March 9, 2011 -- For his newest undercover expose, James O'Keefe, the conservative activist, went all out. The self-proclaimed investigative journalist even created a website for a fictitious Muslim group requesting a meeting with NPR.
A spokeswoman for NPR said they made their standard request for a list of the group's donors, board members and tax forms, but never received them. Despite these "red flags," the meeting went ahead.
The meeting, over lunch, was secretly videotaped by O'Keefe and the NPR executives who attended gave him exactly what he wanted.
NPR CEO Vivian Schiller and NPR Foundation President Ron Schiller have both resigned after comments made during the lunch were released to the public. Ron Schiller (the two executives are not related) was recorded calling Tea Party members "xenophobic" and "seriously racist people" who are "fanatically involved in people's personal lives."
This was just the latest in a series of what have been called undercover guerrilla videos by the 26-year-old O'Keefe, whose aim has been to embarrass or ensnare liberal groups.
"This is no joke. We're called to do this and we're gonna devote our lives to doing it," O'Keefe said while accepting an award for his work.
Last year, O'Keefe and a female associate posing as a prostitute taped members of the activist group ACORN advising them on how to conceal the woman's criminal activities to get a home mortgage. Other targets have included the pro-choice group Planned Parenthood and New Jersey's teachers union.
"These are tactics journalists have been using for decades, going undercover, confronting subjects, posing as characters," O'Keefe told ABC News.
"James O'Keefe obviously sees the media as liberal and is trying to provide some sort of counterbalance by going after liberal institutions that he thinks the mainstream media won't touch," said the Daily Beast/Newsweek's Howard Kurtz. "Of course he does that by lying and deception...and so far it's been pretty effective."
James O'Keefe, the Man Who Brought Down NPR's Chief
While O'Keefe was instrumental in causing ACORN's bankruptcy and the resignation of executives at NPR, not all his operations have been as successful. Last year O'Keefe and three associates were caught when they tried to secretly videotape inside Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office. O'Keefe accepted a misdemeanor charge and was sentenced to three years probation.