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Hey, Bill O'Reilly: It's Zurawik from Planet Bizarro

By now, most readers know all about 25-year-old filmmaker James O'Keefe being arrested Tuesday by federal authorities in Louisiana as part of what appears to be a bungled attempt to wiretap the office of Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu. O'Keefe and three others face felony charges.

But you might have forgotten this bit of backstory. Back in September, in the wake of an undercover camera report showing inappropriate behavior by employes in an ACORN office in Baltimore, I took Fox News Channel host Bill O"Reilly to task for talking about O'Keefe, the filmmaker who illegally taped the ACORN encounter, on his show  as if the young filmmaker was a journalistic hero.

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"Only on the cube-sided Bizarro Planet" is O'Keefe a "champion of the first Amendment," I wrote. "No responsible news organization allows the kind" of deceitful and illegal activities that O'Keefe employed to get the videos of ACORN employes. Read it here.

O'Reilly fired back from the heights of his highly-rated show saying my opinion was straight from "The Planet Bizarro," because I am a "far left TV critic" and "ideologue." I include the video at the end of the post, because even when he is on the attack (and even when he is attacking me), I have to admire O'Reilly's on-air skill.

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(James O'Keefe U.S. Dept. of Justice booking photo - AP)

O'Reilly is a brilliant broadcaster. But he was he so wrong to condone the kind of deception O'Keefe practiced in Baltimore -- and is charged with having attempted to replicate on a larger stage in New Orleans. In journalism, the means do not justify they ends, particularly when the means are deceitful, deceptive and/or illegal.

Of course, O'Keefe is innocent until proven guilty. But the activities for which he is charged in New Orleans certainly fit his M.O. And he has already acknowledged the deception and secret taping done in Baltimore.

If O'Keefe is found guilty, I hope O'Reilly and the other Fox hosts who celebrated him will this time step up and acknowledge the role they played in helping to launch this misguided and dangerous video missile.

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