | WhatJames O’Keefe knows about media (and you should too)

Correction: This post originally said O’Keefe’s crew visited the home of someone whose name the Journal News published by mistake. In fact, they visit someone “who’s address was mistakenly published as an Editor of Journal News,” the video’s graphics read.

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City…
Andrew Beaujon

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