James O’Keefe | The Ben Shapiro Show Sunday Special Ep. 137 - Transcripts
is sort of opining on the events of the day and telling you what to believe or who to vote for or what the public policy is good or bad. That is not what I do. For example, people may ask, your audience might be asking, well, what stories are you going to focus on? I said, I don't know what stories I'm going to focus on, but all the stories will have one thing in common.
They'll expose liars, cheats, and frauds. James O'Keefe and I have known each other for over a decade, both of us coming up in the world of media and politics under the mentorship of our dear friend Andrew Breitbart. I first met James as he was in the process of showing the acorn tapes to Andrew. Those tapes exposed the prominent Obama-affiliated community activist group as corrupt left-wing radicals, which became the genesis of Project Veritas, the nonprofit news organization founded by James from which he was controversially ousted last month. James has always been fearless. Over the last 14 years, he built perhaps the most effective whistleblower operation this country has ever seen. He's exposed government, corporate, and nonprofit corruption at every level. He's paved the way in establishing citizen journalism and pulling off some of the most consequential exposés in a generation. Under James' leadership, Project Veritas exposed corruption, bias, and wrongdoing at some of the most prominent organizations in America, including Acorn, Planned Parenthood, NPR, and Pfizer. James O'Keefe has been unsurprisingly treated as pariah by legacy media and big tech, but no one expected his role as the CEO of Project Veritas to come to an abrupt end. That ending sent shockwaves through the media and the conservative movement. For reasons that remained contested, the board at Project Veritas placed James on an indefinite suspension pending an investigation, and on February 20th, James announced his resignation as CEO.
The board's treatment of James was met with indignation from conservatives who have supported and cheered on James' work over the years. Many questions still remain, but he isn't letting this setback stop him. I sat down with James to discuss his brand new venture, O'Keefe Media Grouping, and his vision for the future of citizen journalism. We also discussed the FBI raid on his home, recovering from the Project Veritas ousting, and what comes next. Hey, and welcome. This is the Ben Shapiro Show Sunday Special. Excited to
have on the line with us James O'Keefe. James, thanks so much for joining the show. Ben, great
to be with you. So I know your time is tight, so let's just jump right into, obviously, the most controversial aspect of what's going on right now, and that is the launch of your brand new organization. So why don't you give us, for folks who are not in the know, the backstory of how Project Veritas broke with you or you broke with Project Veritas. Because obviously, for most people, myself included, you're synonymous with the organization. I mean, the idea that Project Veritas is going to continue as an organization without James O'Keefe, it's like saying that Coca-Cola is going to continue without the formula for Coca-Cola. So
can you explain exactly what went down with Project Veritas? Well, it was a bizarre thing, Ben. I spent 13 years of my life I met you around that time, the acorn story with Andrew by Bart many years ago. And I spent 14 years building that organization. And then I broke the story on Pfizer last week in January. And then a week later, I was ousted from the organization. So I've been the same guy for many years. They, they made arguments that I took too many black cars and, and took sandwiches from pregnant women and some other strange things. But it's very peculiar. I posted a video 45 minute long video three weeks ago, I, my departing remarks to my staff, and I was pretty honest and vulnerable about everything. So I don't, I don't really know, I never really figured out what exactly happened, but it's important for me to continue my mission. So I've learned a lot from this.
I never really focused on board composition or board management. But I can tell you that while there was some really horrible things that happened, I also saw a lot of goodness in the people around me, some really good journalists. And right now I've assembled a team of about a dozen elite journalists. And I'm going to alter my vision a little bit. And I'm going to crowdsource out the journalism and decentralized journalism. So I can give hundreds of cameras to other people. So that's everything in a nutshell, but I can get more into some of the detail if you want.
So I'd love to hear about what the new organization is going to do and how it's going to differ from Project Veritas. How is Project Veritas run? And then how is the new
organization going to be run differently, do you think? So the new organization is OMG, my name, O'KeeffeMediaGroup.com, OMG, sort of like a spin off a TMZ there. And I posted a little announcement video. And in this announcement video, I'm dancing, I'm eating sandwiches, I'm getting out of black cars. I am who I am. I'm an artistic person. I've always been an artistic person. I think journalism is about storytelling and exposing what needs to be exposed and doing it in a visual format. This mission, O'KeeffeMediaGroup, is about getting little cameras into the hands of thousands of people and helping everyone be a journalist. I've been saying that for many years. I don't think I was ready to accomplish that. At Project Veritas, I was the CEO and chairman of that organization.
