James O'Keefe fires back at New York Times over 'hit piece' on Project Veritas

Media top headlines May 14

New York reporters slamming Gov. Cuomo over his comments about sexual harassment and more round out today’s top media headlines.

Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe had a blistering response to what he described as a “hit piece” that was published on Thursday by The New York Times.

The Times claimed that Project Veritas “mounted a campaign during the Trump administration to discredit perceived enemies of President Trump inside the government” which included a “planned sting operation” against then-National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and attempts to secretly record FBI employees disparage the 45th president all in coordination with an ex-British spy.  

“The campaign shows the obsession that some of Mr. Trump’s allies had about a shadowy ‘deep state’ trying to blunt his agenda — and the lengths that some were willing to go to try to purge the government of those believed to be disloyal to the president,” the Times reported. 

O’Keefe released a video responding to the report. 

“I told you yesterday that there was going to be a hit piece that was filled with vapid supposition, subliminal suggestion, nebulous facts, circumstantial inferences designed to link us to an investigation into McMaster that I had nothing to do with,” O’Keefe passionately said. 

He then highlighted excerpts from the Times report, which read, “Although several Project Veritas operatives were involved in the plot, it is unclear whether the group directed it,” “Who initially ordered the operation is unclear” and “It is unclear who was funding the operation.”

“What isn’t unclear is all of these other journalists almost instantaneously are jumping to the next conclusion using this circular sourcing thing that they do saying that Project Veritas executed this thing against McMaster, which I again had nothing to do with,” O’Keefe said while showing tweets of journalists sharing the Times report. “Unequivocally, I’m saying I had nothing to do with this and the New York Times says it’s ‘unclear,’ but now journalists are basing this inference thing to make this assertion.”  

O’Keefe did acknowledge that Project Veritas did execute undercover investigations of other government officials. 

The Times did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. 

O’Keefe previously filed a defamation lawsuit against the Times over a report published last year. In March, a New York judge denied the paper’s motion to dismiss the suit by the right-wing guerilla news outlet over the Times’ portrayal of Project Veritas’ reporting on alleged voter fraud in Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, which is represented by U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat. 

Times reporters Maggie Astor and Tiffany Hsu described Project Veritas’ reporting as “deceptive,” “false,” and “with no verifiable evidence.” 

“The facts submitted by Veritas could indicate more than standard, garden variety media bias and support a plausible inference of actual malice,” Supreme Court Justice Charles Wood ruled. “There is a substantial basis in law to proceed to permit the plaintiff to conduct discovery and to then attempt to meet its higher standard of proving liability through clear and convincing evidence of actual malice.”

Wood elaborated, “If a writer interjects an opinion in a news article (and will seek to claim legal protections as opinion) it stands to reason that the writer should have an obligation to alert the reader, including a court that may need to determine whether it is fact or opinion, that it is opinion.” 

O’Keefe and Project Veritas have also filed defamation lawsuits against Twitter and CNN.

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