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The Shameless Right-Wing Lies That Ousted an NPR CEO

NPR, and other groups and individuals who've reacted to James O'Keefe's pranks and lies, are helping to empower a dangerous cabal of right-wingers.

It should come as no surprise that James O’Keefe is an unethical liar who produces deliberately deceptive videos to smear his political opponents. That’s been proven on many occasions. What’s surprising is that is that anyone in the media still pays any attention to him, much less takes actions based on his fictional accounts of staged events. Now even Glenn Beck’s web site, The Blaze, is confirming O'Keefe's disreputability after having analyzed O’Keefe’s latest videos attacking National Public Radio.

Scott Baker, Editor-in-Chief of The Blaze, published a fairly in-depth review of O’Keefe’s scam wherein he compared segments of the edited version to the original unedited source material. What he found he described in his conclusion as “editing tactics that seem designed to intentionally lie or mislead about the material being presented.” Here are some of the overt misrepresentations O’Keefe manufactured:

1) O’Keefe’s edited video portrayed NPR’s Ron Schiller as happily willing to take a donation from a Muslim Brotherhood front group. The long-form video downplays the connection to the Brotherhood, and discusses its current status as a moderate, non-violent organization.

2) The edited video portrayed Schiller reacting approvingly in a discussion of Sharia law. The long-form video shows that the response was actually to a different subject entirely. It was just edited in to make it appear as if he was responding the discussion of Sharia law.

3) The edited video portrayed Schiller as hostile to Republicans and conservatives. The long-form video shows him praising the GOP. Those remarks were completely cut out.

4) The edited video portrayed Schiller disparaging the Tea Party as racist. The long-form video shows that those remarks were actually the views of others that was describing.

5) The edited video portrayed Schiller demeaning the intelligence of conservatives. The long-form video shows both him and his NPR colleague defending the intellect of conservatives and even Fox News viewers.

6) The edited video portrayed Schiller asserting that federal funding for NPR was not necessary or desirable. The long-form video shows him going into detail about the necessity of those funds.

When Glenn Beck’s web site calls out a conservative for being unethical, there must be something seriously wrong. His lies must have been so egregious that they surpass the threshold for lying ordinarily maintained by people like Beck. Or perhaps Beck is jealous of the competition from O'Keefe for "Best Distortion of Reality."

The examples above are representative of the grossly deceptive practices that James O’Keefe, a convicted criminal, engages in repeatedly. They are further evidence that nothing he does or says deserves to be taken seriously. Worst of all, they demonstrate the crippling naivete of NPR for reacting so hastily in compelling the resignation of NPR chief Vivian Schiller. After the fact, some folks at NPR are addressing the shameful reaction from their executive ranks. NPR reporter David Folkenflik took on O'Keefe's video directly finding that "many of Ron Schiller's most provocative remarks were presented in a misleading way." Ira Glass, host of "This American Life," said that...

"As somebody who works in public radio, it is killing me that people on the right are going around trying to basically rebrand us, saying that it's biased news, it's left wing news, when I feel like anybody who listens to the shows knows that it's not. And we are not fighting back, we are not saying anything back. I find it completely annoying, and I don't understand it."

And that's the real question here: Why aren't they fighting back? American media seems far to complacent in the wake of withering assaults by right-wing activists. Rather than defend their virtue (such as it is), they apologize and promise that it will never happen again - even though "it" didn't happen in the first place.  Unfortunately, two careers have already been knee-capped because no one at NPR thought to consider the source.

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