Just so we’re clear, National Public Radio has raised questions about the editing of James O’Keefe’s piece on NPR’s news coverage being for sale:
One “big warning flag” [Al Tompkins, a senior faculty member for broadcasting and online at the Poynter Institute] saw in the [edited] tape was the way it made it appear that Schiller had laughed and commented “really, that’s what they said?” after being told that the fake Muslim group advocates for sharia law. In fact, the longer tape shows that Schiller made that comment during an “innocuous exchange” that had nothing to do with the supposed group’s position on sharia law, David reports.
Tompkins also says that O’Keefe’s edited tape ignores the fact that Schiller said “six times … over and over and over again” that donors cannot buy the kind of coverage they want on NPR.
Scott Baker, editor in chief of the conservative news site The Blaze, tells David that after watching the two-hour video he came away with the impression that the NPR executives “seem to be fairly balanced people.”
Well, at least in their approach to covering news, perhaps.
They still don’t like Republicans much:
Still, [NPR spokeswoman Dana Davis Rehm] added, Schiller made some “egregious statements.”
As we said yesterday, those included Schiller calling the Tea Party a “weird evangelical” movement that has helped push the “current Republican Party” to become “fanatically involved in people’s personal lives.”
As Time magazine’s James Poniewozik writes at his Tuned In blog, “the close-up look [at the longer tape] doesn’t let the executive, Ron Schiller, off the hook. But it shows O’Keefe edited the short version of his video to fit his anti-NPR agenda. Explaining why both things can be true at once requires, well, a lot of context.”
If O’Keefe edited his piece to falsely imply that NPR was selling favorable coverage, that’s a bad thing.
But O’Keefe didnt’ have to do anything to coax a voluble anti-conservative opinion out of Schiller.
“It was just Schiller’s personal opinion” is the defense I’ve heard from not a few of NPR’s defenders.
But O’Keefe’s editing had nothign to do with departed NPR CEO Vivian (“No Relation”) Schiller and her News chief when they vetted the firing of Juan Williams for appearing on Fox News, over an interpretation of his remarks about Muslims that was so grossly lacking in context as to be a virtual defamation.
Or – given that it was long before O’Keefe entered the public eye – the hand-wringing that the left, the establishment at NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and their various hangers-on over the appointment of two Corporation for Public Broadcasting board members who had donated money to Republicans. Left-leaning pundits agonized over the “potential for politicization” that the Bush-era appointment might point to…
…in a way that they just seem not to be with NPR’s new CEO-designate, Joyce Slocum – whose donations to Democrats seem not to be a danger to democracy according to those same pundits.
In other words, NPR doesn’t need to be paid to have contempt for conservatives.