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NPR Controversy Fueled by Dishonest Editing

Posted on Mar 14, 2011

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Where there’s a conservative video sting allegedly capturing a liberal target saying something controversial, there’s highly manipulative editing. As Mark Sumner on the Daily Kos puts it, “The ACORN video was a fake. The Shirley Sherrod video was a fake. So why should anyone be surprised to find that the NPR video is also a fake?”

NPR’s David Folkenflik compared the 11½ minute hit piece that forced his network’s president to resign to a two-hour version described by the self-proclaimed muckrakers who released it as “largely the raw video and audio.”

Folkenflik also spoke with several analysts, conservatives among them, who had seen the footage and found the editing troubling.

NPR via DailyKos:

“I tell my children there are 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 they employed both techniques in this.”

Sacramento, Calif.-based digital forensic consultant Mark Menz also reviewed both tapes at my request. He has done extensive video analyses for federal agencies and corporations.

“From my personal opinion, the short one is definitely edited in a form and fashion to lead you to a certain conclusion — you might say it’s looking only at the dirty laundry,” Menz said. He drew a distinction between that and a compressed news story.

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So why were the NPR executives so quick to resign?  —PZS

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By ardee, March 16, 2011 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

call me Roy, March 15 at 11:12 pm

Babble much?

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By WriterOnTheStorm, March 15, 2011 at 7:22 pm Link to this comment

This case, like the others, is really about the left’s spinelessness, their pervasive
guilt, and their refusal to own up. The right would never have apologized.

To any real progressive, NPR has a clear (though relatively small) right wing slant.
Stephen Colbert famously and correctly stated that facts have a stubborn liberal
bias. If NPR just reported the facts as they claim, the right would be loaded for
bear, rather than just frothing at the mouth.

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By call me roy, March 15, 2011 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment

Dishonest editing? Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

From the book “The Decline and Fall of Public Broadcasting” by David Barsamian, 2001: “In 2000 NPR formed an alliance with NAB to block the licensing of microradio stations. According to the New York Times, “National Public Radio prevailed with the assistance of the commercial broadcasters” in putting a bill through Congress that overturned an FCC ruling that would have allowed the licensing of microradio. As the Times explained, tucked away in legislation that Clinton signed was a provision sought by NAB and NPR that sharply curtails Federal Communications Commission plans to issue licenses for low-power FM radio stations to 1,000 or more schools, churches and other small community organizations. The provision, by setting new technical standards and repealing those already determined by the FCC, makes it all but impossible for licenses to be issued in cities of even modest size…. The FCC’s low-power radio plan was conceived last January to counter the huge consolidation in the broadcasting industry that the agency’s chairman, William E. Kennard, concluded had led to a sharp decline in the diversity of voices on the airwaves. Kennard saw the plan as a cornerstone of his agenda to promote civil rights issues at the FCC….
“This is a resource that everyone has to share,” Kennard said in an interview. “We can’t allow people who have the spectrum to use their political clout to shut out voices that don’t have the same clout. This highlights the power of incumbency. Companies that have spectrum guard it jealously, and they can use Congress to prevent new voices from having access to the airwaves.”
This is a serious blow for democracy.”


On All things Considered, the radio show was called “Hostility Against Federal Workers Troubles Officials.” Your comments blamed “patriot groups” as dangerous and apparently increasingly prone to attacking government officials and facilities. The two examples you described to prove your case have no ties whatsoever to any “patriot groups.” Where did you get your flawed information? The two people Joe Stack and John Bedell had no ties to any tea party group, or a “patriot” group, or any other right-wing groups. In fact, Bedell was an anti-war protester, smoked marijuana, and was a registered Democrat! Now a few words about the “expert” advice you got from the Southern Poverty Law Center. One of their employess, Chip Berlet is actually an extremist, left-wing associate (like anti-American billionaire financier George Soros) and is a member of a far left organization “the Socialist Workers Party”. Now, do I need to explain about the Socialist Worker Party? Maybe NPR got everone mixed up. The people at the Southern Poverty Law Center seem to be the ones who are dangerous? Lastly, if NPR turns to a Socialist group for advice and as an unbiased news source, why are my tax dollars going to NPR? You guys aren’t very smart, are you?


NPR denounced Gen. Boykin as a “Holy Warrior.” They ridiculed his Evangelical Christian faith on prime-time television.
“I hope he’s not long for this world,” said NPR’s Nina Totenberg on WUSA’s Inside Washington TV talk show. When fellow panelists, mostly liberals, protested, asking whether Totenberg rally wanted to issue a fatwa on the offending general, she quickly backtracked. She said: “in his job, in his job, please, please, in his job.” Well, that’s reassuring. Totenberg only wanted the heroic general fired. She wanted him removed from any role in directing the war on terror. She didn’t want him beheaded.
Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin knows something about political correctness in the military. Gen. Boykin, a highly-decorated combat veteran was dragged through the mill by the liberal media.

Bye Bye National Pravda Radio. The taxpayers have spoken.

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, March 15, 2011 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment


You’re right. TheBlaze was ahead of most on this issue.

And nothing will detract, not O’Keefe’s actions, not the media, not even Schiller himself from the vile and bigoted things he has said. In public, no less.

What do you imagine are the chances this small-minded bigot has posted on TruthDig? wink

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By Tim, March 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A lot of people correctly perdicted the 2008 economic implosion. Just about everyone at the IMF and the World Bank warned us about these pending upheavals. The problem with Beck is that so many want to shower him with praise, stopping short of considering him for sainthood. I’d prefer to get my info from someone who doesn’t display emotional instability from time to time.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, March 15, 2011 at 4:00 pm Link to this comment


He posted it on his new blog, Nothing about it in his shows until Monday

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By Go Right Young Man, March 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment

rico, suave,

I don’t watch Beck on any regular basis. That’s interesting.

