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HomeIllinois NewsThorner: Heartland Institute honors controversial truth-seeker James O'Keefe

Thorner: Heartland Institute honors controversial truth-seeker James O’Keefe

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By Nancy Thorner - 

The Heartland Institute's 37th Anniversary Benefit Dinner featuring James O'Keefe was held on Friday, September 24, 2021, at the Marriott Chicago O'Hare, Chicago, Illinois. The title of the event, James O'Keefe Uncensored, lived up to its expectations.

The Heartland Institute is a nonprofit research and education organization devoted to discovering, developing, and promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems.

James O'Keefe could fairly be described as "the most dangerous man in America," if you are a corrupt leftist organization.  O'Keefe and his brave team of journalists of Project Veritas investigates and exposes corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, and other misconduct.  Because our corporate media is utterly corrupt, it's up to O'Keefe and Project Veritas to expose, as their name says, "the truth."

O'Keefe established Project Veritas in 2011 as a non-profit journalism enterprise to continue his undercover reporting work.  O’Keefe serves as the CEO and Chairman of the Board, so that he can continue to lead and teach his fellow journalists, as well as protect and nurture the Project Veritas culture.

In recognition of O'Keefe's work, Heartland awarded him its prestigious Liberty Prize.  

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Heartland Liberty Prize Award to James E. O'Keefe III

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James Taylor, president of The Heartland Institute, joked that it took 20 years of working at Heartland Institute before he could get up on the main stage.  The Heartland’s Board of Directors unanimously elected James Taylor president of The Heartland Institute on March 18, 2020.  Jim Lakely is Vice President.
 
Cited by Taylor were the accomplishment (new programs) put into place during the past two years:
 
1.  Stopping Socialism website: Justin Haskins leads this website.  He has 200,000 followers. 
 
2.  Global Warming websites: Heartland Institute President James Taylor heads those.

 
3.  Government Relations website: The government legislative team is Samantha Fillmore and Cameron Fillmore.  They work with state legislators.
 
As to the academic influence of The Heartland Institute, Taylor proudly cited that out of 50 of the most important think tanks in the world, Heartland came in at eighteen.  Those ranked above Heartland all had ten times as much funding as did Heartland.
 
Screen Shot 2021-10-06 at 9.33.16 AMJames O'Keefe didn't mince words when he said we were living in troubling times.  As O'Keefe suggested:  A person is now called a liar for stating reality.  We are no longer permitted to say that 2 + 2 equals 4.
 
Although James O'Keefe is just one person, what he exposes through Project Veritas inspires others to recognize truth and pass it along. 
 
Such is reflected through Project Veritas' mission statement shared below:
 
In order to create a just world where there is equal opportunity for citizens, we, Project Veritas give people hope by being the custodians and providing parameters to prevent social breakdown.   We, Project Veritas,are the vehicle that gives people the inspiration act and permission to be change agent, catalysts for citizen empowerment and the inspiration to create moral courage  We, Project Veritas, are the answer to the question, "What can I do.
 
O'Keefe shares Project Veritas hidden camera projects
 
O'Keefe didn't disappoint.  He proceeded to describe several Project Veritas hidden camera projects, starting with his two most recent ones fresh in the minds of attendees.
 
 
 
 
California AP Government teacher, Gabriel Gipe, boasting about politically indoctrinating his students at Inderkum High School. “I have 180 days to turn them [students] into revolutionaries…Scare the f*ck out of them.”
 
Gipe was terminated by the school district ahead of the intense Natomas Unified School Board meeting where parents showed up in droves demanding justice for their children, demanding the teacher be fired, and even demanding criminal prosecution, after seeing the Project Veritas video.
 
December 1, 2020:  James O'Keefe breaks in on live CNN call tells Jeffer Zucker he's been secretly recording calls for months to inform the network chief that O’Keefe is set to release secret recordings of insider calls allegedly revealing efforts to taint news coverage in favor of a certain political party and its members.
 
Another one targeting CNN
 
 
CNN technical director, Charlie Chester, was caught on Project Veritas hidden camera video where he made candid admission to an undercover Project Veritas reporter, he thought he was on date with, after listing his employer on TINDER.  Project Veritas video shows Chester boasting of 'propaganda' tactics used by the network: “We would always show shots of him jogging” Chester said of Biden.
 
“Look what we did, we got Trump out. I am 100 percent going to say it, and I’m 100 percent believe that if it wasn't for CNN, I don't know that Trump would have got voted out.  I came to CNN because I wanted to be a part of that.”
 
Two memorable videos
 
O'Keefe is best known for a 2009 take down of a prominent community organizing group called ACORN. In a series of stings, O'Keefe presented himself as a pimp and sought advice from ACORN staffers about operating a brothel and evading taxes. 
 
James began his career as a hidden camera provocateur while studying at Rutgers University in 2004. In his first-ever recorded "sting", O'Keefe and several other students met with Rutgers dining staff to demand the removal of Lucky Charms cereal from campus cafeterias, arguing that its leprechaun mascot represents an offensive stereotype of Irish-Americans.
 
His intent in carrying out this glorified prank was to "illustrate the absurdity that is political correctness" and place school officials in a no-win situation where they would either have to appear insensitive to an ethnic group or willing to cave in to trivial complaints.   
 
Unsettling O'Keefe moments
 
It hasn't all been smooth sailing for James O'Keefe and his Project Veritas video exposures, but James is pleased of his victory in a defamation action lawsuit against the New York Times on March 21, 2021. 
 
In a 16-page decision, New York Supreme Court Justice Charles Wood ruled against the newspaper’s motion to dismiss and found that Project Veritas had shown sufficient evidence that the New York Times might have been motivated by “actual malice” and acted with “reckless disregard” in several articles written by Maggie Astor and Tiffany Hsu. The decision will allow Project Veritas access to discovery.
 
Notably, The New York Times argued that there was nothing wrong with the articles because the reporters were stating their opinions.  Project Veritas noted that the paper’s own ethical policies prohibit news reporters from injecting their subjective opinions into news stories.
 
On the downside, On April 14, 2021 James O’Keefe was suspended permanently from Twitter.  O’Keefe claimed in a post on Facebook that the suspension was linked to his recent reporting on CNN. 
 
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Remarks by Chairman of Heartland Board, Joseph A. Morris 
 
Said Morris:  "Every element of the U.S. is under attack.  It is impossible to verify what is the truth, for by stopping debate truth has been crushed.  The legacy of western civilization is being attacked." 
 
Morris questioned why there are those who hate America with such intensity.  "Created as the most prosperous place and the most free and open society in the world, if left to our own devices. “
 
“Truth must be put out in the sunshine. Humor is so important when saying things that you aren't supposed to say."  
 
Morris also applauded the people who work at Heartland who distribute information into the hands of those who can make a difference. 
 
James Taylor adds closing remarks
 
“Many may feel we are fighting an un-winnable battle.”  
 
He encouraged all gathered to go back to 2009 when everyday Americans, through the Tea Party Movement, stood up to take their country back.  The same must happen in 2022 and 2024.  "We the people must fight for liberty and truth and be willing to share our convictions with others." 
 
Taylor's final words: "Keep the torch lit."
 
Of further interest
 
Check out James O'Keefe's new book:  American Muckraker: Rethinking Journalism for the 21st Century Hardcover – Released January 25, 2021.  All proceeds go to Project Veritas.
 
O’Keefe revealed that he and Project Veritas is without a home after the damage caused by Hurricane Ida in Mamaroneck, New York.  O'Keefe, however, assured all that his reporters are everywhere. 
 
For as O'Keefe knows only too well, the only fear out there is the fear of being exposed.

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