As Undercover Reporting Faces Attack, One Former Guerrilla Journalist Offers an Important Reminder


One of the most well-established tools of journalism — undercover reporting — is seen in many circles as unethical and taboo.

This growing sentiment was exemplified perfectly in Twitter’s crackdown on Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe.

In April, O’Keefe was permanently banned from Twitter after posting videos of a CNN insider admitting the network had misled voters leading up to the 2020 election. The official Twitter account of Project Veritas had been permanently banned back in February.

Speaking with The Western Journal during Wednesday’s episode of “WJ Live,” Live Action founder and pro-life activist Lila Rose defended undercover reporting, explaining why she finds the current distaste for undercover reporting to be foolish.

Rose’s organization is well-known for undercover reporting, which, for example, has exposed Planned Parenthood for allegedly covering up child sex abuse, child sex trafficking and other forms of abuse by refusing to report evidence of said incidents despite being required to do so.

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When asked about the controversial nature of undercover reporting, Rose admitted that even her organization got pushback from “some leaders in the pro-life movement” who thought undercover work to be “immoral.”

“The FBI, the CIA, reporters across the country and the world and the police, your local police department, is doing undercover work, so are they immoral too? Haven’t heard you say that before,” Rose said in response to those critics.

When it comes to the abortion industry’s distaste for undercover work, Rose believes that ultimately what they’re upset about is “what is being exposed.”

“We’re exposing sexual abuse cover-ups at abortion clinics, misinformation to women, medical malpractice, sexism, sex-selective abortions and these ‘pro-women’ clinics, they are working to kill a baby girl just because she’s a girl. We’ve documented infanticide in abortion clinics,” Rose told The Western Journal.

Is undercover journalism necessary?

Rose has a history of participating in undercover reporting herself.

Her organization, Live Action, has run several undercover operations investigating Planned Parenthood.

In her new book, “Fighting for Life: Becoming a Force for Change in a Wounded World,” Rose details going on one of her first undercover operations back in her college days at UCLA.

It just so happens that one of Rose’s partners at the time was actually O’Keefe himself — several years prior to his founding of Project Veritas.

Together, they took it upon themselves to investigate the school’s health center. Rose pretended to be a pregnant student and O’Keefe acted as her concerned friend.

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After speaking to a school nurse, the two discovered — and later released in an article for a magazine called The Advocate — that abortion was encouraged and various pro-life pregnancy options — including having the child or putting it up for adoption — were actively discouraged by health center staff.

If not for Rose and O’Keefe’s commitment to undercover journalism, the truth at UCLA may have never been exposed.

If the media continues to denigrate this basic reporting tactic, journalism may soon lose one of its most useful investigative tools.

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Michael wrote for a number of entertainment news outlets before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter. He now manages the writing and reporting teams, overseeing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of Manager of Writing and Reporting. His responsibilities now include managing and directing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
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