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Free James O’Keefe

Eric Holder's hideous double standard.

By 2.1.10

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In case you wonder what the future is for justice and law enforcement and media control in this country, take a look at two cases.

During the last Presidential election, a gang of men calling themselves Black Panthers showed up at a polling place in Michigan. They threatened any voter who did not vote for Barack Obama. This was witnessed and documented. (I am suspicious of their involvement with the real Black Panthers, whom I knew well in New Haven, who had a little more finesse along with many, many faults.)

The bullying was barely reported in the media. Even though it is an unequivocal violation of voting rights laws, it was decided by Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, not to prosecute the case at all. Holder is the legal genius who thought of holding the trial for the self-styled master mind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in downtown Manhattan instead of in a military setting. He has recently backtracked on that.

A few days ago, four young conservatives posed as telephone repairmen and entered the branch office of Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana in New Orleans. Their goal was to check to see if the phone system in the office was working. The men, under the leadership of a young media impresario named James O'Keefe, were querying why constituents of Sen. Landrieu had been unable to register negative feelings about Obamacare on the Senator's phone line. They had been told that perhaps the phones were out of order.

O'Keefe is the fellow who recorded workers at liberal advocacy group ACORN telling a young woman how to set up a brothel for 14-year-old illegal immigrant girls from Central America. This had caused considerable anger towards ACORN, one of Obama's most stalwart supporting groups.

Back at Sen. Landrieu's office, someone was suspicious of the O'Keefe group and called police. The men were arrested and are now charged with a federal felony of something called tampering with a federal phone line.

The New York Times had a front page story about the men and their conservative college pranks. At the top of the story was a photo of each of the men in prison orange.

This was presumably to humiliate these men.

I don't see it that way. These men were journalists trying to get a story. They didn't even touch a phone as far as I can learn. They were undercover reporters and TV operators. But that doesn't matter. Their real crime was disturbing the peace and quiet of the nation's liberal establishment and embarrassing ACORN. For this, these young overeager guerrilla journalists are charged with a federal crime. ("First Amendment? What's that?")

Meanwhile, no charges against those thugs with the clubs at the polling place.

Does this give you the feeling that maybe the prison orange for Mr. O'Keefe and his pals is a mark of courage and honor and that the rest of us should be shivering about what the Obama Justice Department thinks is law? When was the last time you read about federal charges against a liberal reporter for going undercover? The behavior of the feds here is not just worrisome. It is something beyond that. But, Mr. Holder, here is a line from the civil rights struggle I worked in before you were born: We are not afraid. And we're not going away.

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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.