Video Purporting to Show Mockery of Greg Abbott's Disability Is Unbelievably Misleading

Categories: Politics

abbott.jpg
Conservative agent provocateur James O'Keefe's latest undercover video sting seemed to feed the narrative that Democrats just go around constantly making fun of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's wheelchair. This is what O'Keefe is good at: Using hidden cameras to film targets, then editing the hell out of the footage to make it sound like they're saying something they're actually not. He brought down ACORN with one of these, though the premise didn't withstand scrutiny of his raw footage. Same with his sting of an NPR fundraiser. Both resulted in knee-jerk consequences for the subjects, but were eventually found to be misleading at best.

So it is with the video that seems to Battleground Texas volunteers and Wendy Davis supporters mocking Abbott's wheelchair, or his inability to stand.

First, a "Project Veritas investigator," going by the name "Wendy Johnson," enters the living room of Dallas attorney Lisa Wortham's Lewisville home. The edited video captures Wortham saying, "I'm really wondering how this is going to work out since he's in a wheelchair and the slogans are saying, 'Stand with Wendy.'" Some laughter follows.

"And it's in our subconscious now," she continues in the video. "So it's interesting to me to see, from a psychological point of view, how it's going to play out."

At another meeting of Democrats in Austin, we hear a woman say, "First of all, he's not good-looking. He doesn't speak very well. And he's in a wheelchair." This last is followed by a man's derisive laughter.

Its release drew the conservative outrage you'd expect. But even Wendy Davis was quoted saying the comments were "abhorrent."

Yet if you watch the raw footage Project Veritas provides on its YouTube page, you might come away with a different reaction. To say that context had been edited out is to put it mildly. Here is Wortham's statement in full: "Give me some feedback. I'm really wondering how this is going to work out since he's in a wheelchair and the slogans are 'Stand with Wendy,' and 'Stand with Texas Women.' Isn't that amazing to think of? He's in a wheelchair and we want to "Stand with Wendy.'"

"That's just something," she began, and laughed a little, seeming somewhat embarrassed. "You don't want to be rude....
"I think we're just looking at it more because of her filibuster," says another woman.
"Oh I know, exactly, that's a Twitter thing, a...."
"A hashtag."
"Yeah, and it's in our subconscious now. So it's interesting to me to see from a psychological point of view how it's going to play out."

In context, her comments appear to pertain to how a broader electorate will react to Davis' slogan in relation to her opponent's disability. The conversation does get harsher, but on grounds of hypocrisy, not disability -- that his support of tort reform doesn't jibe with the multimillion-dollar settlement he won after being paralyzed by a falling tree branch.

The same goes for the comments of the woman who seemed to be making fun of his wheelchair. Here are her full comments: "Greg Abbott is really not a sure thing and he's really not -- maybe -- real electable. First of all, he's not good-looking. He doesn't speak very well. He doesn't have a good personality. And he's in a wheelchair. He doesn't have good hair -- I guess that goes with the good-looking part. Texans are prejudiced. I'm from West Texas, and they want their governor to be rah-rah, boots, hats, go wherever they want, so it's not a sure thing."

In full context, she's got a jaundiced eye about how the electorate will react to his disability. She's not making fun of it. Even worse, the harsh laughing that follows the wheelchair comment in O'Keefe's edited video actually comes later in the raw footage, after her comment about his hair.

I spoke with O'Keefe about these criticisms of his work -- that they're misleading and selectively edited -- for an upcoming feature story. He was largely dismissive, noting that in most cases his investigations led to resignations and firings, real-world consequences. But as his history as shown, these usually come before anybody has had a chance to vet the allegations.
H/T Austin American-Statesman


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50 comments
EdD.
EdD.

His defense is that his lies get results? I've seen cleverly edited videos that have President Obama singing "Call Me Maybe" and the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation singing "Let It Snow". They're effectively entertaining but they're proof only of some editor's skill, nothing more. 

roo_ster
roo_ster

Of course the initial video is edited for maximum impact.  Post 45 minutes of video to youtube with a comment, "Hey look at 25:15 and 36:48 for the good stuff!!!" is a fine way to ensure no one sees your video.  


O'Keefe has the honesty to also post the entirety so folks can see it, which is more than most journalists do.  


I am interested to see what sort of "context" would show ACORN to be an innocent little lamb, after its employees conspired to commit a felony on tape.


