DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Conservative activist and investigative reporter James O’Keefe is still planning to appear at an event at Southern Methodist University’s Young American’s for Freedom chapter on Wednesday.
Allegations of sexual misconduct by Moore were reported in The Post earlier in November.
According to the Associated Press, the paper determined that one accuser who approached the newspaper earlier in the month, identified as Jaime Phillips, made up a fake story likely designed to embarrass the newspaper.
The Post published a story Monday about its dealings with Phillips. Earlier in the day, reporters from the newspaper saw Phillips walking into the New York offices of Project Veritas, a conservative group with a long track record of targeting Democratic groups and major media outlets, often by hiding their identities and using hidden cameras. O’Keefe is the leader of Project Veritas.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Andrew LaGesse, SMU Young American’s for Freedom Recruiting Officer said O’Keefe was still welcome to speak.
“SMU Young Americans for Freedom invited Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe to speak at SMU because his experience in investigative journalism and holding organizations and media outlets accountable makes him noteworthy,” said LaGesse. ” Among the goals of Young Americans for Freedom is seeking to provide the SMU community with opportunities to hear from relevant individuals about important topics in political and civil discourse,” he continued.
LaGesse said that it is an opportunity to hear O’Keefe’s perspective “directly” and to ask him “challenging questions during the Q&A session” if they desire.
LaGesse told CBS DFW that he expects to see protests and opposition to O’Keefe’s appearance.
In his statement Lagesse went on to say, “Young Americans for Freedom and Young America’s Foundation have never encouraged student activists to pursue undercover investigations. However, as Mr. O’Keefe’s past work has demonstrated, undercover journalism can help improve the integrity of powerful organizations. In our view, a free society requires journalists to pursue challenging stories, and individuals and organizations to be held accountable. We do also recognize it is important for those journalists to act with the same integrity they aim to ensure.”
LaGeese said that they expect that the conversation will be ‘robust’ and that they “look forward” to the event. “In what manner Mr. O’Keefe chooses to engage in his work at Project Veritas is up to him. SMU YAF invited him to speak to provide our community an opportunity to hear and respond to his perspective,” said LaGeese.
When asked Monday about the post story O’Keefe told the Associated Press, “We don’t comment on investigations real or imagined, or imagined stings.”
O’Keefe released an unrelated video that he said exposed liberal bias at the newspaper hours after the Post story was initially published.
The video featured a series of secretly recorded conversations with Post employees. One reporter, Dan Lamothe, suggests the Post’s opinion page is too critical of the Trump administration. He also says its more traditional news coverage calls out the Trump administration’s missteps while giving “him credit where there’s credit” due.
The Post reported Monday afternoon that Phillips approached one of its reporters earlier in the month as Moore faced several accusations of sexual misconduct. In a series of interviews over two weeks, Phillips told the Post about an alleged sexual relationship with Moore in 1992 that led to an abortion when she was 15.
She repeatedly pressed Post reporters to give their opinions on the effects that her claims could have on Moore’s candidacy if she went public, the newspaper reported. The Post did not publish Phillips’ claims and confronted her with inconsistencies in her story. She told the Post she was not working with any organization that targets journalists.
A previous O’Keefe sting led to the demise of ACORN, a community organizing group that O’Keefe portrayed as engaged in criminal activity via hidden camera videos. O’Keefe was convicted in 2010 as part of a scheme to illegally make recordings at the office of then-Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)