Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Deception, Again

James O'Keefe is still at it.

The criminal offender and film editor, who carried out a phony sting against ACORN, now has targeted National Public Radio.

"Has targeted," rather than "targeted," because the stunt is part of the effort by congressional Republicans to end subsidies to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides a relatively small amount of the funding, this fiscal year $430 million, which goes to programs distributed to NPR and PBS.

NPR President Vivian Schiller (no relation to Ron), who had announced her resignation for later this year, already has resigned in response to distribution of the highly edited video produced by the guy serving a three year term of federal probation for trying to sabotage the phone system of Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu (a Democrat: aren't you shocked?), charges later reduced. O'Keefe might be serving a prison term for the offense were it not for one of those liberal, permissive Judges (or, in this case, a prosecutor) who usually appall conservatives.

According to the Associated Press,

The heavily edited video shows Schiller and another NPR executive, Betsy Liley, meeting at a pricey restaurant in Washington's Georgetown neighborhood with two men claiming to be part of a Muslim organization. The men offer NPR a $5 million donation. NPR said Tuesday it was "repeatedly pressured" to accept a $5 million check, which the organization "repeatedly refused."

"The current Republican Party is not really the Republican Party. It's been hijacked by this group that is ... not just Islamophobic but, really, xenophobic," Schiller said in the video, referring to the tea party movement. "They believe in sort of white, middle America, gun-toting -- it's scary. They're seriously racist, racist people."

The right is exorcised by the attack of Ron Schiller, the president of NPR's fundraising arm and senior vice president for development, on corporate America tea party supporters. Additionally, though, conservatives are arguing that financing should be eliminated for an organization which, contrary to its official policy, doesn't need it. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor charged "This disturbing video makes it clear that taxpayer dollars should no longer be appropriated to NPR.... as executives "finally admitted that they do not need taxpayer dollars to survive." Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) claimed "There's two issues at stake here in regards to taxpayer funding for public broadcasting: We can't afford it, and they don't need it." And Mark Meckler of Tea Party Patriots, subsidiary of the corporate interest group and Republican front group FreedomWorks, asked rhetorically "At a time when the country is upside down by more than a trillion dollars, can we really afford to provide huge subsidies to entities that openly state that they don't need the money?"

The beauty of the schemes hatched by O'Keefe is that there is no downside. When ACORN received defective registration applications, it informed election registrars. When O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, dressed normally (but as pimp and prostitute in the edited video), entered ACORN offices, police were notified. Planned Parenthood, object of a recent phony sting, promptly informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation. ACORN was defunded and then disbanded. House anti-abortion Republicans, (with a few Democrats) have voted to defund Planned Parenthood, which through its family planning care probably has prevented more unwanted pregnancies, thus more abortions, than any organization in America.

NPR refuses a donation from the phony militant Muslim organization represented by O'Keefe. But Ron Schiller (erroneously) contends NRP doesn't need federal funding; the right reacts "then why waste taxpayer money on it?" And that response is muted compared to that which would have ensued if the organization had promptly pleaded that it was in desperate need of continued federal funding. Given that former Pennsylvania Senator and concurrent Virginia resident Rick Santorum can compare elderly people and poor children in need of health care to drug addicts, a segment of the right likely would attack NPR as a welfare cheat and an arm of the Democratic socialist machine.

ACORN, Planned Parenthood, NPR. When there is highly edited video and a compliant mainstream media, facts get lost even when they are mentioned, as they infrequently are. The left needs to have an answer, not only to counteract the noxious tactics of ultra conservatives and their congressional allies but also as a deterrent to the far right's aggressive efforts to mislead the public.

1 comment:

just jake said...

When will the likes of Russ Limburger and Glen Bock be pressured by mainstream media magnates to resign? Then again, NPR is, in many ways, mainstream. Better to tune into Democracy Now online for an hour each weekday.

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