That was a 501c3 non prop, but this is not a 501c3. It has no board. I own it. But it's just like daily wire, it's a subscription based model, but the subscriptions are to sponsor these cameras. These cameras are not cheap, they can run 800 bucks. But there's also the Jeff Bezos version, which is 20 or 40 bucks, people are buying those by themselves. So the mission is to teach people then about journalism ethics, teach people about technology, teach people about recording laws in various states. I intend to open source all of that on the website, which is not yet built out. It will be in the coming weeks ahead. And basically teach everyone how to do this. That's my vision. It's a very ambitious mission.
But I intend to do that,
get this ready to go in the next few months. I mean, obviously, you were close with Andrew Breitbart, so is I. And this sounds like sort of a reification of many of the things that he talked about very early on when you and I met the idea that everyone with with a camera was now a journalist. And now you're actually making that real by helping to get people those cameras and then teaching them the basic rules of journalism is sort of what it sounds like.
Yeah, I think there's four different things we need to teach people. Journalism ethics is critical. And you hear that a lot. But I think we all know journalism has been dead for a long time now. You guys have revived it a bit at Daily Wire. There really isn't really any investigative reporting going on in this country. All the corporate media has stopped doing it because it's too expensive. As an attorney, you know that there's a lot of legal issues inherent in recording. There's 38 states where it's perfectly legal and 12 where it's problematic. So everyone has to be equipped with that information to do it. But I think it's important to decentralize journalism. I think it's important for people who have access to the proverbial scene of the crime, you know, whether you're in the FDA or the government or Pfizer or wherever you are.
It's a lot harder for me to try to infiltrate or to get someone inside. It's a lot easier for people out there who already know someone who's there to do it themselves. And again, Andrew and I talked about this many years ago. I just wasn't ready for it yet. I wasn't well known enough. I didn't have the goodwill. In many ways, Ben, the story I did on Pfizer, which you covered a month ago, this was the guy who was talking about mutating the virus. He smashed the equipment when I showed him the story. I think me being thrown out of the company that I founded, I actually think that inspired a lot of people. They were like, whoa, that's crazy that you were ousted from an organization that you founded just a week after that story. The timing was very peculiar to people, and it led more sources to come to me. I got 10,000 emails saying, hey, give me one of those cameras.
So I didn't have that 10 years ago. We have that now. We're going to capitalize on that goodwill by making this mission come to life, come to life.
And James, one of the things that I've said about, you know, the thing that you do is that, you know, there's this attempt by those in the journalism industry to say that there is such a thing as quote, unquote a journalist and the journalist is, you know, touched by the hand of God and has special gifts and abilities and special credentials and those special credentials mean that you can be as biased and insane as you want to be, or in many cases, inaccurate as you want to be. But so long as you have the journalist hat, then this means that you are a journalist, if however, you're a normal citizen and you commit an act of journalism, you're not actually a journalist, because there's no such thing as an act of journalism. I've described that what you do is active journalism that the reports that you make are in and of themselves And so, it's less about the label that is on you because I think this is the way that the Left has tried to attack is it, Well, you didn't go to J school. Well, you know, you didn't work in a big organization. You don't know all the rules of journalist Ming. And therefore, the breaking stories that you provide are not actual journalism. That seems to me a way of credentialing your way out of the central problem, which as you say is that many journalists don't actually do journalism while many common citizens are doing acts of journalism.
Yeah, I think that's a very astute point that journalism as you say, it's an activity, not just an identity and journalism is an action. It's something that you do. And not just that, it's also reporting the cold, hard facts. Everybody is sort of opining on the events of the day and telling you what to believe or who to vote for or what the public policy is good or bad. That is not what I do. For example, people may ask, your audience might be asking, well, what stories are you gonna focus on? I said, I don't know what stories I'm gonna focus on, but all the stories will have one thing in common. They'll expose liars, cheats and frauds. Journalism, investigative reporting is a little different than what you see on television. It's reporting secrets that powerful people want kept hidden for the wrong reasons. For example, Walker advisor, he was a doctor and he said, nobody can know that we're doing this. Please don't tell anybody that we're mutating the virus.
It's good for our bottom line. So it's like, why does he want that to be kept secret? If you say these things, if you're doing these things and you're powerful, you should be proud of what you're doing. CNN, another example, CNN, we famously caught them about a year or two ago saying that we're an anti-Trump network. Okay, then just say that. If that's what you wanna do, if that's what Jeff Zucker, former president, then say, we are the anti-Trump network, but don't try to hide it. So that's what I specialize in. I am not a public policy expert. I don't claim to have some special knowledge about that. I guess that's what Congress is supposed to do, which is pass laws in the interest of the citizens. What I'm trying to do is get information into the hands of the citizens so that they make the best decisions to elect the right representatives. Cause I actually believe that if people had any idea what was actually going on in the three letter agencies and the schools, I think we're seeing more of that now, then they would be rightfully outraged and they would make the right public policy decisions.
