Project Veritas has recently come into the news again for another set of its infamous left-wing leaks. Project Veritas is on a mission from founder James O’Keefe: exposing the Left for what it is…or at least that’s what he says. Project Veritas is known for “groundbreaking” leaks but the reality of those leaks isn’t always clear and can sometimes be dangerous.
Drip, Drip, Drip
Project Veritas began its work in 2010 but its founder James O’Keefe began trying to expose organization that he disagreed with in 2008. His first two projects sought to expose Planned Parenthood and ACORN. Although he used female friends to pose as a pregnant teenager and a prostitute, his attack on Planned Parenthood did not end as planned and the organization promised to train employees better when dealing with minors. ACORN, on the other hand, dissolved after his leak caused the Federal Government to pull funding from the poverty alleviation organization. Based on these successes, he founded Project Veritas in 2010. Since then, Project Veritas has tried to cause media firestorms for organizations like NPR, The Washington Post, and American United for Change. Famously, the Washington Post did not fall for their attempt to discredit the paper and then subsequently ran a piece about what happened to them thereby exposing Project Veritas and their inflammatory attempts to discredit the paper.
Project Veritas has deep conservative roots and the Daily Beast reported that Project Veritas workers were trained by the Mossad-connected organization Blackwater in intelligence and elicitation techniques to create scenarios where they could better setup low-level workers of popular left-wing organizations to say things that would cause a media frenzy.
Trump and GOP Legislators
Recently, the Trump campaign threatened to sue CNN because of a Project Veritas video. The Project Veritas video was created through elicited content to show the CNN was biased against the President and that its news coverage regarding President was affected by this bias. The lawsuit is unlikely to go anywhere on First Amendment grounds. This is not the first time a Project Veritas video has been used by President Trump or GOP legislators. Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert posted a video accusing Google of bias against the President when an executive said that they were focused on not creating another “Trump situation” regarding the 2020 election. She said that while she liked Elizabeth Warren, breaking up the tech giant would make it harder to control false narratives and fake news which is why Google is resisting anti-trust action from the Federal government. This is not a new argument. This is the argument Google has been making against anti-trust. Ted Cruz mentioned it in a committee hearing with the executive as well causing the media firestorm Project Veritas was looking for. The full quote is much less damning but Project Veritas specializes in creating mountains out of molehills using just a few words to extrapolate a greater more divisive meaning. Project Veritas videos getting picked up by GOP legislators inevitably spreads their message farther and wider. Soon, conservative blogs and news sites begin to pick up the videos and thanks to social media, they can create a media firestorm that can spread to major publications. Project Veritas did not comment to Rouges Magazine on this video after being contacted in December 2019.
Google and Facebook both hold unique positions when it comes to the modern news narrative. Most of the world’s internet searches happen on Google and Facebook is a platform with 1 Billion users. When stories appear on these platforms, they can shift public opinion overnight. Any idea of bias in search or in the appearance of stories damages both companies and right now our society is caught in a discussion of what kind of responsibility Google and Facebook have in fact-checking that which appears on their platforms. While both claim to be only platforms and not responsible for what appears on their platforms, where does that responsibly end and begin? This affects Project Veritas directly: their videos don’t stay on YouTube for very long before being taken down for violating content standards.
Project Veritas and Bernie Sanders
As one can imagine, Project Veritas is already on the move when it comes to the 2020 Presidential election. In a recent leak, Project Veritas released audio of Bernie Sanders field organizers that stated the campaign attracted individuals with extreme views and that they were keeping it on the back burner and that they wanted to direct violence towards property to serve the greater goal of breaking down capitalism. Project Veritas so far has posted damaging quotes from those working for Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Beto O’Rouke (who dropped out). They will use their standard strategy of meeting with a low-level staffer or volunteer, pretend to be on their side and get them to say damning things on video or audio recording.
It is no secret that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren represent the most progressive and most left-leaning part of the democratic party. This is going to attractive people to the left and to the right of the actual candidates. This is common in any left-wing organization. Occupy Wallstreet attracted many of the same people. Communists, those who are against capitalism, anarchists, and others will flock to these movements. That does not, however, mean that Bernie Sanders is calling for seizing the means of production and overthrowing the bourgeoisie (actual communism!).
The Narrative of Project Veritas
Ultimately, Project Veritas is specializing in creating a narrative of their own: the left is out to get you! This plays well in right-wing circles where terms like “libtard” and “libcuck” are common slurs for those who aren’t patriotic enough to be conservative and vote republican. Ultimately, no matter how their operatives might come by the information or how edited together it might be, it serves the narrative that the left is extreme in its views and that they are out to destroy America with identity politics, anti-capitalist policies and worse. This isn’t stark journalism or trying to get people on the record talking about their views in an honest way. This is the kind of revelations that are only meant to reinforce a worldview that the left is extreme. If a left-wing organization were on a similar mission the same content could be produced about right-wing operatives on trigger issues like identity politics, abortion, or other hot topics. Their actions are bad journalism at best and disingenuous at worse.