UPDATE as of July 4, 2013:
Correction, Apology and Clarification
I wrote back in March of 2011 – and reprinted again in May of this year – the following …
“… I was told that O’Keefe had secretly recorded his conversation with Dale Ahlquist and me at the closing banquet of the Chesterton conference months earlier”
This week James O’Keefe contacted me, quite angry that I had written that and that Mark Shea had run with it on his blog.
James O’Keefe denies recording our private conversation at the Chesterton Banquet in 2011, and after sharing quite a few messages back and forth on Facebook, I must say I believe him. His explanation for how I heard what I heard makes sense, and so allow me to offer him here publicly an apology.
In addition, James pointed out that I should have contacted him when I heard from my source that he had recorded me back in 2011, to verify or at least to get his reaction to that claim.
He is quite right. It was unprofessional of me not to do that.
As I explained to James, this is the era or self-published journalism, and sometimes we self-published journalists don’t do what a professional journalist should. That’s no excuse, but it is an explanation.
And let me go on to say that, although I disagree with some of O’Keefe’s and Live Action’s tactics, I think both he and Lila Rose are brave and daunting young people who are fighting on the right side of the battle. I have said that from the beginning, and it needs reiterating here, especially after all of the theological tiffs that have ensued over Lying.
Anyway, about the same time he imploded he was invited out to a meeting of American Chesterton Society and treated quite nicely. (O’Keefe had spoken somewhere of Chesterton as an inspiration.) He ate dinner with Dale Ahlquist, Kevin O’Brien and others and the conversation was the typically convivial bonhomie you encounter at any Chesterton conference. He was accorded their complete trust.
According to those who were there,
he rewarded that trust by secretly recording the conversations that evening.