Maybe that's the libertarian in me. I believe that people need to have access to the information. I believe the people did. They would make the right decision. Some say I'm an optimist for believing that.
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The best thing about ExpressVPN, it's really easy to use. You don't need any technical skills to get set up, just fire up the app, tap one button, and connect. That's it, even your grandparents could do it. Trust yourself with the VPN I use and trust. Visit expressvpn.com slash Ben. Use my link, expressvpn.com slash Ben. Get three extra months for free. That's E-X-P-R-E-S-S, vpn.com slash Ben. There is no reason that anybody else should have control over your data, so keep control over your data with expressvpn.com slash Ben. James here, one of the things that's been really evident throughout your career, and again, you and I have known each other since you first walked into Andrew's basement, actually, with the acorn tapes. That's actually when I first met you. That must have been circa 2008, maybe, 2009, somewhere in that neighborhood.
And the critiques of you have taken a few different lines. So the main critique, as I say, has been that he's not a journalist, and then attendance on that critique has been, well, you know, he edits. He edits. You hear the phrase selectively edited coming up a lot. This has been true all the way since the acorn tapes when you revealed acorn station after acorn station talking about how they would essentially facilitate funding for underage child prostitution. And you revealed that tape. And then oh, it's selectively edited, selectively edited. Can you speak to the difference between quote unquote selective editing, the way that they're accusing you of doing it,
what it is that you actually do? And by the way, there's one more that you, when I met you 13 years ago, you wrote a piece because you went to Harvard Law School and they said, well, the Acorn employees were exonerated. They didn't break the law. And you astutely pointed out, well, they didn't break the law because James wasn't an actual pimp actually starting a brothel. He was just pretending to be one. So that was one of the more bizarre and peculiar criticisms of me. Well, these people didn't break the law. So James is a liar. Oh, okay. Well, they said what they said. Editing, yeah, actually that sort of faded away, Ben. They used to say that I edit, they've stopped saying that.
All journalists edit. All good journalism is edited. All Pulitzer Prize winning reporting is edited. Journalism is not just releasing raw stuff. It's giving the who, what, when, where, why. It's assembling it into a package because you have limited time. You can't put out three hours and 48 minutes of tape. You can't, for example, show unredacted source material. You can't show the hidden camera part where the guy forgot to turn off and urinated in the stall. There are certain things that you have to redact. There are certain sources that you have to protect. And in order to get the information out in a limited amount of time, and everything has to be done in context.
It's not easy to do. It's an art. But if you look at the New York times today the hyperbole and the mendacious innuendo of the newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times in particular, the way that they arranged, you know what I'm talking about, they chopped the quotes, they described things in this mendacious way. So you don't even know what you're reading. It's almost like you have to twist the newspaper to figure out what, let me give you one quick example. They did this to me last year. The New York Times said this is their actual headline, Ben. They somehow got a copy of my attorney client memos after the FBI raid against me. And they said, documents show that Project Veritas and James O'Keefe tried not to run afoul of federal laws and all this. So they wrote this article in this mendacious way when what they're really saying is James O'Keefe tried really hard not to break the law as the way that they wrote it. So they're the ones who edit. And they accuse me of that which they are guilty of, they project on to me precisely who they are.
So of course, they're going to accuse me of editing when they wordsmith articles in that mendacious way. But they can never actually point out what the edit is James O'Keefe edit, please tell me identify for me where the edit in my work is. And I will
apologize if I've made a mistake. But they can never do that. Yeah, James, one of the things that's always striking about the media coverage of what it is you do is that if The Left were to break similar stories about The Right using exactly the same methodologies that you've been using, of course, they would be winning Pulitzer prizes, you do this sort of stuff and they immediately claim number one that you're dishonest. Number two, they claim the methodologies that you're using are dishonest. So things like undercover footage or or recording conversations that are happening in public, these sorts of things are supposedly super terrible. But you know, when it's serving left-wing purposes and these people are the best journalists on planet Earth.
It's not about the methods. It's about who's ox you're perceived to be goring. It's all about politics and it's all about power. It's never actually about you can't record people or produce it in a certain way. They, of course, do that all the time. For example, David Deliden's famous undercover investigation into Planned Parenthood. Remember that one, 2015? I know him. I work with Lila Rose and he worked with Lila Rose. That was the body parts undercover camera investigation. Kamala Harris, the then Attorney General of California, raided Deliden's home with AR-15s, confiscated his equipment. Imagine if David Deliden had recorded abuse at puppy mills in California.
