CNN – Is It a “Reliable Source”? The NPR Scandal Puts Them On Edge

Posted on March 13, 2011


Sunday mornings brings CNN’s Reliable Sources hosted by Howard Kurtz. According to the CNN page devoted to the show, the philosophy behind it is put forth:

Now more than ever, the press is a part of every story it covers. And CNN’s “Reliable Sources” is one of television’s only regular programs to examine how journalists do their jobs and how the media affect the stories they cover. Host Howard Kurtz, Washington Bureau Chief of The Daily Beast, is the nation’s premier media critic, and each week he questions print reporters, television correspondents and Internet bloggers about how the press is covering the major stories of the week.

Of course the show is completely objective and never political – “correct”? It did not appear so this morning.  Judge for yourself.  This morning James O’Keefe, the “citizen journalist” behind the expose of Acorn operations and last week the author of a revealing video of NPR was interviewed.

The transcript will be released later today or tomorrow and it will bear close scrutiny but on a viewing this Sunday, two things seemed apparent.  There was attempt to discredit, James O’Keefe (they labeled him a Conservative) with questions geared to reveal  his politics and editing skills that reflected those  views.

Host Howard Kurtz pointed out that O’Keefe’s subjects seem to be liberal.  O’Keefe responded that his goal as new to investigative reporting, is to go after stories that the mainstream media will not touch.  He related that there were sources that claimed the New York Times killed the story on Acorn and in effect killed the possibility for a Pulitzer Prize.

Asked would he go after subjects deemed conservative and he said “yes, absolutely” and then revealed he planned to go after the unholy link between big business and big government and their criminal ways that are working against the American people.

Kurtz then went after his target: OKeefe’s seemingly partisan editing of his story.  O’Keefe stated that CNN edits the same way.  He should know. He used to work at CNN.  You go after what is pertinent to telling the story as you see it.

Let’s be clear.  Whenever someone shoots a picture with a camera, without touching the original image, you are editing.  There you are with a room full of things and you choose what you think is important at an angle and with lighting that you see as working for the story the image will tell – or just what appeals to you.  That is editing.  There is no way to avoid it.

But in a followup discussion on the editing with others, the point was made that there is editing and then there is editing that is misleading.  To that anyone could argue that editing is always done in terms of the views of the person doing it and CNN certainly does the same thing.  Everyone does.

Finally, O’Keefe said he did not accept many interviews because he does not want to become the story. One cannot fault him for that.  During the show, Kurtz  made reference to Juan Williams as a reporter “who was fired.”  That is not objective journalism.   That is argumentum ad hominum.

END NOTE – video of ABC’s coverage of James O’Keefe: