It’s no secret that the American public absolutely, obstinately, refuses to learn from its mistakes. One reason for this is that the media absolutely, obstinately refuse to learn from their mistakes. Time and time again they get played by the manipulators. And this is nowhere more apparent than in how they always obligingly give credence, column space and airtime to the “sting” scam, as perpetrated by the likes of habitual fraudster James O’Keefe.
O’keefe, as we’ve noted, has a long and tarnished history of producing disingenuous and dishonestly edited videos that are purported to expose corruption in some organization or other — quite often in a (non-rightwing) media outlet to “prove” that you just can’t trust the (non-rightwing) media.
Even if you take his videos at face value, they do nothing more than reveal that some individuals who happen to be associated with some organizations (sometimes near the bottom of the totem pole) have private opinions and even commit personal misdeeds that do not necessarily represent those organizations they are associated with. But it would be naive and foolish to take his videos at face value. While vehemently denying that he does anything deceptive, he also has openly acknowledged that if you saw the unedited footage of his videos, it would “tell a different story”.
Despite O’Keefe’s consistently awful track record, both the media establishment and the political establishment always take him very seriously, giving him plenty of free PR, and treat him as if he’d actually accomplished something worthwhile. This, in turn, strokes his ego and loosens the purse strings of his backers, prompting the cycle to repeat all over again.
His most recent triumph of crash-and-burn, as of noon today Pacific Standard Time, is a “shocking” expose of ABC news. And what exactly does this groundbreaking muckraking cinematic masterpiece consist of? Seven minutes of a choppily choppy candid camera interview with veteran ABC journalist David Wright, who admitted that he was (horrors) a socialist. And he had some uncomplimentary things to say about the media outlet he worked for, and indeed the media establishment in general. He noted that his outfit ignores “stories that we need to tell that are maybe hard to tell” and as a result the voters are poorly informed:
We don’t hold [the White House Occupant] to account…It’s like there’s no upside in — or our bosses don’t see an upside — in doing the job we’re supposed to do, which is to speak truth to power and hold people to account… You can’t watch ‘Good Morning America’ without there being a Disney princess or a Marvel Avenger appearing. It’s all self-promotional. [Disney is the parent company of ABC’]
Did you copy that? What Wright was doing here was expressing disgust at ABC for being too corporatist, and too accommodating to White House propaganda — in other words, too rightwing. And ABC, as if to validate his off-the-cuff ranting, suspended him when these comments surfaced.
But O’Keefe and his accomplices spun the chain of events as “proof” of just the opposite conclusion: the “leftist bias” of ABC — and in accordance with the ironclad law of guilt by association, of all mainstream media. And the media — the very media he is trying to cast aspersions on — have been all too willing to give him a megaphone. Again. And again and again and again.
Will they ever learn a lesson from this? Don’t hold your breath. The only “lesson” they ever seem to learn is that they should bend even farther backward and allow people like O’keefe to push them over even more.