Saturday, March 12, 2011
Earlier this week, undercover sting filmmaker James O'Keefe released a video incriminating a former NPR executive as a Tea Party hating, government funding slashing, Islam sympathizer. But, the question was whether O'Keefe used his sometimes questionable editing techniques to manipulate the story. You'd assume that some liberal news organization would be all over debunking O'Keefe's narrative, and now someone has come to NPR's defense: Glenn Beck's news website, The Blaze:
Anyone looking at the edited version of the Project Veritas video would be concerned about the conduct and views expressed by the NPR representatives. But should we also be concerned about the deceptive nature of some of the video’s representations? Some will say no — the end justifies any means, even if unethical. Others may be bothered by these tactics and view similar projects with a greater degree of skepticism.
In our posting yesterday on the ethics of undercover journalism, we found a range of views. One interesting view is held by Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard. Barnes believes it is always wrong for a journalist to lie: “It‘s dishonest for anyone in journalism to pretend to be someone they’re not.”
But Barnes also believes this applies only to journalists. “This rule doesn’t apply to folks outside the profession,” he told The Blaze. Barnes views the O’Keefe production as a “political hit job and a quite clever and successful one at that.”
Barnes may not realize that O’Keefe describes his work as “investigative journalism,” and thus by Barnes definition — unethical.
And that is only on the issue of going undercover. But 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.
The story on The Blaze is worth checking out, simply because they tear apart O'Keefe's techniques with a series of comparative videos by the site's video expert. Who knew?