You are hereHuffington Post: Hey, Etch A Sketch Conservatives: Time to Resurrect Some Honesty

Huffington Post: Hey, Etch A Sketch Conservatives: Time to Resurrect Some Honesty

By FZ - Posted on 10 April 2012

-By Leo W. Gerard

April 9, 2012- A spring awash with Etch A Sketch conservatives, camera-wielding GOP con men and a bogus deficit reduction budget from House Republicans shows that for the right, wrong is justified when it achieves the desired results.

A perfect example of this political philosophy is the work of James E. O'Keefe III, a right-wing, unsupervised, unaccountable, self-appointed and self-styled "investigative journalist" who has violated federal law, lied about his identity and deceitfully cut and pasted video to destroy what he perceives as liberal institutions.

Oddly for the party that claims conservative Christians as key constituents, O'Keefe's misbehavior is celebrated by GOP talking heads -- the likes of Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. That encourages copycats. The New York Times last week told the tale of one. John M. Howting, a bungling video scam man, sees himself as an O'Keefe apostle.

Honorable journalists abide by an ethics code forbidding lying to secure a story. For them, the end does not justify the means. By contrast, for O'Keefe and today's Etch A Sketch conservatives, the end they want vindicates any scheme to secure it. Deliberate lying, cynical deceit, cut-and-paste deception -- all of that is rationalized by conservatives to get their way. It's a lovely escape clause they've written for themselves from that annoying Judeo-Christian thou-shalt-not-lie commandment.

O'Keefe wannabe John M. Howting tried clumsily to trod in his disgraced mentor's footsteps, lying about his name, who he represented and his intentions in a failed effort to discredit a couple of what he perceived to be liberal New York community groups.

O'Keefe had better luck. This right-wing rebel without a conscience lied about his name, who he represented and his intentions in successful efforts to manipulate some targets into saying stupid stuff, which he surreptitiously recorded. His deceptive and distorted films destroyed ACORN and damaged other groups he considered progressive. Despite O'Keefe's liberal use of the Commandment escape clause, he became conservatives' golden boy.

Among right-wing talk show hosts who urged their conservative Christian listeners to praise the con was Bill O'Reilly, who said O'Keefe should be awarded a Congressional medal. Not so worshiping were federal prosecutors who charged O'Keefe with misrepresenting himself in an attempted phone hacking at the office of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. O'Keefe pleaded guilty. And not so revering was the California state attorney general who determined that O'Keefe's sliced-and-diced video misrepresented the actions of ACORN workers.

Conforming to the conservatives' philosophy of wrong-is-right-if-the-right-benefits is GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Like a Judas, he betrayed his own health insurance program.


Mark Crispin Miller
Progressive Democrats of America