Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Grow Up

Miss Megan McArdle scolds that little scamp, James O'Keefe, who was arrested for attempting to monkey with a congresswoman's telephone system, in a federal building. McArdle notes that O'Keefe, disguised as a pimp, taped the ACORN interview that set off a firestorm in public.

In three posts on ACORN's perfidy, Miss McArdle has declared that ACORN is hopelessly corrupt and must be thrown off the bus, to be run over by the wheels of justice.

I don't see how ACORN survives at this point; the IRS is the latest to pile on, severing ties with ACORN, and slapping a tax lien for unpaid payroll taxes on top of that blow. The lawsuit seems like an even worse attempt--less of a Hail-Mary Pass than an own-goal. At best, it keeps this distressing story in the news, more firmly impressing it into peoples' consciousnesses and making it therefore more difficult for Democrats to quietly let the organization back on the government gravy train at some future date. At worst, the lawsuit opens up ACORN to discovery, during which the defense can plunder their records. ACORN appears to be trying to avoid this fate by suing for intentional infliction of emotional distress rather than defamation (for which truth is an absolute defense). But that just makes it more likely that the case will be removed to federal court and dismissed. When that happens, the public mind will not make fine distinctions about legal doctrine. They'll just remember that a judge thought ACORN was in the wrong.

Liberals have legitimate reason to be mournful--they think ACORN does good work. But no organization is irreplaceable. Voters can be registered, tax advice proffered, and federal monies disbursed without ACORN's dubious help.

Naturally McArdle advocated for the throwing of Mr. O'Keefe under the nearest bus as well.

A Tape Too Far
James O'Keefe, the guy who did the ACORN sting, doesn't seem to understand the difference between a completely legal recording of an interview between you and someone else, and a completely illegal and reprehensible wiretapping of someone's phones. Journalists are not spies, and there are very good reasons that you need a warrant to bug a telephone system or otherwise eavesdrop on third-party conversations.

Like many 24-year olds, he may not have fully appreciated why what he was doing was wrong, but if the allegations are true, I hope that the judge explains it to him while handing down a stiff penalty.

You knew that going to happen, didn't you?

When my father was 24, he was married and had two children. He was in the service and within a few years had won the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross, which were sent to his widow. It is more than a little distasteful to excuse O'Keefe's actions because of his youth. Not everyone is an eternal adolescent.


Clever Pseudonym said...

I suppose in Megan's sense of the word "journalist" - i.e. sit at her desk at the Atlantic offices and bloviate her ignorant opinions about every subject under the sun - they indeed are not spies. But she isn't actually a journalist in the real sense, she doesn't have the slightest clue how many of them are out all over the world, undercover and armed with hidden cameras, creating reporting of actual substance.

Downpuppy said...

Of course he's 25.

It wouldn't be Megan if a number was correct.

Roger Ailes said...

Does this mean you're not going to give Megatron any advice on her honeymoon?

She's begging you!

Batocchio said...

I know adolescents who are far smarter and more mature than McArdle.

(Also, your dad sounds like one helluva guy.)

Susan of Texas said...


Batacchio, thanks.

CP, a journalist is someone who is paid by corporations to deliver information to the public. Megan says so.

Downpuppy, at least she's consistant.

Bulbul, I'm hoping she chooses Turkey as well.