James O’Keefe takes aim at Clay Shirky, Jay Rosen

Project Veritas
In the second installment of his “To Catch a Journalist” series, James O’Keefe has produced a surreptitiously recorded, heavily edited video starring NYU professors Clay Shirky and Jay Rosen. In the video Shirky likens NPR’s program sponsorships to advertising and discusses news coverage of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, Occupy Wall Street and Michele Bachmann. O’Keefe claims the video shows Shirky and Rosen discussing “the New York Times’ strategy to support Occupy Wall Street, Obama’s 2008 election and their place within the ‘chardonnay swilling’ so-called media elite.” O’Keefe calls Shirky a New York Times consultant, but Eileen Murphy, vice president of corporate communications for The New York Times, says that’s not true. “We have looked into it and I can tell you he is not now and has never been a consultant to The New York Times,” she says. Rosen has only a bit part in which he follows up on Shirky’s statement that the people in the room are media elites by saying, “We are the 1 percent.” Other than a student referring to something that Times media reporter Brian Stelter said, no one from the Times is in the video.

If you’re familiar with O’Keefe’s work and Shirky’s expansive talks, you know you can’t rely on a collage of 30-second clips to get the true meaning of Shirky’s comments. (O’Keefe says in the video that the full transcript is on his site, but if it’s there I can’t find it; I asked him on Twitter where it is.) For instance, O’Keefe claims the video shows the Times’ unwillingness to cover Bachmann, but Shirky says in the video that the Times was compelled to cover her campaign because the Iowa straw poll was considered important. When Shirky talks about Occupy Wall Street coverage, it’s impossible to know if he’s just commenting on the coverage as an outsider or — as O’Keefe claims — he’s discussing the Times’ strategy to help the protesters. (If the Times surreptitiously supported the protests by not covering them, I think the debate over liberal media bias looks like a Möbius strip: Whatever side you start on, you end up in the same place.) Rosen tweeted that he’d respond to the video later Thursday. Update: Jay Rosen explains how someone posing as a prospective grad student taped a class and asked him how to get a tape of a tea party gathering to the Times. Reaction: NPR’s David Folkenflik: “So far looks an awful lot like ‘to catch a J school prof.’ ” || Related: What James O’Keefe knows about media (and you should too) || Earlier: Huffington Post’s Sam Stein first target of O’Keefe’s ‘To Catch a Journalist’ | James O’Keefe to New York Times reporter: ‘How can I be sure you’ll be objective and accurate?’

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Treacher/542957672 Jim Treacher

    You know all the video you see on the news? Completely unedited. And always filmed with the subject’s knowledge.

  • http://twitter.com/HotCornerBlues Gary

    Yeah, totally neutral language there Stevie.

  • Anonymous

    you o’keefe fans are joking, right? Because if you’re not, then i understand why the public thinks journalists are fools and shills

  • http://profiles.google.com/wenalway Robert Knilands

    Interesting how only now Poynter looks into these potential bias issues.

    Also, there are numerous people within the newspaper ranks who claim to be some type of editor but are not. Usually they are some sort of design wonk. I anticipate Poynter’s imminent analysis of this issue and how it harms newspaper credibility.

  • Anonymous

    What’s it like down there, Gerard, where you ended up? Is it as hellish as it seems? You must see Dennis Miller fairly often where you are now – please pass along our sympathies. I had no idea that *either* of you had such delicate constitutions – what with all the seeming bravado and transparent-in-retrospect macho posturing. Anyway, good luck to you.

  • http://rightnetwork.com Jack Reno

    Yes, indeed Myers. Just hunker down in the comfy non-judgemental phraseology “surreptitiously recorded, heavily edited video” in order not to give away your bias. We get it. You cool.

  • http://rightnetwork.com Jack Reno

    True enough. Michael Moore is the equal of seven O’Keefes.

  • http://rightnetwork.com Jack Reno

    I think the subject here is not the reporter, unless of course you don’t like what he’s saying, but the two doofusi, Shirkey and the very oversold Rosen.

  • http://rightnetwork.com Jack Reno

    “…surreptitiously recorded, heavily edited video…”

    Getting cute really early Steven my lad. But that’s okay. With such a limited number of words panic easily sets in. The trick is not to show it as you do here.

  • http://profiles.google.com/rp509855 Rod Paul

    The fact that he’s technically competent at editing (or has someone workign for him who is) does not mean it wasn’t editied to misrepresent.

    Misrepresentation is his demonstrated pattern.

  • Anonymous

    Not “really” working journalists? Rosen in particular is neither a journalist nor is he working. His main job seems to be posting to Twitter in an effort to show how clueless he is. Shirky at least has some insights to offer once in a while.

