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‍A dirty little word gets out about Project Veritas, and that word is “poison”. Project Veritas is a collaboration between the government and the media that has been looking into possible links between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government. The team is making its final investigation before publishing their findings next week. This means they have plenty of time to make mistakes — even if they are caught early on. Peer-reviewed journal articles can be extremely damaging when published without proper editing and trustworthiness checks, and Project Veritas has seen more than its fair share of them already. The results may not have been pretty, but the team pushed forward anyway — until now. So here’s what you need to know about peer-reviewed journalism & Project Veritas:

What is peer-reviewed journalism?

Peer-reviewed articles are those that have been produced and submitted by a university or other professional organization. They are often peer-reviewed, meaning they are peer-to-review (that is, not written by anyone but the author). Peer-reviewed articles are published in professional peer-reviewed journals, such as The Journal of Law and Economics and the Review of Modern Political Theory. These types of publications are considered authoritative. Note that peer-reviewed articles are not necessarily peer-to-view — that is, they are not available to anyone for a full, clear view of the work. Instead, they are considered to be “original”, meaning they were written by people who are recognized as such by the journal. An example of “original” peer-reviewed work includes a research paper written by a high school student, a book chapter, and an academic article.

How to trust a peer-reviewed journal article

As with all articles you will find online, read the blurb and the dates of publication. If the journal article you’re relying on isn’t peer-reviewed, you should be very careful. There are numerous problems with relying on unpeerled papers, including some that are external to the journal. Some papers are submitted to journals as “word for word” — but not all. For example, if the author of a paper gives their name as “Jacob”, and the journal uses their full name, that doesn’t mean the paper is “true”. It might be “true” in parts, but not in all. Only the author would know for certain if the paper is “true” or not. Similarly, if the journal uses a slang term like “dick”, “hoe”, or “hoe-eff”, that doesn’t necessarily mean the paper is “true” in all departments. It could also mean the author is wrong in some department, or the journal is wrong in many.

What is the scope of Project Veritas’ investigation into Donald Trump and Russia?

Project Veritas has been looking into possible links between the campaign of Donald Trump and Russian leaders, and the election of Trump. In December 2016, they released a three-part series on Trump (“The Art of the Trump–Russia collusion,” “The Russian collusion, and “The Deplorable Donald Trump”). The first part of the series focused on alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, and the ways in which Trump’s team was “collusion” with Russia. The second part of the series focused on alleged ties between the Trump campaign and the media, and the ways in which the media could be “collusion” with Russia. The final part of the series looked at alleged ties between the campaign of President Barack Obama and the Russian government.

The team behind Project Veritas: James O’Keefe, Austin And Kossoff, and Phil Mabin

Project Veritas was started by James O’Keefe, a former FBI employee who served time in jail for distributing falsehoods. Since its beginnings, the team has grown exponentially, with O’Keefe now having a major say in the direction of what happens in the media. O’Keefe got his start in TV news, but has since pursued his own investigation into corruption, price-fixing, and other topics that are of interest to the public. In late 2016, he set up a sting operation with the help of a former New York City police officer, who posed as a suspicious person and was later identified as O’Keefe. The sting operation involved posing as a former NYPD officer who was seeking to steal evidence against political adversaries. After the operation, the two men spoke on the phone once a week for a period of time, and as part of the conversation, O’Keefe asked if he could record the conversation. Most of the public was unaware that O’Keefe was the source of the information, but the two were soon recognized for their work. O’Keefe later said that it helped him “foresee trouble” and that he was “thrilled” by the outcome.

Resignation from Project Veritas (and why it matters)

Project Veritas has had a few leaders step down from their post. In February 2017, investment bank colleague Austin And Kossoff stepped down as Project Veritas’s CEO and CFO, after being charged with misleading investors and the media. Kossoff was eventually found guilty of wire fraud and false statements, and was ordered to pay a $500,000 fine. In November that year, TV news host and author Billdrop published a book chapter with the title “What’s the Scary Man in the Moon? — The Real Billdrop and The First Great Quarrel With The Media”. That chapter received wide attention, but most notably, Kossoff resigned from his post as Project Veritas’ CEO and CFO.

Summary

Pressure grows for Project Veritas to take corrective action after the release of its report on the Trump–Russia collusion. The organization argued that O’Keefe was the true source of information and that the media should be held accountable for its coverage of the report. While the report has been released to the public, most people are unaware that the team was led by a man who led campaigns against bipartisan achievements and has faced numerous financial and legal problems. The group also faced criticism for their role in the infamous “StealthCamera” sting operation, which aimed to steal sensitive information from political enemies. Project Veritas’s success can be attributed to the combination of its low-key nature, its low-cost operation, and its ability to produce high-quality articles for free. These days, even the most respected news organizations can’t match the veracity of the reports produced by Project Veritas. The group’s work has been called “incisive, compelling, and truly unique” by the New York Times. That means even the most informed reader will have to start from scratch when reading media reports related to Project Veritas. Fortunately, there are many online resources that can help you get the facts. These include:

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