Blaming the Internet for Reporters’ Gullibility

USA Today has a long piece (3/17/11) by Martha Moore about video hoax artist James O’Keefe’s NPR project. The article does a pretty good job of running down the deceptions in O’Keefe’s video. That’s good. This, however, is not:

The video follows a long, if not always honorable, tradition of muckraking exposés. It also is a stepchild to the political tactic of tracking an opponent with video until a gaffe occurs, then capitalizing on it. The sting’s impact was magnified by the quick dissemination-without-scrutiny that is a hallmark of Internet-driven media.

O’Keefe’s video has nothing to do with muckraking. And please don’t blame the Internet for the fact that journalists apparently can’t be bothered to care whether a source is reliable.

That’s annoying. But this part is at least somewhat amusing:

O’Keefe’s tactics combine “the guerrilla of Borat, the gotcha of Dateline–and the gonzo approach of Hunter S. Thompson,” O’Keefe said in an interview.

I hope if I’m ever profiled by USA Today, I’ll get to sing my own praises like that.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.