NPR Scandal Reversal: The Raw Footage Shows Something Else

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This just in….

When I wrote a piece the other day about a scandal rocking National Public Radio over “inappropriate” comments NPR fundraising executives make on edited hidden-camera footage,  I wondered whether raw footage might provide some useful context.  I did not know at the time that such raw footage was there to be scrutinized.

Thus, I was pleased to learn that a conservative news site, The Blaze, which might ordinarily be assumed would jump on the NPR-bashing, actually had someone go through and compare the two. Astonishingly, what Blaze found and was willing to report was that many of the edited comments were taken out of context.  Why is this astonishing?  Because, according to its website, “The Blaze is a news, information and opinion site brought to you by Glenn Beck and a dedicated team of writers, journalists & video producers.”  Given that the NPR executives were represented in the edited video released by right-wing activists as unapologetic leftists and partisans, and sympathizers with Muslim extremists (with the resulting uproar causing several network officials to resign) it is especially interesting to see what this particular conservative website came up with.

Here’s my quick summary of The Blaze’s significant findings:

-Edited Video: NPR execs appear to approve of a Muslim Brotherhood connection to the prospective donors. Raw Video: the prospective donors downplay any Muslim Brotherhood connection, and make themselves sound moderate and reasonable.

-Edited Video: Narrator implies that the donors advocate extreme Muslim views (Sharia—associated in many people’s minds with brutal acts and behaviors) and the edited version shows an NPR exec reacting to this information with humor.  Raw Video: NPR executive is acting jovially about something else: a mix-up in their restaurant reservation. (!)

-Edited Video: Suggests NPR exec is against the GOP. Raw Video: NPR exec also talks about his affinity for the GOP and its traditional values.

-Edited Video:  NPR exec appears to be criticizing the Tea Party. Raw Video: NPR exec is quoting two influential longtime Republicans’ complaints about how their party has been taken over by extreme elements, then personally agrees.

-Edited Video: NPR exec says liberals are more educated in general than conservatives. Raw Video: other NPR exec goes out of her way to favorably mention friends who watch Fox News.

Why is this information not in the mainstream media—and not on NPR? Why do we have to count on newer news sites—conservative, liberal , or neither— to learn this crucial information?

One hopes this is a sign of better times to come. For our part, at WhoWhatWhy , we’re similarly committed to showing, in any given situation, what we think was actually going on— rather than what we think you want to hear.

Where else do you see journalism of this quality and value?

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17 responses to “NPR Scandal Reversal: The Raw Footage Shows Something Else”

  1. Pat Tibbs says:

    Yes, that seems to be the difference between the right and the left these days. The right artfully edits audios and videos to further a radical ideology while the left typically presents the facts and lets them speak for themselves.

    The right gets away with it because the left doesn’t expose them; and of course the corporate owned media don’t help when they don’t tell the whole story.

    We’re back to media consolidation and no way of solving that problem. It’s a vicious circle.

  2. tpmco says:

    I could put some credence in Scott Walker’s punking by the Beast because they published the entire audio as well as a transcript of that.

    The NPR story–well, I just considered the source. Thanks for the reinforcing justification!

  3. Pat Tibbs says:

    NPR should have stood up to the RWNJs on this & published what actually happened. They do no service to the listening public when they let the right wing walk over them. The only way to stop this sort of witch hunt is to smack it down. Bullies never stop until they’re beaten – literally!

  4. Mark Denton says:

    I agree with the overarching question, why is this not being reported in the “main stream” media? 2 people lost their jobs over this, Fox News had James O’Keefe as their “Major Impact Player of the Week” last week, and the reality of what happens, gets ignored?

  5. Russ, concerning the exchange you cite here:

    “Edited Video: Suggests NPR exec is against the GOP. Raw Video: NPR exec also talks about his affinity for the GOP and its traditional values.”

    The unedited bit looks even better for the NPR fund-raiser (Ron Schiller?)–in that he says he actually is a Republican (but voted for democrats in recent elections), and he approves of the party’s original fiscal conservatism and staying out of people’s lives.

  6. me says:

    Because the David H. Koch now gives a lot of money to public broadcasting and he basically owns it. He wants to remove all taypayer funding of public broadcasting so that he has even more control over its content.

  7. Oldblevins says:

    The GOP qanted to bring down ACORN in order to better control who votes and who doesn’t. And voila!, an embarrassing video. They want to bring down NPR in order to better control the daily news message, and what do you know. An embarrassing video. I am seeing the GOP as Old Man Potter, (especially when D. Cheney was in a wheelchair), and NPR as the Bailey Brothers Savings and Loan.

  8. DrWoody says:

    If BOTH Kissinger AND St. Barry had NOT received the Nobel Peaciness Prize, and thereby eliminated forever mor the possibility of irony, I’d say it was “ironic” that NPR got caught apparently speaking the truth.

    NPR wouldn’t be in this fix if it hadn’t spent some of its credibility pretending the TEABAGGERS are NOT the suburban KKK in floral-print, polyester sheets, badly fitting shorts, black socks,a nd comfy shoes.

  9. Steve says:

    Sad but interesting. Can you please send me a link to the actual video?



  10. Frogman says:

    Check out for thorough NPR criticism.

  11. Josh Carpenter says:

    Thanks, Russ! Good stuff.

  12. soularddave says:

    Regarding funding of NPR, sometimes I suspect that corporate funding affects what airs and what we never hear. I wonder what sources might lead to a perfect balance of competing interests so all voices could be heard, views covered, and that all ears might feel satisfied.

    Particularly confusing, these days, is keeping the general agendas of the various experts and “think tanks” straight in my head. Often they’re identified, but sometimes left to the listener to decipher.

    Note, please, that all I listen to is NPR, and I have no TV. I spend a LOT of time researching issues at sites such as this and RSN, and I don’t hesitate to Google issues where I’m looking for more info or opinions of known positions or commentators.

    More important, yet, are the abilities of listeners to READ books and journals where information and concepts are taken up and discussed in much, much greater depth. Such reading, apart from electronic media, is exactly what drew me to this site.

    • Pat Tibbs says:

      Too bad most people aren’t as diligent in their research. I’m a news junky & spend a good bit of time with the sort of attention to detail that you apparently do, but most of the people I know do not.

    • soularddave says:

      This just seems natural; to figure out the truth and identify the liars and the truth tellers. A new wrinkle, is the “sock puppets”, who pop up and nag the truth tellers and confuse the rest of us.

      Opinions should be based on TRUTHS, and these truths have lots of footnotes (and end notes). This is exactly what drew me to Russ Baker.

      I’ll keep an eye out for YOUR comments.

  13. John says:

    Finally, at last, news reporting with integrity.

    Thanks, Russ!

    I always look here first.