What's the real difference between O'Keefe and other media?

Okay. So James O’Keefe tells fibs, hides a camera, and gets people to say things on camera they might regret later. We can argue endlessly about how these remarks fit into a broader context. We can also argue about whether O’Keefe is a nice person or not, or whether his goals or targets are worthy ones.

I don’t think we can argue, though, that what he does is a media staple, and has been one for a long time.

It is a tactic used by news organizations. ABC News uses a news reporter (John Quiñones) and hidden cameras to produce Primetime: What Would You Do?. Dateline on NBC also uses this technique - they followed Muslims around a NASCAR event with hidden cameras in an attempt to capture prejudicial remarks. CBS pioneered this kind of gotcha journalism on 60 Minutes decades ago.

This activity has spread from traditional news organizations to blogs and Internet sites - a good example of this is Ian Murphy’s call to Scott Walker a couple of weeks ago.

Outside of news organizations, this kind of subterfuge has been practiced for entertainment purposes by Sacha Baron Cohen.

So what makes O’Keefe different? Why do some people here want to dismiss his videos but don’t want to dismiss Ian Murphy’s recordings? The fact that he’s not the nicest person won’t wash here - the recordings are what they are.

The biggest issue I’ve seen with O’Keefe (and this is based largely on the Acorn videos since I haven’t followed the NPR thing too closely) was that his “evidence” was chopped up and edited and he continually refused to make the original footage available. That alone spells “zero credibility”.

I don’t really need to run around comparing him to whoever else because I’m not talking about whoever else. O’Keefe himself has given ample evidence that he’s not interested in the truth but rather advancing his agenda.

Not true. As he is willing to deceptively edit recordings to show criminality where there is none.

He also is willing to invite journalists over for interviews and then attempt to get them on a boat where he can pretend to seduce them with dildos and champaign. He is also willing to lie his way into a congress-person’s office to fuck around with their phones hoping (without evidence) to hear something evil going on there, because liberals are always up to something evil.

He isn’t a journalist. He’s an angry partisan who wants to score points and is willing to cheat to get them.

Theoretically, regular journalists hear about a story and cover it. O’Keefe fabricates a story where one didn’t necessarily exist. The editing practices are only an incidental similarity.

While all that might be true - were the recordings of the NPR luncheon edited in any significant way? And even if they were, don’t the producers of What Would You Do also edit their footage?

O’Keefe doctors videos, tries to wiretap the phones of US Senators and schemes to prank women by sexually assaulting them on video. Fox News doctors videos as well, so I guess he doesn’t differ from THAT part of mainstream media, but the legitimate media doesn’t fabricate stories and commit crimes.

There was nothing particular underhanded about the NPR tape. It’s just the conclusions that were drawn from it that were retarded.

This. Also, his hit to miss ratio. Didn’t he go to a bunch of different ACORN offices before he found one moron who took his bait? That just screams of so much arm waving to me. He’s not uncovering systemic, institutional misconduct, he’s just throwing a fishing line out there a few hundred times and then makes a big noise about a small fish.

You tell me. I’ve never watched that show. Do they edit for time or for content?

As far as I can tell, reputable media organizations will give people or organizations an opportunity to comment on the hidden camera footage prior to it being published, so the Safeway CEO can tell the public that upon seeing the film, he fired the clerk who repackaged tainted meat to sell to the public, or whatever.

O’Keefe’s videos seem intent on NOT telling the whole story, whether or not they were selectively edited. Take, for example, the ACORN guy who, upon being presented with the pimp and prostitute scheme, played along during the video and promptly called the police right after the meeting was over. You can easily see that even if the video isn’t manipulated, the story is.

There’s a difference between editing for time and actually falsifying footage as that little bitch, O’Keefe, did.

Y’know, if the only defense I could find for someone on my side of the fence doing something despicable was “Well, the other side does it toooo!”, I think it would leave a bad taste in my mouth. That type of “defense” screams of petty desperation, imho.

Da Ali G Show got rebuttal from its interview subjects before the shows were aired? I must have missed that.

Most of the objections that can be leveled against O’Keefe can be leveled against others - except that they generally aren’t, at least not here. The only subject that has any traction for me is that O’Keefe is a terrible human being - which has little impact on the content of his videos. They have to be taken individually.

Sacha Baron Cohen is an entertainer. To the best of my knowledge, nobody has tried to use footage from his show to attack a politician or political entity.

Are you also going to claim that Candid Camera selectively picks the best reaction footage, so O’Keefe did nothing unusual there either?

You’re wrong. O’Keefe actually edited video to make it look like malfeasance was captured.

Do you understand that? That isn’t the sort of thing that should be allowed. That isn’t what a journalist does.

That doesn’t mean that anything he films is automatically wrong, but it means he shouldn’t be trusted. As for the NPR thing, the dude didn’t say anything that bad, many of the tea party members are prejudiced.

Mr. Moto, leaving aside what others may or may not have done, do you approve of what Mr. O’Keefe has done and he went about doing it, journalism-wise?

Has Ali G ever implied or stated that the videos were actually news? As far as I know, all the Sasha Baron Cohen bits are overt filming of outrageous situations, and I believe that he has to convince his subjects to sign a release before the footage is aired.

Does O’Keefe overtly film his subjects? Do they sign releases? As far as I know, his videos are all covert and are being portrayed as exposes, not crass jokes.

Ali G seems to me to be an indecent kind of Candid Camera. O’Keefe claims to be a partisan kind of news coverage.

Are you saying you cannot tell the difference between Candid Camera and 60 Minutes? If you can’t, do you also mistake infomercials for PBS programming? I mean, just how much does different TV programming have to be explained?

Well - I find it interesting that this question has been interpreted as a defense of O’Keefe. I’m not interested in defending him, and as a human being he seems to be lacking. Also, many of the videos are amateurish, and his behavior has been unprofessional. The fact that he is young and not a professional excuses little of this.

That isn’t to say, though, that the people caught by these videos (especially the NPR video, which doesn’t seem to have been overly edited) are blameless. They said what they said. And when I said the recordings are what they are - that’s entirely true. The heavily edited ones are less trustworthy than this one.

In the same way, the fact that the two students that confronted Bob Etheridge on a DC street were a bit rude and unprofessional did not excuse Etheridge’s reaction, and that spoke for itself. I am less concerned about the O’Keefe’s of the world than I am that people like this have accountability.

You have not demostrated the the mainstream media commits crimes and fabricates news the way O’Keeef does. You have not supported your premise. O’Keefe makes things up. The only mainstream news organization that flat out lies and makes things up is Fox News. If you want to say that O’Keefe is not much different from Fox News, I’ll agree with you.

Of course you are. The framing of the post makes that perfectly clear. No he is not just doing what other “real news” organizations do.

Like I said - in the What Would You Do show there are setups. People are confronted with a situation (for instance - a realistic looking baby in a car) and their reactions are filmed. The producers of the show even ramp up the drama by having the baby’s “mother” (actually an actress) return to the car and then leave again.

That is manufacturing news by any reasonable definition.