Politics

Jackass Journalism

By  | 


In the interest in serving up a heaping helping of current event meat on the Donklephant table, here is what memorandum informs us is the story of the day. There are many posts and stories to choose from, but we’ll go with the Weigel description:

“The video sting artiste publishes the latest work from his shop — a covertly taped interview with then-NPR Foundation senior VP for development Ron Schiller and current senior director of institutional giving Betsy Liley. Shaughn Adeleye and Simon Templar posed as members of a wealthy Muslim education foundation “founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood,” and taped the NPR representatives — largely Schiller — answering them with exactly what they wanted to hear… Schiller is a professional fundraiser, not a journalist. His pandering to the group is actually sort of masterful.”


I can’t get too worked up about this latest episode of Jackass Journalism* – The art of pranking political opposition in the hope of getting stupid and embarrassing quotes on tape (with extra credit for reinforcing your teams worst stereotypes of the other team).

I put this particular clip in the same category as the prank call to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. What did we learn from these “expose’s”? We learn that politicians and professional fundraisers are willing to pander and pretend to agree with whatever comes out of the mouth of potential contributors with big checkbooks. I’m shocked… shocked. Oh – we also learned that Ron Schiller and Scott Walker are dicks.


The only potential policy issue here is the federal funding of NPR. Frankly I don’t see how or why this should have any impact on that debate. It is interesting that Schiller says NPR does not really need the funding, but he also said he was speaking only for himself and not NPR. Personally, I don’t think there is any particularly good reason for taxpayers to fund this organization. But in terms of the actual level of funding, it is meaningless and a distraction from the very real budget crisis we are facing. I would far prefer to see our legislators working to solve the real problem – entitlements, rather than debating the merits of funding NPR.

We’ll get to the real issues eventually. One way or the other.

*BTW – I believe I am the first to use the term “Jackass Journalism” in this context, and am afraid I must insist on attribution whenever and wherever it is used from now until forever. Yes you can google some random earlier uses, but this is the right name for the O’keefe style.

Cross-post at Divided We Stand United We Fall