Republican Secret Camera Scam Artist Fools NPR, But Also Muslim-Hating Bloggers
James O'Keefe, the same Republican operative/twerp/'investigative journalist' behind such secret stings as the undercover ACORN videos (yeah, the pimp costume guy) and the attempted tapping of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu's phones went at it again today with a new video project. This time, O'Keefe got NPR executive Ron Schiller to say disparaging things about the Tea Party and Republicans by pretending to be from a group of radical Muslims with money to donate. But O'Keefe's latest stunt, in turn, got Republicans to speak badly of Muslims. Everyone wins! (Loses?) More inside Press Clips, our daily media round-up.
For Your Consideration: Conservative website The Daily Caller posted O'Keefe's hidden-camera findings, in which NPR's Schiller says that the Republican Party has been "hijacked" by Tea Partiers, who are some "seriously racist, racist people." These are, of course, Schiller's feelings, not NPR's, and he indicates as much.
Schiller stays quiet when the men joke about NPR standing for "National Palestinian Radio" and complain about the Jews running things, but it being his job to snag large donations, it's not impossible to imagine why Schiller would sell-out by shutting up at certain moments.
In response, NPR's statement says that the (fake) Muslim men "repeatedly pressed us to accept a $5 million check, with no strings attached, which we repeatedly refused to accept."
Even the steadfastly neutral New York Times notes that the video plainly shows the actors egging on the NPR employee: "The fake group members bring up topics in an apparent effort to keep Mr. Schiller talking. For example, they tell him that their group was founded 'by a few members of the Muslim Brotherhood in America' and that it donates money to Muslim schools."
Schiller is careful and says, "I think what we all believe is if we don't have Muslim voices in our schools, on the air, I mean, it's the same thing we faced as a nation when we didn't have female voices."
But despite Schiller's attempts to do his job and deal with the men through their outrageous statements, NPR condemned the comments he did make: "We are appalled by the comments made by Ron Schiller in the video, which are contrary to what NPR stands for."
Us? Not so much appalled, though it matters very little regardless, because Schiller announced last week that he's taking a new job, something NPR assures has "no connection" to the offending video.
Still, to pretend like Schiller's comments, especially about the "anti-intellectual" attitude within the Republican party, are not views shared by a huge number of smart people in this country (especially those that work in public radio!) is to willfully ignore the current state of political discourse. As for Schiller representing a news organization, when are we going to stop fooling ourselves with this "View From Nowhere" nonsense?
What's equally as interesting as Schiller's candid shit talk is what happened to the fake Muslim website O'Keefe and his cronies set up to support their scam. As noted by Salon, at least three outwardly anti-Muslim blogs picked up the bogus overblown rhetoric O'Keefe passed off as Muslim writing as a reason why evil brown people must be stopped.
"We need to throw the left-enemy out of power and start drilling and mining our own resources," wrote anti-Muslim nut Pamela Geller. "We must throw off the shackles that the enemy within has enslaved us with." All in response to a fake site, made in order to start a fake scandal.
Let's Talk About the Internet: How is the future of media today? Either really good or really doomed, depending on who you ask! James Fallows has a huge story in The Atlantic on the issue, which uses Gawker as an example of a website that succeeds in some ways, while frightening media conservatives (old people) in other ways. Because what we really need is another long article about What Gawker Means.
Two juicy-ish takeaways from the piece, or surrounding it, so you don't have to slog through the thing (unless you love news!):
1) Gawker boss Nick Denton says he wishes his site wouldn't have bothered to justify their (still kind of shitty) Christine O'Donnell one-night stand exposé. Yes, obviously, because explaining yourself is weak and Denton trades in shamelessness:
"I don't believe we should have done that defense," Denton told me when I spoke with him at Gawker HQ on Elizabeth Street in Lower Manhattan early this year. "It's helpful when someone is a hypocrite, but we should have just said that our interest is voyeuristic. 'We did this story because we thought you would like it. We thought it was funny, so we thought you'd think it was funny, too.' And there was a tidal wave of traffic and attention."
2) The Observer notes that Fallows is quite dismissive of Gawker's 'reporting' (he uses scare-quotes to show his skepticism) while never acknowledging that the publication he's writing for does something very similar with their Atlantic Wire aggregator. Aggregating pisses people off!
Speaking of The Atlantic: They're losing Andrew Sullivan, their most valuable weapon, but want everyone to know they're going to be just fine.
Tina Brown Has Haters: "And there's going to be haters. There's haters for everything," Newsweek's new creative director Dirk Barnett told Women's Wear Daily. You know what people really hate? The dentist.
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