Trust placed in media continues to be at an all-time low.
In July 2017, Gallup found that 60% of respondents believe the media reports inaccurately. It doesn’t help that most outspoken members of the Fourth Estate are dishonest about their political orientations, nor does it help when they give preferential coverage to events like the March For Our Lives over the March for Life.
The media doesn’t do itself any favors discounting viewers residing Flyover Country (Middle America), rural counties, or those outside the confines of the Acela Corridor. After the election of President Donald Trump, their biases came to light even more and their disdain for reporting the truth became increasingly clear.
Granted, there are members of the mainstream media like Jake Tapper, Yashar Ali, and others who aren’t necessarily mired by a left-leaning agenda on notable issues. Reporters like Tapper, for instance, tend to constructively criticize both parties regardless of administration. Nevertheless, the few outliers at mainstream sources are sadly outweighed by their more partisan colleagues. This bitter partisanship—compounded by them acting as gatekeepers for the Democrat Party—has drawn parallels between them and the Soviet Union’s Pravda, as encapsulated by investigative reporter and Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe’s new book.
O’Keefe’s sophomore book American Pravda, which succeeds the 2014 bestseller Breakthrough and as of this writing sits atop #1 spot of Amazon’s bestseller’s in Journalist Biographies, explores how his organization Project Veritas has relentlessly pursued the truth—in the fashion of the self-publishing Soviet-era Samizdat —against the establishment media, which he argues, at times, behaves like Pravda. While many will find this to be an illusory correlation, he’s not entirely wrong.
For context, Pravda was a Soviet news publications weaponized by Soviet dictators like Joseph Stalin to push an agenda. As I wrote here at The Resurgent earlier, here’s what Pravda did per Washington Post:
Stalin used the press, unburdened by facts, to create an enclosed atmosphere where paranoid fantasy had to be accepted as reality. He gaslighted his victims, and an entire nation, besides. There was seemingly no way out. (Pravda means truth in Russian, and the name of the other Soviet leading paper, Izvestia, means news; as the old joke had it, there was no truth in Pravda and no news in Izvestia.)
The book explores beyond O’Keefe’s direct participation in his investigative work. Over the years, he’s largely shifted from direct participation in undercover videos to overseeing Project Veritas. O’Keefe may have started Project Veritas but it’s not simply about him, the book stresses. It’s about his employees and their overall quest for truth. He’s accrued a team of hardworking, loyal employees and undercover reporters throughout the years. Pravda clues readers into the evolution of O’Keefe’s work, from admitting past mistakes to showing maturation of his conduct and careful attention to detail in executing a mission and effectuating policy changes.
Throughout the book, O’Keefe draws great inspiration for Pravda from the original muckrakers of the early 20th Century who sought to expose corruption. He laments how modern-day journalists have abandoned integrity and fail to learn from their predecessors—simply to protect Democrat nominee for president Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.
The various anecdotes he provides give readers an inside look into the success of his and Project Veritas’ work holding the media, politicians, and advocacy groups accountable for their misdeeds. How many other journalistic entities can claim credit for talking down ACORN?
O’Keefe’s undercover videos have received immense scrutiny—though I believe much of it is misplaced. Generally speaking, I’ve been supportive of the majority of James’ work, bearing an exception or two. Though they’ve made a lasting impression on his targets, supporters, and even high levels of the U.S. government, PV doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Recently, undercover reporters for Channel 4 in Great Britain blew the whistle on Cambridge Analytica using the same recording tactics as Project Veritas. Yet the former is heralded as deserving of a Pulitzer Prize, while the latter is simply a tool of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. Funny how selective praise is when it comes to exposes.
I’m convinced American Pravda can even get O’Keefe’s detractors to consider his work from a purely objective lens. The establishment media shouldn’t hold a monopoly on reporting or truth-seeking. The way we communicate and absorb information today is ever-changing, and it’s inevitable to see a change in how news is delivered too from a creative disruptive edge. To those who value truth-seeking, regardless of political orientation, they’ll find value in this timely book. O’Keefe and his fellow creative disruptors have forced corrupt organizations to go out of business, politicians or consultants resign, and laws to change.
Without a doubt James’ work with Project Veritas has been consequential, and for the betterment for our government and culture. Don’t simply take my word for it. Pick up a copy of American Pravda today.