It appears Huffington Post has trouble following the logic of the “sting.”
In a post shared thousands of times now, Washington bureau chief Ryan Grim lays five up high that “the stinger” (undercover video journalist James O’Keefe) has been “stung.” According to Grim, O’Keefe was stung in the act of “trying to sow chaos at Donald Trump’s inaugural ceremony.”
Here’s how Grim describes it:
A left-wing political group released a new video Monday of a counter-sting that has uncovered evidence of right-wing activists trying to sow chaos at Donald Trump’s inaugural ceremony, an effort to portray critics of Trump who march against him as violent fringe figures.
The counter-sting, carried out by The Undercurrent and Americans Take Action, a project of a previous target of provocateur James O’Keefe, managed to surreptitiously record elements of O’Keefe’s network offering huge sums of money to progressive activists if they would disrupt the ceremony and “put a stop to the inauguration” and the related proceedings to such a degree that donors to the clandestine effort would “turn on a TV and maybe not even see Trump.” To have riots blot out coverage of Trump, the donor offered “unlimited resources,” including to shut down bridges into D.C.
I think we’re having trouble with our multidimensional thinking here. O’Keefe isn’t actually trying to sow chaos at the Trump inaugural. He’s trying to get progressive activists on video, agreeing to sow chaos at the Trump inaugural for pay.
The point of that is to then publish the video and show the willingness of some progressive activists to engage in such behavior.
The point is not to actually sow chaos at the Trump inauguration, and then blame leftists.
How do I know this? Because what I’ve just outlined is what the O’Keefe team has done in all its previous videos. O’Keefe doesn’t try to get anyone to follow through on the illegal or unsavory actions referenced in his videos. His purpose is to get people on camera showing willingness to commit them, or referring to them as things they’ve done, or agree with, or know about. In some instances, he or his other undercover actors go back — again, on camera — and confront the people who’ve previously made such embarrassing disclosures. That puts an end to any expectations about follow-through.
O’Keefe certainly seems to have been detected this time. That’s less and less surprising as time goes by. Enough O’Keefe videos come out, and progressive activists start to get wary.
But “stung”? It’s not a sting, to catch the stinger in the act. It’s more like dodging a bullet.
(I’ll take this opportunity to observe that it — the HuffPo report — is also not “fake news.” It’s a logical misapprehension, editorialized about inadvisedly. It could be significant — even actionably defamatory on HuffPo’s part — if anyone took seriously the proposition that James O’Keefe was trying to sow chaos to disrupt the Trump inauguration. But no one rational would.)
Here, in case HuffPo decides to change its headline, is the current one, for posterity.