Home > Beltway bulls**t, The Noise Machine, Truthiness > Two kinds of lies in anti-NPR video

Two kinds of lies in anti-NPR video

Conservative activist James O’Keefe III doesn’t care about truth, he is devoted to “truthiness” in its worst forms. So should anyone be surprised that deception is the rule in the 11-minute video he posted online depicting NPR fundraising officials unfavorably?

He’s a scalp-taker, not a journalist. Yet he had the nerve to post a two-hour tape he said was “largely raw” video and audio so people could test the credibility of his editing. He probably thought no one would. But The Blaze, a conservative site, did — and, surprise, surprise — found that O’Keefe edited the video in deceptive ways.

That prompted NPR to recruit some independent observers to check the truthfulness of the edited version to the unedited one. One reviewer, Al Tompkins, who teaches ethics at a Florida journalism school, was initially outraged by what he saw and heard in the short version; now he’s outraged by the deceptive editing.

“I tell my children there a two ways to lie,” Tompkins said. “One is to tell me something that didn’t happen, and the other is not to tell me something that did happen. I think [O’Keefe] employed both techniques in this.”

More: A digital forensics consultant found that many of the remarks in the short video are presented out of sequence to the questions that were asked. “You really don’t know what context these were in,” he said.

Bill Sez: I’m far from the world’s biggest fan of NPR, but O’Keefe’s “reputation” should have warned me not to accept his edited video as an accurate account of what the NPR folks said. Now that I’ve read about what’s said in the “raw” footage, it appears that the fundraisers made it clear that donations/sponsorship could not buy favorable news coverage, and that they were honestly looking for overlaps between prospective donors’ priorities and NPR’s mission-focused activities.

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