Media Matters dishonest editing in support of their “smear” argument exposed
posted at 11:30 am on September 19, 2009 by Ed Morrissey
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.
Here’s the Media Matters argument:
Fox News’ Glenn Beck recently aired a video indicating that an ACORN employee shot and killed her husband, without first bothering to verify whether the husband is, in fact, dead. He isn’t. The video is, in other words, a fraud. But that didn’t stop Beck from calling it evidence of “murder” and perhaps even “premeditated murder.” Of a person who is still alive.
Sean Hannity aired it, too. …
Any chance we’ll see this level of outrage directed at Glenn Beck for unquestioningly airing an apparently fraudulent tape in order to portray an ACORN employee as a murderer? Beck has, after all, been pretty clear that he is trying to bring ACORN down.
Media Matters wonders why Beck aired it “unquestioningly,” but that’s not what happened when you watch the full clip, which Media Matters doesn’t provide:
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.