Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Candid Camera Conservatism

James O’Keefe is at it again.  He, you'll recall, is the guy who put together those videos that made it look like it was business as usual at ACORN to facilitate childhood prostitution. This time he caught a high-ranking NPR executive saying things that are bound further to endanger the radio network’s public funding. Not only does the NPR executive concede that the network would survive, indeed be better off, without taxpayer subsidies, but he manages to embody just about every negative stereotype about liberals circulating on conservative talk radio. He’s comically elitist, unabashedly partisan and doesn’t seem the least uncomfortable rubbing elbows with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood anxious to counter Jewish domination of the mainstream media. He seems to regard Tea Partiers, on the other hand, as exotic specimens from an alien culture.

I probably don’t need to remind you that O’Keefe doesn’t have a reputation for being scrupulously fair-minded when it comes to staging and editing his videos. So take this one with a grain of salt. Yet the results are still impressive enough already to have provoked a defensive reaction from NPR higher-ups. Take a look for yourself:

Nobody who has listened to NPR, as I regularly do, will be surprised to learn that it’s run by doctrinaire liberals. The shocking thing, if you ask me, is that a high-ranking public radio executive would be so unapologetically contemptuous of the intelligence and common sense of ordinary Americans. You’d never get the idea that this guy thinks that people without fancy degrees are any part of his network’s audience or that enlightening “public opinion” (as opposed to confirming the convictions of his “educated” peers) is part of its mission.

Etiquette in the liberal subculture I came of age in used to oblige liberals to be, or at least pretend to be, (small d) democrats with a modicum of respect for the people who were supposed to be the principal beneficiaries of the liberal political agenda. I guess that’s no longer the case.


Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm turning in my liberal ID card. Hearing Schiller was kind of sickening. My guess is that this is going to be replayed over and over and over again on Fox tonight. Middle America (all the unintelligent conservatives) is going to be howlin' mad.

Anonymous said...

Ever noticed? Liberal journalists with all the resources of the MSM media behind them are always on the lookout for some loose talking TP-type to confirm their favorite anti-conservative stereotypes and have very little to show for it. But a couple of kids with a video camera and some cheesy costumes manage to capture evidence confirming conservatives' wildest fantasies about liberals.

Anonymous said...

You've really got to hand it to O'Keefe. He's a force to be reckoned with. Who funds him? Does anyone know?

Dave said...

I think this is just a tempest in a teapot. You get the impression that O'Keefe envisions himself as the Michael Moore of the Right (which I feel is true only in a negative way: both create inflammatory "documentaries" that have no interest in pursuing Truth); but I think he's just a politically-motivated version of Sacha Baron Cohen, the man behind Borat and Ali G.

Their technique is the same: inhabit a character who espouses absurd or offensive viewpoints; then sit back and watch as the victim, in an effort to be courteous and affable, appears to (at least partially) agree with him! It's a cheap trick, and it results in an unfair representation of the views of the victim.

True, this NPR guy didn't do himself any favors, and seemed determined to keep me from empathizing with him. But the fact that there's a guy with these views working at NPR? Not surprising. The fact that O'Keefe found him and got him to say this stuff? Not surprising. The implication for liberals at large? Negligible.

(By the way, if you've only seen Cohen in "Borat", I highly recommend renting "Da Ali G Show". Borat was just lazy slapstick; Da Ali G Show, on the other hand, is fresh and clever.)