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Nearly all the videos used stitched-together, out-of-context remarks with no indication of what occurred or what was discussed just before and after the included portions.The framing and style of videos created by James O’Keefe is well known due to his 2009 “sting” in which he and accomplice Hannah Giles visited ACORN offices and pretended to be seeking advice on how to run an illegal business that included the use of underage girls in the sex trade.(And, yes, we at CJR should have been doing just as The Blaze did, searching for the discrepancies they found.) It’s telling because, as The Blaze showed, it takes time to vet a source.We can only hope that, next time, the order in which this scandal and others like it have unfolded — headlines and drama first; reporting and vetting later — is reversed.NPR media reporter David Folkenflik addressed the dubious editing on Morning Edition and in a written report for NPR’s website.
We knew all of this, and yet few of us slowed down. It is telling that The Blaze was the first to point out O’Keefe’s context-stripping editing and that its report came out two days after O’Keefe’s video release.The resulting videos — which were edited to create the impression that O’Keefe and Giles had spoken to ACORN representatives while dressed as a pimp and prostitute — dealt that organization a mortal blow before reports publicizing the deception in O’Keefe’s videos came to light: How quickly things seem to fall apart when James O’Keefe is the person who put them together.O’Keefe’s incriminating ACORN video was shown to have been heavily edited — neither he nor Hannah Giles were actually in pimp and prostitute get-up when they spoke to ACORN employees, for example — and no criminal prosecutions of ACORN followed.I think they employed both techniques in this.” reiterated assessments and warnings about O’Keefe’s methods in a 2011 piece targeting NPR.That article noted that the time-consuming nature of fact-checking (particularly when source material is obscured) has led to Project Veritas efforts skating past cursory review: From where might we have learned such a lesson? Think ACORN and think Shirley Sherrod: job- and organization-crippling scandals in which the media blindly aided and abetted.