University Officials Conclude Latest Investigation Discrediting BreitbartMay 10, 2011 12:38 PM EDT ››› LESLIE ROSENBERG
University Officials: Big Government Video Was "Highly Distorted" And "Out Of Context"
Big Government: Videos Prove Professors Teach "Fear, Intimidation, And, Even, Industrial Sabotage." In April, Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment website posted a series of clearly edited videos and claimed they showed evidence of, among other things, professors "instruct[ing] students on how fear, intimidation, and, even, industrial sabotage are important and, often, necessary tools." [BigGovernment, 4/25/11, 4/25/11]
Fact: Big Government Eliminated Crucial Context And Qualifying Statements From Video Excerpts. Media Matters obtained and reviewed the context of remarks highlighted in the video Breitbart promoted. The video clearly excised crucially qualifying statements in a way that changes the meaning of what the speakers were saying, including portions where a professor explicitly rejected violence as an ineffective tactic. [See the truth HERE]
University: Big Gov Videos Are "Highly Distorted Through Splicing And Editing." Officials at the University of Missouri-St. Louis concluded an investigation into the allegations promoted by Breitbart's web sites, and stated:
The excerpts that were made public showing the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) instructor Don Giljum and students as well as the UMKC instructor and students were definitely taken out of context, with their meaning highly distorted through splicing and editing from different times within a class period and across multiple class periods. [St. Louis Activist Hub, 5/9/2011]
Past Investigations Have Criticized Breitbart-Promoted Videos For Deceptive Editing
California Attorney General: ACORN Videos Were "Severely Edited." After investigating James O'Keefe's heavily edited ACORN tapes - which Breitbart aggressively promoted -the California Attorney General's office reported:
Videotapes secretly recorded last summer and severely edited by O'Keefe seemed to show ACORN employees encouraging a "pimp" (O'Keefe) and his "prostitute," actually a Florida college student named Hannah Giles, in conversations involving prostitution by underage girls, human trafficking and cheating on taxes. Those videos created a media sensation.
Evidence obtained by Brown tells a somewhat different story, however, as reflected in three videotapes made at ACORN locations in California. One ACORN worker in San Diego called the cops. Another ACORN worker in San Bernardino caught on to the scheme and played along with it, claiming among other things that she had murdered her abusive husband. Her two former husbands are alive and well, the Attorney General's report noted. At the beginning and end of the Internet videos, O'Keefe was dressed as a 1970s Superfly pimp, but in his actual taped sessions with ACORN workers, he was dressed in a shirt and tie, presented himself as a law student, and said he planned to use the prostitution proceeds to run for Congress. He never claimed he was a pimp.
"The evidence illustrates," Brown said, "that things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality. Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting room floor." [California State Department Of Justice, 4/1/10]
NY Daily News: Law Enforcement Source Criticizes O'Keefe And Giles For Editing ACORN Tape "To Meet Their Agenda." A March 1, 2010, New York Daily News article reported that "a law enforcement source" said O'Keefe and Giles "edited the tape to meet their agenda." [New York Daily News, 3/1/10]
NY Post: Brooklyn DA Sources Criticize "'Heavily Edited' Splice Job." A March 2, 2010, New York Post article, reported, "The video that unleashed a firestorm of criticism on the activist group ACORN was a 'heavily edited' splice job that only made it appear as though the organization's workers were advising a pimp and prostitute on how to get a mortgage, sources said yesterday." The Post further reported, "Many of the seemingly crime-encouraging answers were taken out of context so as to appear more sinister, sources said." [NY Post, 3/2/10]
Breitbart Admitted Sherrod Video He Posted Was "Out Of Context." In an interview with Daniel Stone of Newsweek, Breitbart agreed that video he promoted that portrayed then-USDA official Shirley Sherrod as a racist was "out of context":
Stone: But do you agree that the edited video took things out of context?
Breitbart: Well, yes. But I put up what I had. It granted a great portion of her redemptive tale, but not all of it. If I could do it all over again, I should have waited for the full video to get to me. [Newsweek, 07/30/10]
Breitbart Is Widely Discredited For Promoting Deceptively Edited Video
CNN's Cooper: Breitbart Pushed Video That Was "Clearly Edited To Deceive And Slander Ms. Sherrod." CNN's Anderson Cooper said that Breitbart's video clip of Sherrod "was clearly edited to deceive and slander Ms. Sherrod," and that Breitbart's efforts to "weasel his way out of taking responsibility for what he did to Ms. Sherrod is a classic example of what is wrong with our national discourse." [CNN, Anderson Cooper 360,7/21/10]
Politico's Ben Smith: "Breitbart's Sites Now Have A Growing Credibility Problem." The Politico's Ben Smith wrote: "The nice thing about the new-media space is how quickly it self-corrects. Breitbart's sites now have a growing credibility problem." [Politico, 7/22/10]
MSNBC's O'Donnell: "I Think [Breitbart] Has Lost His Standing To Present Videos To The Country At Any Time." MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell said that Breitbart "has lost his standing to present videos to the country at any time," adding that the ACORN videos promoted by Breitbart were "manipulated in ways that were grotesquely unfair to the people in those scenes." [MSNBC's Morning Joe, 7/22/10]
SPJ Official: Breitbart Is "Someone With A Specific Agenda." Andy Schotz, ethics committee chair at the Society of Professional Journalists, said: "Basic journalism calls for getting information, checking it out, looking for context and trying to get to the truth ... Gathering snippets and putting them out there to see what happens seems to be what is happening here. (Breitbart) is also someone with a specific agenda." [Mediamatters.org, 7/21/10]