James O'Keefe's fraudulent NPR video: Why is anyone surprised?
Surprise, surprise: It looks like James O'Keefe's big "gotcha" on National Public Radio was exaggerated by some clever video editing.
This really shouldn't be too much of a shocker to anyone. After all, this is the same guy who cut scenes of himself dressed in pimp regalia into his video "exposing" ACORN. He was also arrested for a scheme that involved his cohorts sporting telephone repairmen uniforms and tampering with a U.S. Senator's phone.
Not exactly shining examples of traditional journalism ethics.
O'Keefe and friends released their latest video punking NPR last week. The edited, 11-minute version of the hidden-camera video seems to show NPR exec Ron Schiller word vomiting about his liberal bias.
At one point, Schiller appears to call Republicans gun-toting, xenophobic, racists. But it turns out this is just one example of where the video's editor took some liberties with the facts. An analysis of the full clips hows that Schiller was actually describing the views of two unnamed Republicans. Below is the full transcript of this excerpt. Only the bolded section made O'Keefe's final cut.
Schiller: I won't break a confidence, but a person who was an ambassador, so a very highly placed Republican, another person who was one of the top donors to the Republican party, they both told me they voted for Obama.
Which they never believed they could ever do in their lives, that they could ever vote for a Democrat, ever. And they did because they believe that the current Republican Party is not really the Republican Party It's been hijacked by this group that is --
Undercover guest: The radical, racist, Islamaphobic, Tea party people?
Schiller: Exactly. And not just Islamaphobic, but really xenophobic. I mean, basically they are -- they believe in this sort of white, middle-America, gun-toting...I mean, it's scary."
Even Glenn Beck-friendlies are calling out O'Keefe on this one. Writes Scott Baker, managing editor of Beck's The Blaze:
...even if you are of the opinion, as I am, that undercover reporting is acceptable and ethical in very defined situations, it is another thing to approve of editing tactics that seem designed to intentionally lie or mislead about the material being presented.
To be sure, Schiller still expresses some pretty controversial views in the video. His admission at the end of the above section that "it's scary" is just one example of Schiller revealing his bias about Republicans.
But the original footage is far less than damning, and the cut job clearly show its editor's own bias.
For those unsure what to believe, O'Keefe's Project Veritas has published two hours of footage on its website. Compare that to the edited version below. We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.
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- Joe Basel: From U of M-Morris to Louisiana Watergate
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