Now, they try to go after him for California Penal Code 632 recording without permission, but can you imagine Kamala Harris raiding undercover journalists to record puppies being abused? She would never do that. That's the lack of equality before the law and that's why I've defended Deliden. It's never about the methods, Ben. It's about who you're exposing. It's about power. I think we should level the playing field and get cameras in the hands of everyone. On this OkifMediaGroup.com, you can actually sponsor a camera, again, about $800,000 to get these special James Bond cameras, which, by the way, I'm now in the manufacturing business. I am going to be modifying them and we will make sure that we have the legal primer on our website because, again, there are 38 states where this is legal and 12 where you have to be careful. For example, in California, you have to be in a public place.
We'll make sure everyone has that information. So, James, when you look at sort of the amount of footage that's going to come back to you, it's going to be extraordinary amounts of footage because if you've got hundreds of people out there who are investigating stories, you're going to need a big staff. I would imagine it's going to take an enormous amount of resources just to go through all of this, investigate the stories that are coming back to you. We here at Dailyware, we have a big company, a big staff. We don't have all the resources necessary to do this sort of stuff. How big do you imagine your staff is going to have to be just to cull through this
footage and then investigate what is actually newsworthy and what's not? I think initially, right now, I have a dozen. At Veritas, I had 70 employees. Whenever you get above 50, it always becomes scaled management is never easy. I'm, in addition to being a journalist, I'm also running the company. It's a good question. I would say I have a two-part answer. Number one, initially, we have to curate the material. It's a lot easier to curate the material than as to collect it. I've learned, Ben, in my life, undercover work sometimes takes six to nine months. If you have someone with an access point into an organization and they just send you the material, you've cut out 99% of the expense and 99% of the work. However, your point is well taken.
When you have thousands of people recording, what you have to then do is not curate it yourself, but teach them how to curate it themselves. In other words, you have to help them identify what a story is. You have to help them perhaps produce the material themselves, tell the story themselves. People do often struggle with finding, communicating in a very short amount of time what's important. I intend to teach people how to do that. In fact, I won't say which, because I don't want to have what happened to Charlie Kirk or the anti-focum or whatever, but I've been invited to speak at a journalism school, a very famous one. This is the first time in my life. I've been invited to teach a course on ethics of covert recording. I intend to film it and produce it like you would see a masterclass. These are the sorts of things I want to do. I want to teach people how to do it themselves so that I don't have to curate it. If that vision comes to life, I think that could change the world.
That's really what I want to do. In the interim, I have this team of 12 that I've identified in
the very short term that will curate the material. James, let's go back in time to when the idea of doing this sort of stuff first occurred to you. Obviously, you're a gadfly going all the way back. I actually saw tape of you today from almost 20 years ago back at Rutgers trying to get the board of Rutgers to ban Lucky Charms in order to not offend the Irish for St. Patrick's Day and succeeding in that apparently. You were a gadfly and you were a prankster going all the way back
to 2005, but how did this turn into sort of a journalistic crusade? This is the very first thing I've ever done to this effect. I went into the vice president of Rutgers, St. Patrick's Day 2005, 18 years ago today. I said that the leprechaun was offensive to my heritage. You could say I was a little ahead of my time. I'm not sure that irony would even work today. We were having this conversation this morning with my staff. I don't know. Is that even funny anymore? Is irony dead? But at the time, it was ironic.
The vice president of HR, a woman named Carolyn Knight Cole with a straight face took copious notes and said, can you tell me that again? How is the leprechaun offend you? I said, well, it offends my heritage. As you can see, we're not all lucky. We have our differences of height. I was trying to keep a straight face. I failed to. I actually laughed out loud. I turned it into a nervous cry. You can see it. I repost it today. They actually told me they would ban Lucky Charms.
I took out the campus speech codes, which said you can't offend anybody's heritage. As an Irishman, I said, well, this offends my heritage. It's sort of like making them live up to their own book of rules and they're damned either way, because if they don't ban Lucky Charms, they're going to break their own law. If they do ban Lucky Charms, they become a laughing stock on campus. That dichotomy is what launched what I would call Veritas visuals, which eventually became Project Veritas. I've been doing this for 20 years. You might ask, what prompted me to do that? I don't know. I guess it was the artist in me wanted to bring things to light and to expose things for what they were. What prompted me to do that? I was a thespian in high school. I was a person who did like to read the newspapers.
