On its surface NPR provides what appears as a fairly balanced report about Andrew Breitbart. The story’s sucker punch however comes in the final paragraph, and I doubt the reporter even knew he was throwing it.
I will acknowledge that the reporter is fair for most of the story. He has some good quotes from Breitbart and Instapundit blogger and U. of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds. These are balanced with comments from New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt. In the end, however, the reporter’s bias slips through when he ties what Breitbart does to James O’Keefe with:
A New Kind Of Journalism
[Andrew Breitbart] says, and O’Keefe says, they are performing a new kind of journalism. … reporters at other outlets have repeatedly questioned O’Keefe’s tactics: the deception; the editing choices in the ACORN videos.
This comes after spending several paragraphs describing the activity for which O’Keefe was arrested. The point isn’t subtle at all. Breitbart and O’Keefe “are perfoming a new kind of journalism.” O’Keefe’s “new kind of jourlanism” requires “tactics” questioned by “reporters at other outlets” and includes breaking the law. Therefore, Breitbart is paired with unscrupulous tactics that including breaking the law in order to create news.
Nope. Not subtle at all.
Here’s the thing, however: I wonder if the reporter was even aware of what he was doing with the O’Keefe comparison. He probably thought he was simply making a fair and balanced point. I’ll bet he’s completely unconscious to the fact that the way he phrased his first sentence creates a specious comparison about “tactics,” and turns a generally balanced piece into just another liberal hit piece.
This should have been caught by an editor or producer, but since the people in those roles at NPR very likely see things the same way the reporter does, it gets by without anyone thinking twice.
The reporter does make a good point with this line:
“Breitbart says he merely has a “dysfunctional” relationship with the mainstream media. His sites rely heavily on it, even as they tear it down.”
If the media were honest about its biases, and opened its reporting & editorial rooms to diversity of thought (vs. diversity of skin color, gender & sexual orientation – the only diversity Libs like), then Breitbart might be out of business. In the end, however, NPR’s own story reinforces the need for what Breitbart does.