Beck vs. O’Keefe

Glenn Beck was almost immediate in his criticism of James O’Keefe’s latest video adventure, and the media is picking up on it this week:

“The problem with this whole thing is does James O’Keefe have enough credibility to continue to do” undercover video journalism? Beck asked his listeners. That kind of journalism, he said, is “just really not something that you necessarily want to get into.

Beck, of course, is a media trailblazer himself, who rose to national prominence through his revolutionary and original radio program.  He created a similarly original television program and online magazine.

With others from the right falling all over each other with admiration for O’Keefe’s NPR sting, Beck stands out as a rare dissenting voice.

But more than that, O’Keefe’s brand of activist journalism is simply more interesting than Beck’s platitudes from behind a microphone.  For months, critics have been crowing about Beck’s flagging ratings.  O’Keefe is a threat to Beck from a pure business standpoint.

After all, if you were Fox News, what would be more likely to get ratings – Glenn Beck’s chalkboard with notes about the GDP or James O’Keefe sending someone with a hidden camera into a government office?

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