I know Glenn Beck correctly predicted the causes of the 2008 economic collapse eighteen months prior and, he correctly predicted the turmoil in Egypt.

Yes, interesting.

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By LillithMc, March 15, 2011 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

I loved the Lehrer News Hour for many years, but when McNeil left (forced out by the right, I believe) the show became a home for the (not identified) right-wing “think tanks” and military paid commentary.  Bill Moyers is not replaceable.  The right wants to kill public broadcasting and is doing a good job with reruns of Lawrence Welk.  Now I prefer Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Keith, BBC, Al Jazeera, and NBC basic news.

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rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, March 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

Interesting that neither the article, nor any of the posts so far have credited the source which “outted”  the full two hour transcript of the Shiller episode and, most significantly, criticized O’Keefe’s biased editing-

Glenn Beck.

Based on the content of the full episode, Shiller had nothing to be sorry for. So why did he resign?

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By lulu, March 15, 2011 at 11:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Please watch the full video, editing was kind. Liberals have to stop pretending to be the only critical thinker in the room. This and other ‘liberal’ sites have long lost objectivity thanks to support of the masked Bush

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By Blackspeare, March 15, 2011 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

Proves the old adage: Believe nothing of what you read or hear and only half of what you see.

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By aacme88, March 15, 2011 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

Anyone knowing the film came from O’Keefe should immediately know it’s fraudulent and refuse to watch it. How does he keep doing this?

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Go Right Young Man's avatar

By Go Right Young Man, March 15, 2011 at 8:53 am Link to this comment

I listen to “All Things Considered” and watch “The News Hour” nearly daily. I find very few news outlets lend more context to current events. These two programs are the rare exception which do not incessantly present journalists as so-called “experts”.

I am no fan of Mr. O’Keefe and how he goes about his business. Just as I am no fan of how 60 Minutes, at times, goes about its business.

That said; the nasty, vile, and bigoted views of Mr. Schiller, who is today unapologetic, is there for all to hear. Nothing changes that.

Ron Schiller is a bigoted pig.

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By FRTothus, March 15, 2011 at 6:38 am Link to this comment

>>But I continue to be an every day listener to the
only media outlet that provides propaganda free
coverage of news and events.<<

National Petroleum Radio?  Propaganda-free??

Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

That’s a good one!  Got any more?

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By ardee, March 15, 2011 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

I agree that the criticism of NPR’s lack of backbone is a valid one. I was rather sickened when this edited video was not challenged , instead led to resignations.

But I continue to be an every day listener to the only media outlet that provides propaganda free coverage of news and events.

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By Mike Strong, March 15, 2011 at 1:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am sick of NPR. I really supported NPR in the past but in the last few years they have bent over backwards, and even more backwards at the very possibility that some right winger will get ticked at them. So, no funds to them from me, not in some time. This latest video bit, only confirms that maybe they really should just close shop. If they are going to be stampeded out of even thinking and examining any charges before acting in panic, then they are not an organization anymore. Just the remains of a once good idea. We do have other independent, public-donation orgs around here. They will have to do.

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By TDoff, March 14, 2011 at 11:39 pm Link to this comment

This isn’t news!!

If the conservative right wing extremist-whackos ever do or say anything that’s real and true, THAT will be news.

Don’t hold your breath.

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By John Atlas, March 14, 2011 at 11:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Check out my satire on this at

or my Star Ledger blob:

It’s a fantasy about liberals with backbone. It begins this way:Ronald Schiller, an NPR executive, resigned last week after being exposed in an undercover video tape criticizing Republicans and their Tea Party supporters. Today, in a surprise move, he withdrew his resignation explaining, “It took me two days to realize that I have nothing to apologize for. What I said on that tape is true. The Republican Party has been hijacked by a racist Tea Party. Not only that, it has become a wholly owned subsidiary of not just the Tea Party, but of greedy, rich businessmen, like the Koch brothers, who care only about their profits and political influence-peddling. Moreover, Republicans constantly attack NPR. Nothing I said, or anyone else at NPR has said, rivals the daily lies repeated on the GOP’s favorite media outlets, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.”

Following Schiller’s announcement, NPR’s chief executive Vivian Schiller, who had also resigned, withdrew her resignation. “The fact is, the nation needs NPR to counter the distortions in the media by Fox as well as the mainstream beltway-oriented media,” Ms. Shiller (no relation to Ronald) said. “The right-wing media are trying to do to NPR what they did to ACORN and to Shirley Sherrod. In those cases, the mainstream media, including CNN, the Washington Post, and the NY Times, botched the story because they relied on hidden videos from right-wing activists with a history of blatant lies and even criminal behavior. It is time for the mainstream media to take Andrew Breitbart and James O’Keefe off their speed-dials. They are not credible sources.”

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By Jim Lynch, March 14, 2011 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

NPR pulled its punches on it’s commentary of conservative activity and opinion for years.  By giving conservative hacks like David Brooks credibility and slightly less conservative hacks, like E.J. Dionne, the label “liberal” they seem to have dug their own graves.  Somehow though I find no solace in seeing these chickens come home to roost.  NPR is being attacked because it is one of the last bastions of national independent news reporting.  After years of capitulation to the whacky Right though I have to ask why these capitulations/resignations came so quickly.  Haven’t these guys at NPR learned anything from all of this?  Fight back!  Fight back.  They won’t compromise.  Why do we?

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