media, Politics and Grassroots

Getting O’Keefed is more than just a camera trick

James O’Keefe will be lauded on the right this week for forcing the resignation of NPR’s CEO; you’ll hear talk about how creative and bold he is to go undercover with hidden cameras to expose left-wing organizations in their own words.  It actually isn’t that simple, though:  O’Keefe does more than simple hide cameras and wait for people to say dumb things.  This week, for example, O’Keefe released his initial video on Tuesday – the one where a former NPR staffer demonstrates outright hostility toward tea partiers and the conservative movement.  It appeared to be a basic case of organizational media bias, though it could have been explained away as a donor relations executive saying whatever he could to raise a donation.

Then came the second video yesterday – where another NPR official discusses ways to “hide” donations from a fictional Muslim Brotherhood front group.  This is much more damning; and combined with the other one creates the perception of a trend.  At the very least, it kept a one-day story going for multiple days.

Erstwhile CEO Vivian Schiller didn’t make it to the second video; in the 48 hours between the releases she resigned.  Jon Stewart couldn’t believe NPR didn’t fight back.  But maybe NPR had been paying attention to O’Keefe’s history of takedowns.

ACORN didn’t collapse under the weight of a single video; O’Keefe released several over time to keep the issue alive through several news cycles.  The same happened with his expose of the teachers unions in New Jersey and other work his organization, Project Veritas, have undertaken.

Rather than try to bash O’Keefe’s reporting, NPR allies have been quick to decry the comments heard on the tapes.  That’s significant – not only do they recognize what what was said was bad, they know that there may be even more to come.

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