NPR Fires Back: Analysis of O’Keefe Video Shows Highly Distorting Edits

In a little discussed release, National Public Radio has identified some alarming edits in the video footage released by James O’Keefe III — purportedly capturing NPR officials slamming conservatives and seemingly agreeing with radical Islamic funders. The analysis linked here shows a series of edits that produce a highly distorted picture, including the removal of statements defending conservatives and expressly warning that NPR’s coverage could never be influenced by financial support.

Ron Schiller’s comments appear heavily edited and sometimes taken out of order with immediately following material, according to the analysis.

For example, the tape released to the public shows Schiller laughing with the men as they described how their “organization sought to spread the acceptance of sharia across the world.” NPR notes that “[i]n reality, as the longer tape shows, that laughter follows an innocuous exchange as Schiller and Liley greet the two supposed donors at their table.” Other more disturbing claims of misleading edits are contained in the NPR analysis.

It make for interesting and disturbing reading.

Jonathan Turley

67 thoughts on “NPR Fires Back: Analysis of O’Keefe Video Shows Highly Distorting Edits”

  1. It is nice when our children are smarter than we are and when we encourage them to learn…we benefit…if we are not afraid of the necessary change….we learn to… stiffing isn’t it….

  2. AY,

    Her father, my son-in-law, has every electronic gadget known to man. She has had her own ipad for almost a year. The kid can manipulate that screen, plays games, runs through pictures, plays movies … it’s second nature to her. (she’s 2 1/2 years old)

    She has recently learned how to use a mouse and is no longer hampered with just “touchscreen” skills … so now my computer is no longer safe as she recognizes the icons to post since they are similar to her icons to play games … god help me

  3. Blouise,

    That type of language is not acceptable here….how many )*^*&^&(**98798606&)(*^^% times do you have to be told….

    Only kidding…

  4. My apologies. I heard my 2 year old granddaughter counting and reciting the alphabet … I had no idea she was making a blog appearance.

  5. Elaine M.,

    “Glenn Beck versus James O’Keefe (and Andrew Breitbart)”

    You’re quick, lady … I just finished reading that on and was going to post it here.

    You are the best (and the quickest)!

  6. re: Elaine’s 4:59p post

    This really intrigues me … what’s going on with Beck? Is it as it appears? I’ve never watched the guy so only have reports by others upon which to base an opinion. Is this latest act on the level?

  7. This is interesting:

    From Salon (3/15/2011)
    Glenn Beck versus James O’Keefe (and Andrew Breitbart)
    The right’s biggest nut starts turning on the movement’s bigger media stars
    By Alex Pareene

    Increasingly unpopular television clown and radio revivalist Glenn Beck confused folks on the left and right recently when his “news” website The Blaze published a thorough and fair debunking of the recent NPR “sting” video produced by youthful video prankster and unprincipled conservative smear artist James O’Keefe.

    The Blaze compared the edited and ready-for-air video with the lengthy unedited raw video of the NPR executives talking with the pretend Muslims attempting to goad them into saying outrageous things. The analysis found numerous shady and misleading edits and elisions. The report all but absolved former NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller of saying anything all that offensive to conservative-Americans. The Blaze even reveals that the “raw” video was altered and censored for reasons unknown.

    The Blaze’s Scott Baker concludes, “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.”

    So. Point Glenn Beck!

    This post went up days ago, and Beck has been greatly enjoying the praise and attention he’s received for being so fair and balanced. And then, as Politico reports, he lightly trashed O’Keefe and Andrew Breitbart:

    “The problem with this whole thing is does James O’Keefe have enough credibility to continue to do” undercover video journalism? Beck asked his listeners. That kind of journalism, he said, is “just really not something that you necessarily want to get into. But if you do it, you damn well better not lie on the tape. You don’t now take what you have and edit something to make them say something that they didn’t say. I mean, you have no credibility then.”

    Beck went on to claim he’d been “cautious” with the ACORN videos (which is stretching it) and made reference to the Shirley Sherrod incident, which is generally not talked about on the right except to say that somehow Breitbart was totally right.

    Andrew Breitbart is more responsible than anyone else for transforming James O’Keefe from a small-time Young Republican stunt-puller to a major figure in the Conservative media sphere, and so Breitbart is connected to all of O’Keefe’s schemes, even though he always claims that O’Keefe is an independent operator. While he will never, ever admit it, O’Keefe’s blatantly deceptive editing practices have embarrassed Breitbart before — in addition to the Shirley Sharrod mess, which fatally damaged Breitbart’s credibility in the non-right-wing press, Breitbart didn’t seem to know himself that James hadn’t actually entered those ACORN offices dressed in his Ricky’s pimp costume — which may account for why Breitbart’s “Big” sites didn’t play their usual hype role with the NPR videos.

