Project Veritas, which specializes in undercover journalism, has recently exposed cases of teachers unions covering up the physical and sexual abuse of children. The president and founder of Project Veritas, James O’Keefe, appeared on “Declassified,” a news program of The Epoch Times, where he discussed his latest findings.
Similar cases were uncovered by undercover reporters in New Jersey, Ohio, and Michigan. O’Keefe said, “in these states, teachers union bosses talked about covering up child abuse against students.” This included two union presidents in New Jersey talking about how they could bend the truth, and to reverse blame onto the children, to cover up crimes committed by teachers. The purpose, the union bosses say on the record, is to protect teacher jobs and pensions.
“Both of these people have been fired, suspended from the union, and the Democratically-controlled legislature, which is very union leaning, was forced to hold legislative hearings, and that’s ongoing,” O’Keefe said.
In Ohio, an undercover reporter with Project Veritas used a hidden camera to record the president of the Ohio Education Association saying there were close to 80 instances where there was physical contact with a student, O’Keefe said, “and in none of these cases did the teacher lose their job.”
Following the same pattern, undercover reporters in Michigan exposed a case where an alleged child abuser was paid $50,000 with no questions asked. O’Keefe said, “The files were all under seal, while the membership of that union told our hidden cameras that they believe that this person was guilty. The list goes on and on.”
Despite the outcry from parents over the findings, and at least one state Senate hearing on the Veritas videos, O’Keefe said the media—including local news outlets—have been relatively quiet. He believes the media silence is related to special interests tied to the unions and their influence on the Democratic Party.
O’Keefe said the teachers unions are among the “sacred cows” that have become relatively untouchable by news outlets with ties to special interests. The undercover videos did shatter a key narrative, though. The teachers unions claim to love kids, and the videos are showing the opposite.
At the same time, much of the legacy media refuses to report the content of the videos, and has instead attacked Project Veritas‘ use of undercover video to gather information. For the legacy news outlets, O’Keefe said, “it’s an inconvenient narrative.”
“There is a narrative out there that they love the children,” he said. “In fact, in one of these undercover tapes, behind the president of the teachers union, there’s a banner that says ‘we support the children,’ as he says into our little lapel camera how much he wants to reverse the child abuse back onto the child.
“This sort of tears down a narrative that has been propped up on stilts, and that’s what Veritas does; we show the truth,” he said. “But when you tell the truth in a world that doesn’t want to hear it, it’s a recipe for a mess.”
O’Keefe said they initially believed the videos would be played heavily by local TV stations, but he believes they were not widely shown publicly due to pressure from the unions. This suspicion is partly based on the fact that one education association hired public relations consultants, which then circulated a memo to media organizations.
Rather than address the issues, the memo sought to attack the character of Project Veritas and to prevent whistleblowers from exposing such wrongdoing in the future. O’Keefe said that instead of reforming their behavior, which is what many parents want, the teacher unions “doubled down in Soviet-style fashion to try to contaminate our reputation.”
O’Keefe said the developments reveal the techniques employed by such organizations. He noted the Delaware teachers union “actually put out an internal memorandum which was leaked to us by a whistleblower who was so disgusted by their reactions to these videos.” The memo directed union members to watch the videos, which had been downloaded and placed an on internal server, so members could figure out ways to prevent whistleblowers.
Parents and even some union members were disturbed by the memo, according to O’Keefe, given that at least one video in question showed a union boss admitting they covered up an incident where a teacher slept with a student. Another video shows a union boss saying there were 80 instances in which teachers had physical contact with students; the incidents never saw the full light of day.
Rather than name the teachers and publicly expose the wrongdoing, however, the unions have attempted to discredit the inquiries. This led to the media silence, which has in turn prevented a public outcry. Meanwhile, hit pieces published by legacy news outlets against Project Veritas have attempted to discredit the investigators based on their undercover methods, rather than address the content of their findings.
“There’s no pressure put on the union by the media,” O’Keefe said. “In a normal circumstance, the media would pressure and the union would have to fold. In this case, the union and the media are so in cahoots that it’s a really difficult situation for society.”
O’Keefe noted that findings of child abuse would normally be taken seriously, and believes it’s the nature of the culprits, rather than the crimes, that has caused the subsequent attempted cover-up.
“If child abuse was happening in the Catholic church and the priest was saying, well 80 instances of child abuse, the media would want to know the names of the priests,” he said. “Because these are teachers and because there’s a political propaganda aspect to this—we’re talking teacher salaries, Democratic Party—that’s what makes it very messy indeed.”
The reaction to the videos has shown there are some narratives that the legacy news outlets will not expose due to the political interests they are tied to, O’Keefe said. “And if we reveal the real heart and soul of what the National Education Association is really about, it would change the dynamics of the political makeup. Basically, they’re too big to fail.”
This is the first of a two-part series. Read the second part here.