I watched local news and I was very contemptuous
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That's Genucell.com slash Shapiro. Go check them out right now. So let's start for the story. You and I know the story because we were there, but why don't you tell the story for people who don't know the story of the the acorn videos? Because that's really when you first broke into sort of the American public imagination, breaking the series of videos demonstrating that a very highly networked democratic front group was in fact engaging in what would have been a legal activity if you'd actually been not an undercover journalist, but actually had been the thing that you purported to be. So why don't you first explain to people, because it's been a long time, what exactly acorn was doing, how you decided to go after acorn, how that story developed, and then
what your relationship was with with our friend Andrew Breitbart. Yes, and I wrote a whole book about this. So I'll try to I'll try to summarize it in a New York minute. Acorn was the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Barack Obama was an attorney for acorn. I didn't even know what acorn was. I'm sure many of you may not may not remember or don't know, but they did housing. They got federal money to assist low-income people with housing, and they also helped with voter registration. So I was doing what I was doing now on a much tinier scale. I was 24 years old. I think I knew you, Ben, or knew of you, and you had shared some work I did on Planned Parenthood. I sent messages on Facebook to random citizens, and one of them was named Hannah Giles.
She was a young woman who was an intern for a group called YAF. And I said, Hannah, maybe you should do the sort of work. And she said, James, why don't we go into acorn? And she actually proposed that she dress up like a prostitute and do a secret shopper sting. And I said, well, I'll be a pimp. And we thought this would be novel because they were engaged in various law-breaking so it was alleged. So we thought, what an ingenious idea. Go in and present yourself as lawbreakers with this sort of hilarious, agitprop punk rock, Borat, Mike Wallace sort of thing. I had a camera embedded in my tie. It was a pinhole camera with a wire into my pocket. These cameras were different about 15 years ago. And there was no Amazon where you can buy them.
And I recorded in Baltimore this lady telling me I was scared to death, and my heart was beating 180 beats per minute because I'm saying outrageous stuff about underage hookers and I'm going to use the money to do illegal things. And she told me how to lie on my tax forms and classify the underage girls, all of which I was just making up, but she didn't know that. She said, call them dependents on your tax forms and lie to the government and don't let the police catch you. I met Andrew Breitbart. I went to his home in Los Angeles, knocked on his door, showed him the tapes, and we became kind of a dynamic duo. He told me, release the tapes one at a time. The media will say it's an independent, isolated incident. They did do that on day one. CNN said it was isolated. They released the second, third, fourth, and fifth tapes. And then by the fifth tape, the House of Representatives democratically controlled voted to defund Acorn. The Senate voted 83 to 7.
This is a democratically controlled United States Senate to defund Acorn. And Barack Obama signed that legislation probably because he wanted to distance himself. But nevertheless, that's how the world has changed. You could never see an even Republican led Congress defund anything, let alone a social welfare organization funded by your tax dollars. And South Park covered it. Jon Stewart covered it. This is a little bit of a different world 13 years ago. This is September 15, 2009. And then everyone realized, wow, this sort of journalism works. It's funny. It's interesting. And Project Veritas was born.
So what was it like for you on a personal level? I know, obviously, you and I were a lot more anonymous when we first met, but you became famous pretty much overnight. I mean, you went from being somebody that nobody knew to somebody that everybody knew. And that came with extraordinary levels of attendant attacks. I mean, you've been on the end of a number of tsunamis over the years. What was it like to first experience the tsunami of rage that came at you in the aftermath of the
Acorn tapes? The first thing that comes to my mind is the media. And you know, we all know this because we're all astute observers of the press. So it's another thing to live through it. CNN called my phone that day, like 70 times trying to get a hold of me. And Andrew Breitbart said, do not pick up that phone. They're going to personalize it. They're going to attack you. They're going to make the story value. So I followed his advice. And I never picked up the phone from CNN reporters and they couldn't personalize it. The Washington Post ran a story not about my revelations, but about who funded my investigation.
Was it the Koch brothers? Was it the billionaires? Of course, there were no Koch brothers. I still haven't got funding from the Koch brothers. They're welcome to sponsor me if they're watching this. But there were no there were no billionaire anything. It was literally as crazy as you can imagine. It was Hannah and I putting it on our credit card. I use my grandmother's chinchilla coat to be the pimp. So the media couldn't fathom this. They needed to personalize it. They needed to make it about this.
