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Mr. O'Keefe, Are You Trying to Seduce Me?

Ryan Lee Kindel |
October 9, 2010 | 7:14 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

CNN (Courtesy Creative Commons)
CNN (Courtesy Creative Commons)
James O'Keefe's plan to embarrass CNN has magnificently backfired.

The plan, specifically, was this: Mr. O’Keefe - whom you might remember as the guy who brought ACORN down by posing as a pimp in what turned out to be a heavily edited video - would lure CNN reporter Abbie Boudreau onto a yacht and then seduce her with cameras rolling. To his aid would come a host of sex props, including condoms, lube, dildos, blindfolds and fuzzy handcuffs, as well as some romantic music to lend that "bow chicka wow wow" mood. The footage would be distributed to news outlets to the ends of embarrassing CNN and, presumably, giving Mr. O’Keefe fifteen more minutes of fame.

The scheme was foiled when Izzy Santa, who worked for O'Keefe but evidently had a conscience, tipped off Boudreau before the encounter could take place. Boudreau was to interview O’Keefe for a documentary about young conservatives. When she arrived on the property in Maryland where she was to discuss the interview with O’Keefe, Santa warned her not to meet O’Keefe on the yacht, telling her she was about to be punk'd.

In the aftermath, CNN got ahold of numerous pieces of evidence relating to the plot, including a 13 page gem outlining the “CNN Caper.”  This document, a stunning display of misogyny and underestimation that was allegedly written for O’Keefe by his cohort Ben Wetmore, is basically a script for the doomed seduction attempt. It includes a full prop list (including dildos, a ceiling mirror and fuzzy handcuffs), spectacularly cheesy pickup lines for Mr. O’Keefe (“Let’s make some headline love”) and even some predicted dialog for a wooed Ms. Boudreau (“James, this is not professional”). Perhaps most importantly, the plan includes a scripted introduction to be read by Mr. O’Keefe. In part, the script read like this:

“Instead of giving her a serious interview, I’m going to punk CNN. Abbie has been trying to seduce me, in order to spin a lie about me. So, I’m going to seduce her, on-camera, to use her for a video. This bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who comes on at five will get a taste of her own medicine, she’ll get seduced on camera and you’ll get to see the awkwardness and the aftermath.”

Allow me to respond by pointing out that that “bubble-headed-bleach-blonde” has won seven regional Emmys, a national Emmy nomination, a national Clarion award and a National Headliner Award for her journalistic work. The only notable recognition that Mr. O’Keefe has earned for his sensationalistic prankster hijinks is a guilty plea, and that was related to his part in allegedly trying to tamper with the phones inside the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

He is most certainly not a true journalist, and his rhetorical reduction of Boudreau’s talents to her looks can only signify unconscionable sexism.

Furthermore, it seems pretty clear to me that the "CNN Caper” would have failed even if it had succeeded. If O’Keefe had successfully lured Boudreau onto his yacht and humiliated her in front of the cameras, he surely would have taken flak from folks at every segment of the political spectrum. The whole “joke” amounts to full-on sexual harassment, and that’s something which very few Americans find funny.

What Americans will find funny, however, is how stupendously O’Keefe’s ego must have outmatched his intelligence for him to pursue such a cockameemy scheme as this. It’s a little disconcerting that a man like James O’Keefe is out there, actively working to screw (so to speak) with our news, but we can take solace in the fact that the joke is on him.

Reach Reporter Ryan Lee Kindel here.



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