Media Matters' Ransom Note Video Editing
Robert Stacy McCain once described the "ransom note editing" technique as "Selective quotation used by political correctoids to dehumanize conservative critics of multicultural groupthink."
It's certainly easy enough to do in print -- and increasingly so in video as well, Ed Morrissey writes:
We have always known that Media Matters is a partisan-hack “media watchdog” site, but we didn’t know they were this bad at it. Lorie Byrd at Wizbang demolishes the Media Matters “smear” charges against Fox News simply by comparing their edited versions of the clips to the original, and noting that what Media Matters left out is exactly what they claim Fox left out of its reporting. It’s part of their ongoing campaign to label as a smear the airing of a video in which someone claims to have committed a murder, and it’s getting more threadbare by the moment.
Be sure to check out both videos at Hot Air.
When I watched the video Media Matters ran I immediately knew what was up because they chopped Beck’s commentary to bits and curiously left out the part of it that completely contradicts their claim. I looked for the Beck video at YouTube to make sure I was not misremembering his commentary and here is a transcript of what I found.Glenn Beck: “This is twisted, bizarre, macabre. I mean, is this theater? I’m not a lawyer. I’m not a jury. Um, but gosh even to me it seems like this is a potential admission of murder and the way she was describing doing some groundwork beforehand, you know so everyone in town knew exactly what was going on, a case might be made for premeditated murder. In fairness, I don’t understand people who stay in abusive relationships. I don’t. I get it. I get it. And maybe a jury might conclude that it was justifiable homicide. I don’t know but we haven’t been even able to confirm from the state of California whether Theresa’s husband from ten years ago was killed. Or if he’s dead. Or if she even had a husband. Did she make the story up? I don’t know. Nobody is asking questions. See if the mainstream media will follow this one. This is shocking. It raises serious questions about what is going on inside of ACORN.”
I italicized the portion of the commentary Media Matters provided to their readers in the mishmash video they put together. The parts they omitted are not italicized. I put in bold the part of Beck’s comments that directly contradict Media Matters post.
Media Matters compares this to the Dan Rather/TANG incident, in which CBS passed off obvious forgeries as legitimate documents from the Texas Air National Guard from the early 1970s. Even CBS had to admit that the documents turned out to be forgeries; in fact, their source Bill Burkett admitted on air that he had supposedly destroyed the originals and retyped them. It’s nice to see Media Matters finally admitting that CBS faked that story, though, since they seem comfortable using it as a standard. And the CBS story didn’t involve a videotape of their subject claiming to have committed the crime. Using someone’s own words is hardly a “smear,” and an admission of murder on videotape seems pretty newsworthy regardless of the circumstances.
More to the point, this editing shows the rank dishonesty and flat-out incompetence of Media Matters. Did they think that no one would check the rest of the tape? Be sure to read all of Lorie’s post.
And note that this isn't the first time that Media Matters has employed the ransom note technique on a Beck video. Add it to their credibility meltdown late this week when attempting to compare the pro-freedom Tea Parties with the communist who shot JFK (and we won't even go into Obama-crony Bill Ayers' book dedication to Bobby Kennedy's killer), and as Stop the ACLU writes, self-censoring slightly to keep things family-friendly, "Media Matters Is Today’s Poster Child For Batty Crazy."
These fraudulent techniques highlight the big difference in approach between the decades-old Media Research Center on the right, and the far left Media Matters. As James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal noted shortly after Media Matters debuted in 2004:
See the problem here? Brock's new shop is devoted to faulting conservative opinion journalists for expressing conservative opinions. What the Media Research Center does is entirely different; it analyzes liberal bias in the news media, which are supposed to be objective.
If liberals are willing to spend $2 million funding a Web site that does nothing more than expose conservative commentators for engaging in conservative commentary, can we really afford to trust them with our tax dollars?
In a post today, Glenn Reynolds explains what's really going on:
Remember, Media Matters’ sole reason for existence is to give journalists who are already hopelessly biased a certain degree of comfort in their already-held views. So it’s not about convincing anyone who pays actual attention. . . .