They even wrote a story about, you know, about where I got the video camera from. It was actually a Christmas gift from my mother. So and then I would say then the personal attacks became much more vicious. My Wikipedia page was vicious. They tried to claim the tapes were edited. And I remember I was 25 years old, sitting in front of my computer, literally tearing up about being presented in such a horrible way on Wikipedia. And there's really nothing I can do about it. I can't edit the Wikipedia page because they immediately they have like an army of people, I guess media matters or whoever it is, that's editing it right back to what it so yeah, this is really hard thing to to digest, to accept, you have to accept it. And you and there are certain things that we can't control. And I just learned that a very young age, the only way is to just keep going to keep putting out more stories, you're only as good as your next story. And that's what I did, probably put out 1000 investigations over the last 13 years. And every one of them, they attacked me.
And every time I said, you know, I just got to keep going even even recently, look at the last 45 days of my if I was thrown out of the corporation that I founded and was the chairman of. And I said to myself, I just got to keep going. I got to start another organization. And this is a may perhaps a life lesson embodied in the poem by Rudyard Kipling, if, if you can see the things you gave your life to broken and rebuild them with worn out tools. I've been through this a number of times arrested, raided, sued, falsely accused, exonerated, vindicated. But you just sort of have to keep going. And I wish Andrew was alive. He died March 1st, 2012. I wish he was alive to see some of these things. But you were very close with him. I was close with him. And, and for the first three years of my journey, he was by my side when it
came to this. There were no obviously, you know, the the personal attacks are one thing. You've also been attacked legally. I mean, you've had you've had law enforcement come after you. So maybe you can discuss what that's like. Because, you know, fortunately for me, I've not yet been attacked by law enforcement. But, you know, you never know. So give me some advice on this. How
do you handle it? When when the FBI comes a raiding? Oh, man, you see it in the movies with the blue jackets and the guns? And it's I've been through it. And it's sort of like a sort of Damocles, I don't know if you know what that is, but it's like you're sort of Damocles, where Is where when they raid you and they take your phones and this was over the ashley biden diary Someone had sent us this diary belonging to the president's daughter. We did buy the rights to it It's not illegal for a journalist to buy the rights to something. It's controversial. Perhaps it's some decry the ethics of it The national inquirer buys news some people in britain do Um, but it's also not illegal for a journalist to publish material that was allegedly stolen by somebody else It's protect protected by you. Uh, nikki devoper the pentagon papers case Um, uh, they claimed it was stolen. I don't I didn't think it was even if it was we didn't steal it Um, but in any event the fbi comes knocking at 6 a.m They bang on your door, right and it's the loudest bang you'll ever hear in your life. It is a terrifying sound Those fists banging. Um, they had a battering ram.
Um, I ran to the door at 6 am This was november 6 2021 Um, and they had mag light flashlights in my eyes blinding me at 6 am on a saturday. You're you're asleep You're you're awoken from your slumber Um, and they and they and they come in and one of the things that struck me about the fbi Was I actually believe that the majority of these people are really good people Um, I I believe the people at the top are are fairly compromised And what what struck me about their body language is they realized That they were not doing the right thing and and I think some of them had a conscience and I know that Because one of them blew the whistle a guy named kyle serafin Uh fbi agent leaked some documents to to to us From a different source showing us that the the fbi knew we were news media. So my advice. Um, Uh, yeah, i've been attacked a lot legally Uh, you have to have good lawyers you can't you can't let lawyers stop the creative process But um, but there are uh, you have to do the right thing And you have to have backbone and you have to have integrity and um, even when you do the right thing and have integrity and behave ethically They'll accuse you of doing the wrong thing and you have to stand your ground in this matter with the fbi with the FBI, the ACLU ban, the American Civil Liberties Union, has defended me. That should shock your audience. The Reporters Committee, which consists of Wolf Blitzer, Andrea Mitchell, has defended me. And why are they defending me? Because they do the exact same thing I do. They publish material that was stolen. They print the Pentagon papers. And so what's his name? The Politico guy, Josh Gerstein, published the Roe versus Wade documents.
Politico covered this favorably. Do you think Josh Gerstein wants to be raided by the feds for publishing the leaked? And by the way, I defended. I may not like the leaker. We may not like the person in the Supreme Court to leak that. But I defend the right of the journalists to publish the leaked material. That is a very important American tradition. And and I think a lot of these left wing journalists are bent. Ben, they're afraid that that the three letter agencies might come for them. So in a strange twist of fate, they defended us. And I think that's actually a very hopeful thing.
And it's a good a good sign that we're not yet fully lost in society. We'll get to more on that in just one second. First, hiring used to be really, really hard. You post your job on multiple sites, hope that the right people see it, and then wait for them to apply. Well, now there is a place you can go that makes hiring faster and easier. ZipRecruiter. Head on over to ziprecruiter.com slash Ben Guest. Try it for free today. ZipRecruiter is matching technology excels at finding the most qualified candidates for a wide range of roles. If you see a candidate you like, you can easily send them a personal invite so they're more likely to apply. It also gives you a competitive edge against other employers who may also be interested in that candidate. Their user friendly dashboard makes it easy to filter, review and rate your candidates all from one place.