  8. TPMDC
    Sen. Durbin Takes On James O’Keefe
    Benjy Sarlin | March 15, 2011

    NPR may be in a defensive crouch, but at least one Democratic lawmaker is publicly pushing back against James O’Keefe’s war on public broadcasting: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

    Durbin took to the Senate floor on Monday to mount a defense of NPR and PBS and attack O’Keefe’s credibility. Noting that previous O’Keefe tapes have been found to be misleadingly edited, including his footage of ACORN in which he posed as a pimp, Durbin said that the same tactics were being used to go after NPR. He cited a widely circulated analysis by Glenn Beck’s website, The Blaze, as evidence.

    “Mr. O’Keefe appears to be engaged in creative editing again, and this time his target is National Public Radio,” he said. “That’s not just my opinion. The website of none other than Fox News’ own Glenn Beck — that’s right, Glenn Beck — compares the edited and unedited versions of Mr. O’Keefe’s latest video and concludes that the edited version appears to be deceptively edited in order to portray statements by one of the secretely recorded NPR execs out of context.”

    Durbin called out O’Keefe for his previous antics as well, reminding lawmakers that he had been arrested and convicted on misdemeanor charges in an attempted prank on Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) office.

    “Mr. O’Keefe is obviously not worried about breaking a law if he thinks he is going to come up with a sensational video,” Durbin said.

    Funding for NPR and PBS are under attack from congressional Republicans, many of whom claim that their reporting is biased and that they can survive on private donations. Durbin defended their news programming as balanced.

  9. “Mohammad owned sex slaves and trafficked in them.”

    The Southern Baptists approved of slavery and justified it from the Torah. Most southern slave-holders raped the woman and destroyed families, while its’ “Christian?” church approved. Martin Luther condoned a variety of sins against people in his day. Likewise for the RCC, the main church of Christianity for 1,500 years. The main Jewish patriarch, Abraham, owned Hagar, slept with her and when she had a child banished her to the desert. Slavery was approved of in the Torah. It was approved of in the RCC and blessings were bestowed on the racist explorers who brought STD’s to the America’s indigenous peoples. Hinduism also share a similar history. It isn’t the religion, it’s the way fundamentalists interpret it and how willing they are to hate those who don’t share their beliefs. People like you with no sense of real history and a blind faith have done/condoned by far more evil throughout history, than those who keep an open or skeptical mind. To my mind the one sin God never forgives is that of ignorance. That is one you qualify for.

  10. CM:

    ” right wing propaganda to surrender before any attack no matter how lacking in a base of truth.”

    Which fits a lot of democratic representatives,I’m hoping that the stance the (14) Democratic Senators took in Wisconsin will show theses weak in the knees people in Washington that if you stand for something people will follow,but you have to stand.

    And also understand that Mr. Schiller was qualifying his remarks stating that he was giving his own personal opinion.

  11. It’s not like this guy has a history of doing this, amirite? Oh wait, everything he’s done has been done like this.

    My God, people, wake up and smell the coffee. There is nothing that this liar and his handler, Breitbart, produce that isn’t made up for their own benefit.

  12. I’m wondering whether the Schillers would have cause to sue for libel, given the video was intentionally altered by changing the order of scenes to produce a false statement. The bar for public figures to sue is, I believe, that the person accused of libel has to have done it knowing the information was false. Seems to me this fits the bill.

  13. Surely it is time for the board NPR to ask both Vivian Schiller and Ron Schiller to unresign. The board of NPR has been spooked by a dishonest right wing attack into admitting to a wrong that never happened.

  14. In my opinion Ron Schiller’s description of Tea Party members and Republicans as racist is correct, the problem is that the popular definition of the word “racist” is so narrow that it can only be used to describe Adolph Hitler and the men in Texas awaiting the death penalty for killing a Negro by towing him behind a light commercial vehicle.

    The truth is that a definition of racism that cannot cover those respectable white Americans whose brains contain various levels of prejudicial ideas that inevitably lead to discrimination against minorities is of no use, but it is this very narrow definition that is in use by the US pundit class.

    Ron Schiller was shown telling an obvious truth and for that he and NPR CEO Vivian Schiller have resigned. What this shows is the extent to which so called liberal institutions such as NPR have been brainwashed by right wing propaganda to surrender before any attack no matter how lacking in a base of truth.

    Yes the Republican party and the Tea Party are to a very considerable extent racist and their racism causes harm to members of minority groups. A campaign to give the words “racist” and “racism” a more useful definition is needed.

  15. anon, actually, Fox News takes him quite seriously. He was on Chris Wallace’s show a few days ago and was praised for being the “mastermind of a sting on NPR.”
    Either way, my post was just to point fun at the vastly hypocritical standards at Fox for what constitutes fair journalism, nothing more. In all honesty, I have nothing against O’Keefe’s methods, so long as they uncovered something instead of just being used to make people on the left look bad. I mean, this NPR thing would mean something if it showed an actual bias on NPR’s part when it came to their programming, not that he had a political opinion and did his best to avoid letting it influence his work. This is vastly different from the Walker thing since that at least showed he was considering putting in agent provocateurs in the protesters to make them look bad.
    Using underhanded reporting to uncover something of substance: fine by me.
    Using it to character assassinate someone over some innocuous comments: I take exception to that.