I do enjoy making the lefties live up to the standards they impose on others.

Catbird
Catbird

I'm no fan of most republicans and despise the democrats for obvious reasons. But the tape is the tape and the politic is big league; they do it to each other all the time and have for decades. You can bet that someone out there has a tape showing Abbott getting up out of his wheelchair and dancing the marimba with Elizabeth Hurley. The video means nothing.   

LOOKatME-Rudeski
LOOKatME-Rudeski

The fun fact from this is that showing Tea Bagger's to be the bigots they are requires NO EDITING whatsoever.   Their harsh and hateful rhetoric is straight to video. 


And we have seen the widely dispersed pics of Abbott showing us how he can still kill a deer.  (as long as it is 5 feet away, eating and being held down by 8 fellow baggers.   Plus, if you believe in the power of prayer, then it is clear that Greg Abbott will walk again if it is the will of the Lord.  

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

arguing about the placement of deck chairs on the Titanic.

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

Looks like O'Keefe may be angling for a job with major media.

pak152
pak152

"I spoke with O'Keefe about these criticisms of his work -- that they're misleading and selectively edited" he's just following the Alinsky rules that's all.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

so what's your point?

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

So, the defense is, "we didn't make fun of him, we just think that the people who we want to elect us are prejudiced bigots who will laugh at him! And by "those people" we mean YOU."

LeroyJenkem
LeroyJenkem

Sadly, O'Keefe has all of the relevance and gravitas of one of those goofy Facebook memes that's been shared by all of your equally goofy relations. You know, like the one making the rounds about how the flammable "snow" in Alabama and Mississippi last week was the side-effect of Obama's napalming Heaven. I say "sadly" because, much like young-earth creationism and Rick Perry's Presidential chances, there's always a herd of idiots perfectly willing to keep backing thoroughly discredited and debunked ideas because those ideas back their own views. As the joke goes, they all have a point, and if they wear hats, you can't see it.

libtard_apologist
libtard_apologist

How much does the DNC pay the observer's libtard bloggers for their non-stop propagandizing?

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

When Abbott hunts from his camo wheelchair, does he only shoot lame deer?

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

I have 324 cleverly-edited videos of several people saying "if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance", but none of them are as important to liberal democrats as O'Keefe, but the lies got big-time results.

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

Funny you should mention Elizabeth Hurley at this point in time.

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

"The fun fact from this is that showing Tea Bagger's to be the bigots they are requires NO EDITING whatsoever. "

Got a link?

How about those videos from the hundreds of cellphones recording the democrat march of victory after the Obamacare scam was passed, in which the N-word was thrown repeatedly,and the black guy was spat on?

What? They don't exist? It was a big fat lie? Gosh, what a freakin' surprise!

dingo
dingo

@TeaBaggingJesus  

So any American that is frustrated with an ever growing federal government that lies to, spies on, and targets citizens is a harsh and hateful racist.

bmarvel
bmarvel

@ruddski But, wait ruddski! You were boasting not so long ago  that you "feel comfortable"with the media. Could it be that you, perhaps, bend your ideas to fit your argument at the moment? 

bmarvel
bmarvel

@pak152 So, pak152, we can assume you:

(A) Disapprove of this technique whether practiced by O'Keefe or Alinsky 

 or (B) Approve of it in either case? 


I've never understood the morality of the "but the other side does it" argument.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@pak152  Yup, make them live up to their own rules.  The Establishment Media (including the Observer) does this to Republicans all the time.  This is just making the Democrats live by the rules they have already established for Republicans.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@everlastingphelps  

She's not saying that at all. She's saying that Texans have a certain mental image of what a Texas governor is, and Abbott doesn't really fit the mold. That fact may affect voter turnout in such a way that is favorable to the Davis campaign.


That's a looooong reach to bigotry.

MattL11
MattL11

@everlastingphelps  I think it's more that the opposition and the media would seize on it. But way to put the most negative spin on it possible. It's dirty, unnecessary, difficult work, but somebody doesn't have to do it. 

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

If O'Keefe is irrelevant, why does he rattle the left so much?

bmarvel
bmarvel

@Montemalone Proving, Montemalone, that both sides can be ugly.  Thanks for giving the O'Keefe film some credence.

