All this may seem like so much legalistic hair-splitting to readers and viewers; in the big picture, whether O’Keefe’s work is best thought of as “journalism,” “activism,” or something else may be a niche concern. But as long as he’s trying to claim the mantle of undercover reporting, it’s worth noting that that tradition is more complicated, and more contested, than he’s acknowledging.

Greg Marx is a CJR staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.