  16. Tootie – please allow me to join in SL’s request for you to kindly go to hell. But I will give you a reason. Your ignorant, bigoted, backwards is painful to any sentient being and should qualify as hazardous waste.

  17. eniobob,

    You must suffer fools and you have my every sympathy. Christie is nothing but loud-mouthed asshole. In fact, for as much as he says he hates the goomba’s on “The Jersey Shore”, he’s just an older version of those idiots.

    Of course, I’ll bet both my life and that of my daughter’s that O’Keefe’s latest expose is just as hacked as the ACORN tapes and the NPR tapes. But, far be it from a Republican to let facts get in the way of bashing the Middle Class.



    Since HenMan’s not here, I’ll say it for him:

    Go to hell. Not for any reason, just go to hell.

  18. SL:

    My **favorite** politician can’t escape this guy O’keefe either and praising him too.

    “New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday lauded conservative activist James O’Keefe’s video, that showed teachers railing on the governor and bragging about the benefits of tenure at a teachers’ union conference, for demonstrating what he has been saying about New Jersey teachers’ unions for a long time.

    “This is what I’ve been talking about,” Christie said. “This is another exhibit as to what I’ve been talking about. The arrogance, the greed, the self-interest, the lack of introspection, the lack of standards. And it hurts the great teachers just as much as it hurts the kids.”

    Christie a former Prosecutor knows this guys history and still went out of his way to acknowledge O’keefe.

  19. NPR’s whining is delicious.

    Folkenflik is guilty of exactly what he charges O’Keefe with: speaking half truths. We see it in the link Mr. Turley provides:

    “But the shorter tape does not include Ron Schiller immediately telling the two men that donors cannot expect to influence news coverage.”

    Folkenfink knows how this works.

    NPR, PBS, ABC, NBC,CBS and even the mainstream print media have perfected the following propaganda method for decades: give out scrupulously accurate facts but destroy the “enemy” in the fluff and puff stuff. This is how they have deceived generations of Americans for over half a century.

    The features are where NPR would allow itself to be influenced. And that is why Schiller specifically told the Muslim impostor in the O’Keefe video that NPR would not be influenced in the news segments by the Muslim donations. He said it that way because he knows NPR WILL be influenced in the NON-news segments.

    Folkenfink doesn’t mention this in his article. He leaves it out and surely he knows about it. In other words he is doing exactly what O’Keefe does. Yet Folkenfink is leaving out more important stuff than O’Keefe!

    The bigot Schiller knows the NPR routine too: present accurate facts tailored to the left wing viewpoint but after that present biased (influenced) features. He knows this is how they maintain their pretense for being unbaised and truthful.

    And Folkinfink would like you to buy it too. That is why he fails to mention it in the article the professor links to. It is a fraud. And the fraud is not that the leftist media have a bias in their ACCURATE fact giving or in their features, but that they pretend they do not. And this is the point O’Keefe was making.

    And to help prove my point you will likely not ever hear NPR or any alleged “news” outlet including ABC, CBS, etc. do an honest feature or even report the plain facts about the life of Mohammad as recorded by adoring Muslim scholars for over a millennium.

    Mohammad owned sex slaves and trafficked in them. It gets worse. The Koran still approves of this to this very day. And if you are a female captured during war with a Muslim nation Muslim men today have every right according to the Koran to keep you as a sex slave and sell you to their friends when they are done. When has NPR reported this? Or when did they report it and cover it up by saying it is no longer in effect?

    The Muslim sex traffickers (Muslims are notorious for it throughout history precisely because it is inherent in their religion) are just the kind of people NPR is willing to do business with. Sexual slavery appeals to the left. No surprise there.

    You will also not hear NPR tell Americans that Mohammad married a child and began having sex with her when she was nine years old. He bathed with her too. He was in his mid fifties at that time so the bogus claims to defend him that this was done because people died at 20 years old doesn’t fly. This too is considered virtuous to this very day by all devout Muslims.

    These are the kind of people who appeal to leftists.

    It is amazing how stupid Schiller is. He said evangelicals want to control everything in Americans’ private lives. This falsehood also pretends that Muslims do not. Moreover, it pretends that the godless communists and atheists never perfected controlling every aspect of life with their totalitarian governments. And I am sure that Schiller supports the leftist agenda which is completely totalitarian.

    Of course he is an Ivy league grad: Cornell.

    Ivy league grads are destroying America.

    Please, don’t start in with me about the Old Testament and slavery. And Jesus didn’t have sex with a 9 year old child. Mohammad did. This suits the left just fine. That is why they do not criticize it.

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