See how much easier hiring is with ZipRecruiter. Four out of five employers who post on ZipRecruiter will get a quality candidate within day one. See for yourself go to ziprecruiter.com slash Ben Guest to try ZipRecruiter for free. Again, that ziprecruiter.com slash Ben Guest. ZipRecruiter is indeed the smartest way to hire ziprecruiter.com slash Ben Guest to try for free. So Jen, you talked a lot about what what Andrew would call walking through the fire. You know, keep on going even when they're firing the arrows at you. Um, yeah, but over the course of 20 years, obviously, I have my own career regrets, things that I wish I had done differently. Well, what are some of the things that, you know, looking back, you wish that you had
done differently or known so that you would have done something differently? You know, that's a really good question and goes to the issue of regret because a lot of the things that happened to us form who we are, like the Louisiana thing. This is another long story, which I'll try to summarize in 30 seconds. I was arrested in a federal building in 2010. Remember that one with Mary Landrieu. And I spent three years on federal probation for a misdemeanor, class B misdemeanor, which I didn't commit. But and I was sort of like a pitying myself for three years. Oh, I wish I never did that. This was me. I was in a federal building with a camera. I was invited in her office. I showed my ID.
There was nothing illegal about what I did, but it was entry by false pretense, a misdemeanor because I was covertly recording. And I often for many years, I thought I wish that never happened. But it was actually the best thing that ever happened to me for three different reasons. A, I really started sending cameras to other people as opposed to doing everything myself because I was forced to. B, it humbled me without destroying me. It's very rare for a man to be humbled, but not ruined. I think the same thing sort of happened to me in the last 45 days. And it really, really taught me about the intricacies of law and how to manage attorneys. I didn't complete law school. I didn't go to Harvard Law School. I went to a small law school and dropped out after a year, but I feel like I'm an attorney. I think all good journalists sort of have to be lawyers because you have to, when you're in the field, you have to do the IRAC, issue rule analysis, conclusion, while you're recording, you have to understand the dynamics.
I've spent more time researching First Amendment law than most lawyers. In fact, as of last year, I had 22 outside counsel working for me and four inside counsel. So that process taught me so much. So you say, do you regret it? No. What do I regret? I mean, I will tell you that I've learned a lot from the Project Veritas situation. I never focused on board composition then. I probably should have. I never really focused on what was in my bylaws and my corporation. I probably should have. I'm a very tough man to work for, a very exacting guy.
I drive people pretty hard. I push people. But I probably should have done a better job of selecting who is on my board. And I need to make sure that the people that I surround myself with, particularly in an area like at the board or at the top, have really what we call testicular fortitude and who have a lot of integrity. I built a great production team and a great journalism team. I could have done a better job in those areas. And I learned from it. And because I learned from it, I don't regret it. I just, I'm going to be more effective moving forward.
And I think that things are happening for a reason and are happening as they should. So, you know, we talked a little bit before about what it's like to be on the receiving end of the tsunami. On a personal level, obviously, you know, you keep walking forward on business level in your public facing life. You always have to keep walking forward because the minute you show weakness in the industry that we both share in politics or pretty much any other industry, the minute you show weakness, That's just blood in the water to your enemies, and to your opponents. For me, on a personal level, one of the things that I've had to do is not only cultivate a thick skin, but also create a bubble around myself that's permeable by people I trust, but not permeable by anybody that I don't. Meaning I have a wife, I have kids, I have parents, I have siblings, I have a set of close friends, and then kind of outside of that, all the other opinions don't matter. So on a personal level, what sort of life have you tried to cultivate in order to both protect yourself, but also allow for criticisms that you have to hear
Here in order to get better at what you do to permeate? Well, on a professional level, you have to admit mistakes and you make them journalistically. And there's about three or four mistakes that I've made in my life, and I've admitted them. I'm talking about journalistic mistakes. Maybe you get the thing wrong or you misspell the name. On a personal level, this is a very interesting point, trust. You use the T word. You said, people that you trust. And I know that you know this. In the field that you're in, I'm in, it's very difficult to trust people. What does that word mean? I think it means people who, people say they're loyal, but loyalty almost has a connotation of like the mafia or you're loyal to someone.
