17 November 2010

O'Keefe's newest regurgitation: "Teacher's Unions Gone Wild"

So let's say you're a teacher in a bar at night, after a conference of your local teacher's union, having a few drinks. It's been a long day, and maybe you're a little lonely.  So you're understandably happy and flattered when a nice guy starts buying you drinks and flirting with you. He's a little younger than you, but is decent-looking. He's also interested about your job! You guys chat, and you end up telling him some stories about how bad some other teachers are and some of the things you've seen.

You're a good teacher - some might even say a great one. In 1997, a van went out of control and skidded towards your students, and you threw yourself in the way, shoving two of them out of its path, and were hit yourself. Your broke your ribs, your wrist, were covered in bruises, and got glass in your eyes. But you saved the children, and President Clinton sent you a letter of commendation calling you a "true hero."

So you laugh and express your disgust with how bad some other teachers are, and how hard it is to get rid of some of them.

"It's really hard to fire a tenured teacher, really hard," you say. "Like you seriously have to be out in the hallway fucking somebody. ... We had this teacher that was just recently like, 'You nigger! [to a student], and he's just been moved down. The teacher's been demoted, but he's still teaching."

So are you a monster? Conservative activist James O'Keefe thinks so.

Alissa Ploshnik risked her life and was hit by a van to save the children she teaches and cares for. I don't guess she ever thought that her complaints and chatting in a bar at night were being secretly recorded, so that they could be set wildly out of context to try to make her look bad.  She probably just thought she was talking to a decent human being.

As it turns out, the story she told was probably just a rumor, but by using the word "nigger" in telling about it in a private conversation, Ploshnik was punished by being put on suspension, and she will lose a scheduled raise.  Yeah.  That seems fair.

Ploshnik is only the most egregious example of this latest most disgusting video from James O'Keefe. You may remember him from the ACORN videos, or from the time he was arrested trying to wiretap Senator Landrieu, or the time he tried to set up a CNN reporter for an on-video seduction. But this is probably the lowest he's sunk.

Even more remarkable is that his material is so completely harmless. If it wasn't for the overbearing voiceover and graphics imitating the Girls Gone Wild videos, almost nothing we see on the video is objectionable. A teacher playing a video game in the hotel lobby during the conference, laughing about playing games on their dime? A teacher questioning how to deal with violent students and complaining about questionable methods in her school that she wants to fix? Teachers complaining about the governor? Teachers in a bar with - gasp - drinks in their hands? O'Keefe promises "Teacher's Unions Gone Wild" and stories of "Voter Fraud" and even worse, but this is about the most unobjectionable "shocking" video I've ever seen.

O'Keefe has done a lot of slimy things, but this newest stunt is not just disgustingly dishonest, it's actually a little boring.

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