    I imagine that if NPR had not shrunk in fear from James O’Keefe, utterly humiliating itself in the process, it would be less likely that we’d still be hearing about him. The guy is the very definition of a weenie.

    As for the people in this thread revealing that they don’t know the difference between editing and falsifying — well, they don’t know the difference between editing and falsifying, or more likely, they don’t care, so they can be ignored as simpleminded. And if they really want to ally themselves with James O’Keefe, I say — have at it.

  • Anonymous

    “But ya, I believe in the concept of a predominantly liberal media even though I work in it. Every day.”

    Yes. And judging by the frequency and content of your posts here, we can only assume it’s at the very highest levels.

  • Anonymous

    Har!

    But ya, I believe in the concept of a predominantly liberal media even though I work in it. Every day.

    And no, I would not be comfortable stinging people. Not from a liability viewpoint and not from a journalist’s viewpoint. Plus, there’s that whole Red Lion federal case.

    With that said, Michael Moore is little different than O’Keefe in all but ideology.

    -BM

  • Anonymous

    Har!

    But ya, I believe in the concept of a predominantly liberal media even though I work in it. Every day.

    And no, I would not be comfortable stinging people. Not from a liability viewpoint and not from a journalist’s viewpoint. Plus, there’s that whole Red Lion federal case.

    With that said, Michael Moore is little different than O’Keefe in all but ideology.

    -BM

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RKVC6RHF3XVA5ROXPLWP4XDI5A Nice hat

    This guy edits videos less than Bill Moyers does.  Watched the whole video, nothing cherry picked, no half-sentences, no cut-off splices, no pops, no clicks, no spikes.  Plus, when did ABC/CBC/NBC post online all the raw tape of any story they do?  Me sense you sipping the kool aide and jumped a grenade to protect the brigade.

  • m b

    O’Keefe is nothing.  Many better at the game have come and gone in infamy.  The jerky smirk and the libelous 
    demeanor conceal nothing.  Lee Atwater wouldn’t have given this dipwad the time of day…

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    @twitter-43476952:disqus True, editing is a legitimate part of video production (as it is in writing). I used the term to indicate that this video has been edited to the point that it’s hard for the viewer to discern for himself what point Shirky is making in each clip. Some of the clips show Shirky leading up to a point, then they cut off. I’ll have to wait for the unedited version to see if O’Keefe’s characterizations hold up.

    Steve Myers
    Poynter.org

  • Anonymous

    What a bunch of nonsense. You have two j-school professors, not really working journalists, and one of them is pontificating while the other pats his colleague on the back. These guys could be “influential,” but in the context O’Keefe catches them in, they’re just blowhards. Shirkey is making fun of “elites,” while stroking the egos of his $40,000-a-year students when he calls them “elites.” They’re not.  And everything he says about the Times is a lot of hoo-ha as well — all armchair speculation. It’s all j-school b.s. After watching this ten-minute tape, I see O’Keefe makes promises — like how the Times legitimizes Obama or how it supports Occupy Wall Street (by ignoring the protesters!!!????) — that he can’t keep. There’s never a smoking gun.

    And Matthew: When O’Keefe’s full tapes come out, he’s often proven wrong — and what’s not on the tapes is usually worse. He was able to take down ACORN, a 40-year-old nonprofit, but when the California State Attorney General and the U.S. Government Accountability Office conducted separate investigations they both found the workers had not committed the illegal actions O’Keefe portrayed — heck, one of the workers immediately called the authorities when he left the office — and the group had used all government funds appropriately. I won’t even get into the fact that O’Keefe paraded around in that ridiculous pimp outfit but he didn’t actually wear it in the ACORN offices. He accuses others of swinging an axe and misrepresenting the news — he should know.

  • Anonymous

    Brother Matthias? How can you be on the same political side as Chuck Heston when you spent the entire movie trying to kill him? I guess that apocalyptic zombie madness thing extends to media conspiracy theories.

  • Anonymous

    Google “heavily edited” and O’Keefe. It is obvious these buzzwords or talking points went out a long time ago — maybe from Media Matters or ThinkProgress.

    It’s kinda funny that a media watchdog is criticizing a media watchdog using bias and loaded language. And the entry is so very long — unusual for Romesnesko. Whatever happened to not taking sides?

    -BM

  • http://twitter.com/hoystory Matthew Hoy

    Just about all video produced for television or even the web nowadays is “heavily edited.” Is this supposed to make us distrust what’s on the video? When you refer to a “60 Minutes,” “48 Hours” etc. report, do you always describe it as “heavily edited?”

    I’d be wary if I were you of taking this tack with O’Keefe, every time someone’s complained about “heavily edited” he ends up releasing the full video and it turns out that the first video was an accurate representation of the larger context.