JFPO
JFPO

You're not helping.

LOOKatME-Rudeski
LOOKatME-Rudeski

@dingo @TeaBaggingJesus Not sure if that is a question or a statement and not sure what is meant.


To be clear.   The "libtards" should never back down from a mud fight with "baggers".   In the past, "libtards" have tried to take the high road and are constantly apologizing for what "baggers" deem to be offensive.   While "baggers" simply stand by their statements and end up getting gigs on Fox news and promoted in the public eye for such comments.   (ie Ted Cruz etc)  Someone that speaks out against spying is not a racist.  Unless, of course, they are a racist who is speaking out against spying. 

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

I don't think you quite got it, bmarv.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@bmarvel

if you want to understand the "morality of the "but the other side does it", just go and ask a 5 year old to explain.

they are the ones who invented it, and the people who use it are just acting like that 5 year old.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@MattL11 @everlastingphelps  It's not hard to put a "negative spin" on negative statements.  She called the entirety of Texas "prejudiced."  There's no extra 'context' that needs to go in there.  Wendy Davis' campaign thinks Texas is full of prejudice.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@bmarvel @Montemalone 

I'm not on either "side".

I get attacked from both sides.

Abbott and that whole bunch of selfish, hateful, greedy bastards that believe in what's mine is mine and fuck you are fair game.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@JFPO

You're right. How could I have screwed that one up.

I meant "lame duck".

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@TheCredibleHulk @everlastingphelps  Here's the thing for you two -- everybody reading this who isn't a sniveling apologist does know that.  That means that the 100 lurkers reading for every poster think that you are either incredibly stupid, or are flat out liars.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@everlastingphelps @TheCredibleHulk  

Where in my post do you see the word "prejudiced"?


You're a legal guy, you understand that the word "prejudice" can be interpreted differently based on the context of the situation, right? Nuance, and all that? We all hold prejudices, but that does not make us all bigots, does it?


You brought the term "bigot" to the conversation, I was responding specifically to that. 

MattL11
MattL11

@everlastingphelps @MattL11  She's clearly referring to the people who would otherwise vote for Greg Abbott, which is a largely true statement. Plus, I've lived here a long time. Texans are prejudiced. 

ruddski
ruddski topcommenter

The cry of a loser.

bmarvel
bmarvel

@Montemalone @bmarvel Monte -- here's a great comment on this idiotic urge to sort Americans into "conservatives"and "liberals" that I found over on another blogsite, by somebody who styles himself Zip_Nip: 

"If you’re dumb enough to believe that 300+ million different combinations of human thoughts, emotions, ideas, needs, desires and concerns can be summed up neatly into one of two ‘sides’ – red or blue – then you deserve to remain ignorant."

I'd say that sums it up perfectly. Wish I'd written it.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

@bmarvel  

I'm a radical moderate.

I believe in government to be there to take care of things that as a civilized society we should all believe in. The social safety net saves lives. Of course, I'm disgusted by the segment of society that has been weaned onto the government teet and has no desire to let go. That doesn't mean you get rid of the whole thing. Humans are intelligent, believe it or not, and we'll just have to figure out some way to get people out of that mind set.

A bunch of selfish rich people living in gated subdivisions whining that they pay too many taxes while simultaneously benefitting from the society we have that was built through government rules and regulations and spending to create the infrastructure and legal system that allows for the accumulation of vast wealth disgust me as well.

If you make it in this country, you didn't do that alone.

Freedom, right.

Freedom to not be able to marry in Texas, since I'm a fag.

Freedom to not be able to grow a little weed in the backyard for personal use without getting the house and everything else confiscated and probably getting tossed in the pokey too.


Both sides are clinging to power by shafting me.

LOOKatME-Rudeski
LOOKatME-Rudeski

@Montemalone @bmarvel Yeah.....the last thing Progressives should do is to get in the mud with the Baggers because taking the high road has proved to be so beneficial. 


It is time to fight fire with fire.   One can clearly tell from THIS blog that baggers can dish out far more than they can take.   So lame duck or lame deer or deer lame duck dynasty.  Get off the high road as we know it leads to a Rick Perry hell for year after year.

bmarvel
bmarvel

@Montemalone @bmarvelAnd all that has what to do with his "cameo wheel chair?" This isn't a matter of "sides." It's a matter of having your head together.

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