Video: Keith Olbermann owes James O'Keefe a correction

Keith Olbermann recently claimed that James O’Keefe needed permission from his “parole officer” to come to CPAC. This claim is false, and Olbermann owes O’Keefe a correction.


The first passage occurs at the beginning of this video, 43 seconds in:

Here Olbermann says:

O’Keefe accepting an award there, I kid you not, with permission from his parole officer, according to Politico. Trust the law and order party to check in with its parole officers.

Later, at 4:01, talking to Dave Weigel, Olbermann says with a smarmy little smirk:

We’ll start with the law and order party, honoring the guy who needs to get his parole officer’s permission to attend.

Olbermann’s claim is false. Retracto, the indefatigable “correction alpaca” at Big Journalism, has explained the error in the Politico article cited by Olbermann:

Mr. O’Keefe did not need “permission from his parole office to attend CPAC,” as he has never been paroled. We’re not sure Mr. Vogel meant “parole office” or “parole officer” (the latter makes more sense since O’Keefe does not own or operate a New Jersey parole office), but the claim is factually inaccurate either way. The lead entry for the word “parole” at is, “the conditional release of a person from prison prior to the end of the maximum sentence imposed.” In other words, in order to be paroled, one must first be convicted and sentenced. Mr. O’Keefe, of course, is still pending trial. In a statement to, Mr. O’Keefe said he was granted permission to attend CPAC from a “pretrial services officer” from the New Jersey Pre-Trial Services Agency. The role of the officer assigned to him is to “investigate defendants who are charged with federal crimes and awaiting a court hearing.” The operative word being “charged.” Politico’s characterization of Mr. O’Keefe implies a conviction.


Indeed, Politico has since acknowledged error and issued a correction:

CORRECTION: This story was altered to reflect that O’Keefe and Basel are on pre-trial release, not probation or parole, as was stated in an earlier version.

It now remains to be seen what Olbermann will do. He made the claim twice in the above video. The first time, he attributed it to Politico — but the second time, he made the allegation all on his own. Meaning Keith Olbermann owns this error.

Olbermann owes James O’Keefe a retraction.

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David Strom 10:00 AM | June 21, 2024