Different Category Of Gotcha


One more point on the latest James O’Keefe shenanigans.

There’s a lot of backstory here, not least of which is that Jim Letten’s office prosecuted O’Keefe and his posse for their 2010 “prank” on Sen. Mary Landreiu’s office in which they gained access by posing as telephone repairmen.

But the main thing to keep in mind in gauging Letten’s reaction is that Letten probably couldn’t care less whether O’Keefe is operating as a conservative activist (the term of art Letten uses in the video is “political extremist nutjob”) or as the journalist speaking truth to power that he fancies himself to be. As a career prosecutor, Letten is indifferent to which of those boxes O’Keefe fits in.

In his mind, O’Keefe is a former criminal defendant who showed up at Letten’s home and talked to his spouse. That taps into the deepest, darkest fears of prosecutors. It’s in a different category than the usual O’Keefe on-camera gotcha and may explain in part why the man who took down Edwin Edwards is so livid in that video.


David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.