The unrelenting cascade of incompetence, matched only by the false bravado of Project Veritas’s proprietor, was difficult to watch. The whole sordid affair did, however, demonstrate the extent to which some conservative activist media haven’t just become ineffective but exploitative. No longer are institutions like Veritas dedicated to combating ignorance in their audience. They’re actively courting it.

The whole affair began on Monday evening when the Post released yet another tightly-reported story (and video) establishing with a high degree of certainty that O’Keefe’s outfit had sought to bait the paper into publishing a bogus report alleging Moore had impregnated a 15-year-old girl. O’Keefe responded to these serious charges by contending the Post was only trying to deflect from his forthcoming bombshell video about the culture at the Washington D.C. paper. Within minutes, O’Keefe released a video featuring the Post’s national security reporter Dan Lamothe in a candid setting in which he criticized his paper’s editorial board for being too hard on Donald Trump. Some bombshell.

Over the course of two farcical hours, O’Keefe inadvertently established that the Washington Post’s reporters were pros, that the Post’s reporting on Moore was water-tight, and that his own organization—and Moore’s supporters, by extension—had little regard for the victims of sexual assault. After all, they had hired an activist to portray one toward a petty and political end, thus cheapening the experience of legitimate survivors.