It means to me, people who actually wouldn't take a bribe, they're in their soul, they're good people and they care about you. Like Jordan Peterson, who I know that you've been on with, he says it better than I can. He says, when you're doing well, they're happy for you. That's very rare. And when you're doing, when the chips are down, they'll have your back, never trust a man who, when the chips are down, they're gonna have your back. And I've been able to see these people, it's like that line in the movie Wall Street when he says, from the moment I laid my eyes on you, I knew you were gonna be successful. And then he says, after the guy was arrested, from the moment I laid my eyes on you, I knew you were no good. I can't tell you how many times I've seen that, But it's very difficult, Ben, to assess this in a person right away. And again, I haven't done the best job of that always, but these experiences help you. And on a personal level, yeah, it's hard to have really close friends and people want a piece of you. I know you're aware of this. People want a piece of you.
They want a photo with you. It's like everyone wants a part of you and it's tough to be a sane, normal human being and give yourself to everyone. So I think it is about surrounding yourself with the right people. And I am proud to say that OMG, O'Keefe Media Group.com, I think I've succeeded. And at least so far, I've identified 12 people. These are ride or die, excellent human beings. Let me tell you one more quick story. We're in a startup right now. We had to sit on the floor here. People were volunteering. One of my guys is a pastor in his real life and he put the whistleblower's flight on his credit card last week. Luckily, we've been able to pay all the credit cards off because of the subscriptions.
But these are the sorts of people that you need. You need people who are willing, who are brave, who are just excellent human beings. And I don't know if that makes sense, but you gotta go through the SHIT
to figure out who those people are. So James, one of the things that people may have noticed about your videos is that some of them have a lot of flair to them. Some of them are very provocative. It's not just gonna be watching a CNN broadcast. Sometimes you have humor in there or you have even song and dance depending on what you're doing. How do you balance the need to do the journalistic stuff with sort of that creative itch that you wanna scratch? Because obviously you've had that for as long as I've known you.
Yeah, and some people don't like it and I understand. And I would say to them that I wouldn't be a storyteller if I didn't have the artistic flair because this is about storytelling. I'm not motivated by power or politics. I wouldn't even say I'm a political person. I do cover political stories, but I'm really more of a storyteller. That's what motivates me. I'm a thespian, I did Oklahoma last year. People got upset because I took my nonprofit staff and brought them down on a tour bus to see me perform. I took three weeks off. I took a paid leave of absence to do that. People got upset about that, but that's who I am. And I don't think there ever would have been a Project Veritas had I not been that way.
And there wouldn't be an Acorn investigation had not had that flair. And credit to Hannah, she's the one who came up with it. She had a flair too. Not everyone likes it, but it's who I am. And if you saw my advertisement for OMG, I danced. It's just who I am.
It's just who I am. So, obviously you look at the political scenario right now. It is a target rich environment if ever there has been one. Elite institutions control more of our lives than ever at any time in certainly my lifetime. Since the pandemic, it seems like every institution has gained consolidated control or more consolidated control. So I'm not asking you to reveal any of the stories that you're gonna be researching, but which areas do you think are sort of the targets?
If you could put a focus on them, you would. I've been focusing a lot on education over the last year because I think everyone agrees you don't mess with the mama bears. And I think we're so divided in this country, morally, politically, every which way. I feel the education issue does unite 85% of people. You just don't abuse kindergartners. So that's one area that I'm passionate about because I think you shouldn't abuse children. And I think we can unite around the fact that child abuse is wrong. We disagree about what child abuse is, but I think we can unite around the fact that you don't target children. Also the three-letter agencies, I think the federal agencies, I may testify in Congress about the FBI raid. Jim Jordan has written about that with me. And third is the pharmaceutical companies. I think we need to stay on the Pfizer beat and some of what they're doing.
I do think they do some good things. I think the drug companies are needed in some respects, but I think some of the lies that we've exposed, like why are they lying to their consumers of other products? Those are three areas, I think. If that sounds good to you and you're watching this program and you're a citizen out there, it's not for everybody, but we can ship you a camera if you go to this website, okeefmediagroup.com, that will help you tell your stories, because there's a lot of people with a conscience
out there that want to do that. Well, that is James O'Keefe. Check out okeefmediagroup.com. James, really appreciate the time.
Congrats on the new enterprise and look forward to seeing what you do next.
Thanks, Ben. The Ben Shapiro Show Sunday special is produced by Mathis Glover. Editing is by Jim Nickel. Post production is managed by Matt Kemp. Camera and lighting is by Zach Jinta. Hair, makeup, and wardrobe is by Fabiola Christina. Title graphics are by Cynthia Angulo. Executive in charge of production, David Warmus. And producer, Jeremy Boring. The Ben Shapiro Show Sunday special is a Daily Wire production. Copyright Daily Wire 2023.