National Public Radio (NPR) is pushing back against video released last week that led to the resignation of their CEO.
The video, created by conservative prankster James O’Keefe’s “Project Veritas,” showed activists Shaughn Adeleye and Simon Templar posing as members of the fictional Muslim Education Action Center (MEAC) and meeting with NPR Foundation President Ron Schiller and NPR Senior Director of Institutional Giving Betsey Liley.
The heavily edited video seemed to indicate that Schiller laughed when he was told that the fake Muslim group advocated for sharia law. He also allegedly said the tea party was filled with racists, and that NPR would be better off without federal funding.
“The fraudulent organization represented in this video repeatedly pressed us to accept a $5 million check, with no strings attached, which we repeatedly refused to accept,” Dana Davis Rehm, NPR’s senior vice president of marketing, communications and external relations, said in a statement the day the video was released.
The NPR Board of Directors accepted CEO Vivian Schiller‘s resignation the next morning.
After reviewing an mostly unedited copy of the video several days later, Rehm came to the conclusion that many of the claims were distortions.
O’Keefe “inappropriately edited the videos with an intent to discredit” NPR, she said, but added that Schiller still made some “egregious statements.”
Al Tompkins, a senior faculty member for broadcasting and online at the Poynter Institute, told NPR’s David Folkenflik that there are two ways to lie: “One is to tell me something that didn’t happen. And the other is not to tell me something that did happen.”
“I think that they employed both techniques in this,” he concluded after watching the raw video.
The edited tape completely ignores that “six times … over and over and over again” the pranksters were told that donors cannot buy favorable coverage on NPR, Tompkins noted.
Even Glenn Beck’s The Blaze website observed Thursday that O’Keefe used “editing tactics that seem designed to intentionally lie or mislead about the material being presented.”
“The clip in the edited video implies [Ron] Schiller is giving simply his own analysis of the Tea Party. He does do that in part, but the raw video reveals that he is largely recounting the views expressed to him by two top Republicans, one a former ambassador, who admitted to him that they voted for Obama,” they wrote.
Fox News’ Chris Wallace ignored that many of the tape’s claims had been debunked when he made O’Keefe “Power Player of the Week” for a second time Sunday.
In Sunday’s segment, Wallace aired footage of an interview he did with O’Keefe in 2009 after the release of the ACORN videos.
[Ed note: This post was clarified after publication to indicate that the footage Wallace aired was from a 2009 interview.]